When Secretary Panetta starts using words like “doomsday” to refer to budget cuts, you might think the end is right around the corner. According to BFAD’s Gordon Adams, however, the cuts that are currently being debated are “not going to necessarily encourage a revolution or be the end of the world as we know it.” that isn’t really the case.
On This Week in Defense News this past Sunday, Dr. Adams predicted that the difference between current projections for the next ten years and actual outlays by 2021 will total “somewhere between $800 billion and $1 trillion, and we’ll scarcely have noticed that we did that deep a cut.”
Dr. Adams is confident that a builddown on this order can be managed, because it’s been done before:
The reality is that if you put $800 billion though the ringer over the next ten years in defense, that’s approximately 13% of currently projected defense budgets over the next ten years. The closest comparison you can do –and it’s a little bit of apples and oranges here—Is from 1985 to 1998 defense outlays went down 36% in constant dollars.
So the rate of change you’re talking about here is not the deepest rate of change the Department of Defense has ever encountered.”
Managing the build-down effectively will require making smart cuts, guided by a review of defense missions and strategies.