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(Gallup)

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“Modest reforms to pay and compensation will improve readiness and modernization. It will help keep our all-volunteer force sustainable and strong. Keeping faith also means investing sufficient resources so that we can uphold our sacred obligations to defend the nation and to send our sons and daughters to war with only the best training, leadership and equipment. We can’t shrink from our obligations to one another. The stakes are too high.”

Gen. Martin E. Dempsey

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Wednesday
Jan042012

Try Your Hand

The New York Times reported yesterday that Secretary Panetta will brief the Pentagon’s new strategy and spending plan later this week.  But you don’t have to wait until then to see the possible trade-offs – the Times has built an interactive simulation that lets you choose the cuts to meet the administration’s savings target.  Among its sources is the Rivlin-Domenici defense option authored by Gordon Adams and me and also featured in our Foreign Affairs article.

So cut away – but remember that this is just a rough tool.  The sources each calculate their savings from different starting points, although the NYT assumes the savings are comparable.   

Even with these caveats, though, it’s remarkable how straightforward it is to make the numbers line up.  As Gordon pointed out in the Times’ print article, hitting $460 isn’t the real challenge.  Indeed,

Even at a trillion dollars, this is a shallower build-down than any of the last three we’ve done… It would still be the world’s most dominant military. We would be in an arms race with ourselves.