The weapons industry is organizing a huge push to prevent cuts in the Pentagon’s bloated budget with bogus “job loss” studies, videos, and a “Defend Defense” tour. The New Priorities Network offers this resource packet to help you show why some serious cuts are a good idea.
A. The weapons industry’s campaign
1. Scare campaign. Defense industry sounds cuts alarm, Politico, June 25, 2012. “The Aerospace Industries Association is leading the industry’s inside-outside game, blanketing Capitol Hill and congressional districts trying to make the case that lawmakers need to kill the defense spending cuts before catastrophic damage to the economy, jobs and the country’s national defense occur….AIA’s seven-figure campaign, dubbed ‘Second to None,’ includes rallies in lawmakers’ districts, paying for studies on the economic impact of sequestration and pushing the issue through social media and catchy cartoons.”
2. Bogus study. “MANUFACTURERS: DEFENSE CUTS COULD COST 1 MILLION JOBS” (Politico, June 22). The National Association of Manufacturers, one of Washington’s most powerful lobbying groups, issued a new warning that the potential $1 trillion in defense cuts slated to take effect early next year would by 2014 result in the loss of more than 1 million jobs, push the unemployment rate up by 0.7 percent, and decrease the gross domestic product by almost 1 percent. Also see Politico’s earlier article, Defense Cuts Could Mean Trouble at Home for Lawmakers and for the study itself, click here.
3. Video. The Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, Buck McKeon (R-CA) has released another video warning of the effects of sequestration. McKeon is planning on calling a series of hearings to highlight the White House’s inaction on planning for sequestration, which would feature OMB officials’ testimony.
Also note: How the Sequester Would Be Applied in FY 2013. Automatic cuts in defense spending would be rigidly applied to individual budget accounts and to military construction projects in fiscal 2013 if the budget sequester goes into effect in January, Deputy Defense Secretary Ashton Carter told the House Armed Services Committee. Continue Reading…
B. Set the record straight
1. Top Ten Myths of the Jobs Argument Against Military Cuts by IPS’s Miriam Pemberton summarizes the next dozen articles.
2. Critical mainstream article: Lockheed’s You-May-Be-Fired Notices Called Scare Tactic. Economists and business analysts slam Lockheed’s “we’ll send pink slips to all our employees” plan and criticize the study they’re citing.
3. Fact Sheet: Myths vs. Realities of Pentagon Spending. Refutes the main myths (“the Navy is smaller than it was in 1917″) with hard facts, in just four pages.
4. Excellent critique: The Guerrilla Warfare of Pentagon Contractors. POGO (the Program on Government Oversight) points out that any cuts will hit actual production gradually; that the manufacturers have years of backlogs that will keep workers employed for years; and that record profits and CEO salaries give them an ample cushion if they really want to save their employees’ jobs. Pentagon Contractors Play a Disturbing Game makes the same argument.
5. Defense Contractor Time Machine: Less Spending, More Jobs, Analysis Reveals. Lockheed was awarded $10.4 billion more by the government for 2011 than for 2006 (a 32 percent increase), and at the end of 2011 it employed 17,000 fewer employees than in 2006 (a 12 percent decrease). Continue Reading…
6. What people want: “Majorities in Both Red and Blue Districts Favor Deep Cuts in Defense Spending.” Study shows districts that get a lot of military $ still support deep cuts in the Pentagon budget — 18%, on average.
7. “Military and Bipartisan National Security Experts Agree: It’s Time to Cut Military Spending” from National Security Network
9. USA and Allies Outspend Potential Rivals on Military by Four-to-One; America Carries Much of the Defense Burden for its Allies. If the burden were shared equally, the US could cut its military budget by one-third — even without reducing today’s extremely excessive levels of military force.
10. “Pentagon Gets Attention, but Planned Spending Cuts Range Far and Wide.” This New York Times article points out that spending cuts will hit domestic programs much harder, but “they have received [only] a scintilla of the attention and outrage that the planned Pentagon cuts have attracted.”
11. Defense, Jobs, and the Making of Hypocrites punctures the “job creator” claims of weapons manufacturers.
13. Critique and resource list from the Project on Defense Alternatives.
14. Great YouTube video from National Priorities Project. In under three minutes, NPP’s Chris Hellman explains why domestic spending cuts will cost many more jobs than military cuts.
15. Excellent op-ed by North Carolina Peace Action’s Betsy Crites. It has an excellent set of talking points for blogging, emails to your elected representatives, or letters to the editor.
C. Failing Weapons Systems
While weapons manufacturers cry “the sky is falling,” new reports show that many of the weapons they’re building are vastly overpriced, useless, and even deadly – to US Armed Forces personnel, that is.
Overpriced: The Government Accountability Office (GAO) recently released another troubling report on the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter late last week, which highlighted a number of missed deadlines and cost-overruns, including the fact that the JSF acquisition program is now 42 percent, or $117.2 billion, over its original 2007 cost estimate, and is now expected to enter full production six years later than originally intended. The report also notes that the JSF program achieved only 6 of 11 important objectives in 2011. Winslow Wheeler analyzes the GAO report in How the F-35 Nearly Doubled In Price (And Why You Didn’t Know) and finds that the reality is even worse — the F-35 will cost almost twice as much per plane as its original estimates; the GAO buried the report’s most damning conclusions. See also The F-22: Recipe for a Flying Disaster.
Useless: The Department of the Army has notified Congress that the cancellation fee associated with terminating the Future Combat Systems program will ring in at almost half a billion dollars, bringing the total cost of the cancelled modernization program to almost $20 billion.
Deadly: Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA) and Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL), a former Air Force pilot, have released new data that shows that F-22 Raptor pilots suffer from significantly higher rates of hypoxia-like symptoms than pilots who fly other aircraft. Specifically, F-22 pilots suffer hypoxia at rates ten times those of other Air Force pilots.
To subscribe to our source for these failed weapons reports, the weekly online “Reset Defense” bulletin, go to http://www.comw.org/pda/subpageRDBulletin.html.
D. Ways to Cut Overall Pentagon Spending – And Make Us Safer
Defense Sense: Options for National Defense Spending (Project on Defense Alternatives)
Spending Even Less, Spending Even Smarter (Program on Government Oversight, POGO)
Benefits of a Slimmer Pentagon (Robert Pollin and Heidi Garrett-Peltier, Political Economy Research Institute)