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Why the Military Budget is a Mess

David Ignatius looks step-by-step at the successful efforts to prevent the Air Force from cutting unneeded war planes, calling it just one example of “the growing enfeeblement of the federal government as a result of our broken political system.”

“The Air Force began last year with a proposal for cutting forces to meet the Obama’s administration’s strategic review. The cuts would total more than 220 aircraft in fiscal 2013… The planes being retired had been suitable for Iraq and Afghanistan, but the military needed to concentrate on potential future adversaries. The Air Force also judged that the reserve forces had become swollen over the decade of war.”

“Governors protested that they hadn’t been adequately consulted, and that the cuts had been made in secret… Enter Congress: Legislators reacted to political pressure by mandating a rewrite of the fiscal 2013 planning — to keep more planes for the reserves and the Guard… The congressional revision tilts the overall cuts toward active-duty forces.”

“Even the governors and members of Congress recognized that this outcome was a mess. So they did what they often do when told to cut military goodies: They created a commission. It’s now holding hearings on the proper force structure for the Air Force.”

Crossposted from Wonk Wire.

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