U.S. War Funding Request Down (Only) 20%
- The Department of Defense is set to request 20 percent less in “war funding” for the coming fiscal year, a reduction of about $13 billion. The fact that this request has not declined somewhat proportionally to the size of the reduced mission may indicate that the war funding has been used as a slush fund to get around sequestration. If so, and if U.S. involvement tends to be reduced over time, this will become increasingly obvious.
- The Pentagon announced facility closures throughout Europe, the largest of which is the airbase at RAF Mildenhall (see “leaving Mildenhall video below), a field northeast of London that served tankers, reconnaissance and SOF aircraft. That closure alone key strategic nuclear involves 3,200 service members and family members. Several German facilities will close. An additional 1,200 people will be newly stationed not far from Mildenhall, at RAF Lakenheath, with the addition of two F-35 squadrons. The decision to reduce staffing in Europe has been under formal planning for two years, with much less political blowback and congressional interference than experienced in domestic basing decisions. Net savings for the repositioning would appear after three or four years, having cost the U.S. $1.5 billion.
- And, speaking of congressional interference and political blowback, there are reports that another round of BRAC base closures may be in the offing. At least as proposed by the initial Pentagon budget for 2016. Back in the 2005 BRAC process, the government spent billions to close facilities that were thought to comprise about 20 percent of basing capacity, where it has previously had an overcapacity of about 24 percent. That is now calculated to be saving taxpayers $4 billion per year. Since then, of course, the standing military has shrunk significantly in personnel.
- The State Department released – as is required by the START Treaty every six months – the updated statistics of its key strategic nuclear assets.
- Navy Commander Jose Luis Sanches pleaded guilty to bribery charges stemming from the investigation into the “Fat” Leonard Francis, a navy contractor who allegedly curried favor with ship captains (with, among other things, Lady Gaga tickets) who had discretion to steer contracts and service works to Francis’s facilities. He is the fifth navy officer to plead guilty.
- China is has deployed large-scale 3-D printers on three warships to reduce the need for parts inventories.
- Britain’s MI5 head indicates that they see new Al Qaeda plans to push mass casualty attacks across Western nations.
- France is facing a $2.2 EUR defense budget shortfall (in French).
- Today’s video is an admittedly not very exciting – but appropriately symbolic – view from out the back of a plane leaving RAF Mildenhall.