Just weeks after it was revealed that the Pentagon attempted to bury a study, that it itself had actually commissioned, which revealed staggering financial waste on Department of Defense programs, John McCain has proposed a new military budget that would exceed Obama's proposed spending by $430 billion over 5 years and total over $5 trillion, in aggregate. In a 33-page white paper called "Restoring American Power", McCain described his proposals as just a start toward repairing the "damage that has been done to our military over the past eight years" under the Obama administration.
“President-elect Donald Trump has pledged to ‘fully eliminate the defense sequester’ and ‘submit a new budget to rebuild our military.’ This cannot happen soon enough."
“The damage that has been done to our military over the past eight years will not be reversed in one year. Just stemming the bleeding caused by recent budget cuts will take most of the next five years, to say nothing of the sustained increases in funding required thereafter.”
In a scathing review of the Obama administration's military strategy, McCains blasts the "flawed assumptions" that justified substantial military spending cuts over the past eight years and resulted in a "military caught in a downward spiral of depleted readiness and deferred modernization."
We are now at a tipping point. Since the end of the Cold War, the United States has often swung from retrenchment to over-extension with a dearth of strategy, depleting our margin of global influence. We now face, at once, a persistent war against terrorist enemies and a new era of great power competition. The wide margin for error that America once enjoyed is gone.
This deterioration of America's global position has accelerated in recent years, in part, because the Obama administration's defense strategy was built on a series of flawed assumptions. It assumed the United States could pull back from the Middle East and contain the threat of violent Islamist extremism. It assumed that "strategic patience" toward North Korea would improve conditions for negotiations and exacerbate the threat. It assumed that a nuclear deal with Iran would moderate its regional ambitions and malign behavior. It assumed that U.S.-Russia relations could be "reset" into a partnership and that American forces in Europe could be reduced. It assumed that a minimal "rebalance" of efforts could deter China from using its rising power to coerce American partners and revise the regional order. And it assumed with the Budget Control Act of 2011 that defense spending could be cut significantly for a decade.
Though all of these assumptions have been overtaken by events, the President and many in Congress, both Republicans and Democrats, have nonetheless failed to invest sufficiently in our nations' defense. Indeed, for most of the past eight years, including this one, Congress has forced the Department of Defense to start the year locked into the previous year's budget and priorities, which in practice is a budget cut. As a result, our military is caught in a downward spiral of depleted readiness and deferred modernization. Readiness is suffering, in part, because the force is too small and being asked to do more with less. This, in turn, harms modernization, as future defense investments are delayed and mortgaged to pay for present operations. That helps to explain why all of the Joint Chiefs of Staff have stated that our military cannot accomplish the nation's strategic objectives at acceptable risk to the force and the mission.
Of course, as we pointed out in a post entitled "Pentagon Buries Study Revealing $125 Billion In Waste On 'Bloated Bureaucracy'", the Pentagon seems to already be under the impression that they're wasting about $125 billion per year on mismanagement and bloated bureaucracy so that might be a good place for McCain to find some of the money for his proposal.
The Pentagon's goal was simple, empower the Defense Business Board (DBB), a federal advisory panel of corporate executives, to retain consultants to identify potential cost savings in the Department of Defense's $580 billion budget. But, when the DBB study revealed a "clear path to saving over $125 billion," a level of waste which spoke to the egregious mismanagement and incompetence of DoD leaders, it was clear something had to be done to bury the story. Now, according to the Washington Post, that is exactly what happened.
With that, here is the full white paper for your reading pleasure: