By Peter Lumaj, Esq.
The Budget Control Act set up the ill-fated Super Committee that was supposed tofind up to $1.5 trillion in savings, or trigger”sequestration” — automatic cuts of $1.2 trillion divided betweendefense and other programs.
The irresponsible Congressional‘impasse’ known as sequestration will hurt American strategic parity throughoutevery war theater around the globe. Ourenemies in Tehran, Beijing, Islamabad, Damascus and Moscow are watching thisassisted suicide with grave consequences in domains we traditionallydemonstrated hegemony.
The 2013 budget does not supportnext generation technologies that would give American war planners the neededsuperiority required in the Pacific. Sequestrationhas also hit experimental prototypes along with live-fire testing thatdemonstrates risk design and developmental potential. In total, budget year 2012 has cut 8% fromresearch and development. This spellsnear defeat for our culture of strategic depth in the Pacific region, an areathe United States Navy and Air Force have dominated since 1947. My fear is that we have cut investmentin high reward technological domains that can have market and theatre alteringpotential.
For readers that are not up-to-datewith Pentagon war planning options, budget 2013 will drastically cut our reachand strategic parity in downsizing directed energy weaponry, nanotechnologicalapplications, solid-state and fiber lasers, biotechnologies, hypersonic missiles,carrier-launched unmanned drones outfitted for ground attack and hosts of otherapplications that provide our forces with greater reach and depth in geographytraditionally hostile to manpower. It issignificant that American war planners continue research so as to maintainparity with other national agendas that simulate analogous weaponry.
Currently, American dominance isbeing threatened by China. Beijingcontinues to heavily invest in precision-guided weaponry and asymmetrical meansto counter traditional U.S. war fighting platforms and competitiveadvantages. To keep up with Chineseadvances, war planners at Pentagon have created concepts that mimic parity withSinic gains: the Air-Sea Battle andJoint Operations Access Concept. Both concepts are not war plans,but a means for the US Air Force and Navy to command joint operations to parryChinese advantage from its proliferation of precision guided munitions andanti-access, along with area denial technologies that the Chinese have fieldedsince 2000. Joint Operations AccessConcept is similar with varying platforms.
Both conceptual advances revealthat the Revolution in Military Affairs (RMA) still continues apace throughoutthe Pentagon; for both concepts remain hollow absent a commanding corepolitical strategy.
The RMA continues to commandserious resources throughout the bureaucracy that underwrites both Defense andPentagon, nevertheless sequestration provides a needed pause from which toprovide the required strategic political context if these technologies are togain American advantage. A good placefor Congressional leaders to begin as they access the impact of budget cutsthroughout the military is the Quadrennial Defense Review Independent Panelreport from 2010. Perhaps Congress couldestablish an independent strategic review panel that would provide planningguidance every four years. This wouldallow budget cuts to be reviewed in an appropriate context outside ofsequestration. I would also recommendboth the 2013 National Defense Authorization act along with an unclassifiedrisk assessment model for Congress annually.Congress itself has advanced a viewadvising a need to understand both qualitative and quantitative risk assessmentas they create a yearly budget. Theabove noted requirements would help Congressional leaders understand foreigncommitments in light of possible sequestration. This process would also create a needed pedagogical insight into howPentagon and Defense war planners understand American priorities. Currently, the Unites Statesmilitary continues to meet unexpected foreign threat challenges from regionsthat are unsuitable to long term military planning. Achieving insight into immediate futurecommitments along the Pacific rim should give pause to Congressional memberswho erroneously believe that current force posture is sufficient. The changing threat environment and shiftingrisk calculations along multiple asymmetrical and symmetric theatres requires abudget that acknowledges the price required for successful parity.Tags: defens capabilities, Peter Lumaj, Sequestration