Presidential Panel Eyes $100 Billion in Defense Cuts

The Presidential commission exploring ways to balance the federal budget by 2015—excluding interest payments on the national debt—is proposing $100 billion in defense cuts for that fiscal year. Among the recommendations in their newly issued draft report, co-chairs Erskine Bowles, chief of staff to President Clinton, and Alan Simpson, former Republican Senator from Wyoming, would: apply savings from DOD’s efficiency initiative to deficit reduction ($28 billion); reduce procurement spending by 15 percent, including canceling the Marine Corps version of the F-35 strike fighter ($20 billion); freeze non-combat military pay at 2011 levels for three years ($9.2 billion); reduce overseas bases by one-third ($8.5 billion); trim research and development spending by 10 percent ($7 billion); modernize Tricare and defense health services ($6 billion); and double the proposed cuts to DOD’s contractor workforce ($5.4 billion). President Obama established the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform in February. The 18-member panel will vote on its final report by Dec. 1. (Co-chairs’ proposal) (Draft savings document)