A Sustainable Defense Task Force assigned by Congress has suggested a plan to cut $1.1 trillion in military spending over the next decade
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Defense Task Force Suggests Spending Cuts

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A Sustainable Defense Task Force assigned by Congress has suggested a plan to cut $1.1 trillion in military spending over the next decade. Defense spending, which will reach $567 billion in 2011, is expected to top $7.4 trillion during the decade, according to the Congressional Budget Office. That does not include spending on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, which will boost 2011 defense spending to $726 billion.

The Sustainable Defense Task Force has suggested retiring 57 ships from the Navy; cutting 200,000 troops from the military; ending costly programs like the V-22 Osprey, the Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle; and curtailing the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.

The task force, which includes representatives from a dozen think tanks and government watchdog organizations, was organized by liberal Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., and libertarian Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, and other members of Congress.

Frank, who is chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, called for cutting by one-third the number of troops in Europe and Asia. That would reduce the number stationed in those regions to 35,000 in Europe and 65,000 in Asia and save $80 billion over 10 years.

The task force recommended reducing the nuclear triad to a land-based and submarine-based nuclear dyad with 1,000 nuclear weapons. The newly signed START treaty would reduce the U.S. and Russian nuclear arsenals to 1,550 weapons each.

The U.S. should also cut spending on missile defense - now a $10 billion annual expense - to about $3.3 billion until development work is done and missile interceptors are proven to work, the task force said.

Eliminating five Army brigade combat teams and four Marine Corps infantry battalions - about 30,000 troops in all - would save $147 billion over the decade, the task force calculates. Those cuts would be possible as troops pull out of Iraq and Afghanistan.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates instructed the services to find $100 billion in savings over the next five years, but not to reduce overall defense spending. Instead, money trimmed from low-priority programs would be shifted to higher-priority modernization.



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