The Defense Department is reportedly considering which military bases in the domestic United States to close down in the event Congress mandates such cuts to the Pentagon’s budget.
“The Army,” reports the Washington Times, “could close some of its 1,000 research-and-development sites and perhaps some of its 11 depots and arsenals.” The Navy might consolidate more warships in fewer bases along the coasts.
The considerations are being labeled in the media as some sort of draconian scaling back of the enormous standing army in the country. But the scope of the domestic military establishment is enormous.
Only two of the 50 states – Rhode Island and New Hampshire – have no Army bases. And the major excesses in the research-and-development – like contracting tech researchers as various universities to develop drone technology down to the size of bugs – can hardly be considered legitimate for the defense of the country.
In fact, the military is dealing with excess capacity already. “Force reductions produce excess capacity, [and] excess capacity is a drain on resources,” said Pentagon spokesman Dave Foster. If Congress doesn’t authorize closing the bases, the Army “will be forced to retain installation infrastructure that will become excess to its requirements and thereby jeopardize spending on forces, training and modernization,” Foster added.
What actually ought to be on the chopping block is not just these military bases spread throughout the country, but the new generation fighter jet, for example, which is a giant boondoggle. The price for the new F-35 Joint Strike Fighter has just increased yet again and, as Winslow Wheeler at Foreign Policy writes, “It’s no secret…that the program — the most expensive in American history — is a calamity.”
Resistance to cutting the defense budget is perverse after a decade of excessive increases in military expansion. The national security budget for FY 2012 totals around $1.2 trillion, or approximately one-third of the entire budget. That’s more than the rest of the world combined.
The debate about defense cuts is very misleading. What is really at stake is reductions in the rate of growth of defense spending. True cuts are not even being considered.
The minuscule defense cuts being contemplated could easily target areas of waste. As a recent report from the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments found, while the source of growth in annual defense budgets since 2001 has been mostly (54%) due to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, much of the rest has been spent on wasteful superfluous weapons technology, bloated salaries and benefits plans, and expensive peacetime operating costs for the 900-plus military bases in 130-plus countries around the world. But Washington is committed to an ever-expanding empire.
6 thoughts on “Pentagon Prepares to Close ‘Excess’ Military Bases in US”
The news article could be seen as a bit misleading since it pertains only to Army bases. True, there are no Army bases in Rhode Island or New Hampshire, but instead a huge Navy base at Newport along with other Naval operations units scattered throughout the state. New Hampshire has the big Portsmouth Naval Shipyard I think the public would be shocked at how many bases of all 'persuasions' are packed into the US. Seems like there is hardly room for people.
Portsmouth Naval Shipyard is named "Portsmouth", but it is in Maine
Before facing the politically dificult task eliminating military bases in the United States, why not start with the easy stuff first and eliminate all foriegn military bases and bring home ALL the troops? Again the American people are being asked to make what will be painful adjustments, at least in the short run, all for the benefit of a far flung world wide empire that is eating the substance out of the American people. This is the same mindset that would make cuts in Social Security benefits, Medicare, and healthcare for children while increasing subsidies for Israeli militarism and expanding the American empire of bases. All these programs (Social Security, Medicare, and the entire complex of the welfare state should not only be cut but abolished) but not before the total elimination of the overseas American empire and the total elimination of the warmongering budget.
The way of all empires . . . When all an empire's got left is military muscle, it tends to use it to replace its lost diplomatic and soft-power influence. Where are you gonna start bombing when the whole world stands up together and says: We aren't listening any more.
The US War Department–I don’t like euphemism, a spade is a spade—employs 3.2 million people, the biggest employer in the world, probably not counting things like Black Water and a string of contractors. It is then obvious that our economy is war based.
If suddenly the US becomes a peace-loving nation and cuts in half the number of its military personnel, how can it find jobs for about 2 million people so released?
Ha ha ha! Yeah, I'll believe that one when I see it.
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