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DEFEND & REFORM: The Future of America’s Defense Spending Live Discussion Panel

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With a looming “fiscal cliff” that includes across-the-board spending cuts hovering above Washington, the future of American defense spending is uncertain. What is nearly certain is that the Department of Defense will see additional budget cuts. The pertinent questions are therefore: how much cutting is too much? how much is enough? and how do we cut smartly in order to preserve America’s military might?

Concerned Veterans for America (CVA) believes Congress should undertake serious reforms to defense spending to maintain a sustainable fiscal path that preserves American power. To that end, over the past five months, CVA has produced five “case studies” that examine various examples of defense cuts and reforms, with an eye towards identifying what makes for smart, strategic, and effective defense reforms.  The “lessons learned” from each case study will be aggregated into a single document that provides the beginnings of an accessible blueprint for practical defense reform.

As a capstone event , The Weekly Standard’s William Kristol will moderate a panel discussion on December 11th on defense spending, featuring experts in the field—including Michael O’Hanlon of the Brookings Institution, who will provide the keynote address. Sponsored by Concerned Veterans for America, the DEFEND & REFORM: The Future of America’s Defense Spending” event will diagnose defense spending challenges and offer practical solutions.

Speakers will include: United States Senator Lindsey Graham, United States Congressman Tim Griffien, Steve Bucci (The Heritage Foundation) Michael O’Hanlon (Brookings Institution), Pete Hegseth (Concerned Veterans for America), Russell Rumbaugh (Stimson Center) and more.

You are able to tune in to a LIVE stream of our capstone event from 12:00pm – 2:00pm ET. No log in necessary, to connect CLICK HERE.

Concerned Veterans for America [CVA] believes Congress should undertake serious reforms to defense spending to maintain a sustainable fiscal path that preserves American power. To that end, over the past five months, CVA has produced five “case studies” that examine various examples of defense cuts and reforms, with an eye towards identifying what makes for smart, strategic, and effective defense reforms

CASE STUDY #5 | A ‘Missing Defense System’: MEADS Needs to Go

Concerned Veterans for America (CVA) believes Congress should undertake serious reforms to defense spending to maintain a sustainable fiscal path that preserves American power. To that end, over the past five months, CVA has produced five “case studies” that examine various examples of defense cuts and reforms, with an eye towards identifying what makes for smart, strategic, and effective defense reforms.

In our fifth and final installment of the “Defend and Reform” series, we turn our focus to the Medium Extended Air Defense System (MEADS), perhaps one of the most controversial systems in an era of increased fiscal responsibility, and a telling example of dysfunction in Congressional priority-setting and executive branch procurement. The development of this missile system is a textbook example of political turf battles that result in legislator fighting for earmarks without regard for strategic needs.

CASE STUDY #4 | Green Fleet and Grocery Stores: Reducing “Fat” to preserve “Muscle”

Previous Concerned Veterans for America case studies have centered on sensible reductions in defense spending  (Closure of U.S. Joint Forces Command), reforming administrative practices (Auditing the Pentagon), and reforming weapons procurement (Fielding Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected Vehicles). Indifferent ways, the first three case studies highlighted examples in which the Pentagon could, and did, do things well. This report is different, focusing on places in the Department of Defense (DoD) budget where a change in spending priorities, large or small, is needed.

In order to save critical and cutting-edge defense programs and capabilities (the “muscle”), DoD must be willing to part ways with certain practices (the “fat”) that are excessive, outdated, or unnecessary.  This case study will focus on the Department of the Navy’s alternative fuel source push (the so-called “Green Fleet”), as well as other elements of the defense budget that either need reform or should be eliminated altogether—without undercutting our nation’s strategic capabilities.

CASE STUDY #3 | A Moral Imperative: Fielding Mine-Resistant Vehicles

“A Moral Imperative: Fielding Mine-Resistant Vehicles” is the latest installment in the ‘Defend & Reform’ Case Study series and you can read it here. In this study we look at the traditional defense acquisition process and why it was bypassed in order to get live-saving vehicles to the battlefield in Iraq and Afghanistan. Mine resistant vehicles were urgently needed, but the conventional Pentagon bureaucracy couldn’t deliver. Why? How was is bypassed? And is this case study a lesson in how to reform the defense acquisition process?

The ‘Defend & Reform’ Case Study Series includes five case studies and will culminate in a “lessons learned” event in December that will examine various defense reforms and cuts, in order to identify what makes for smart, strategic, and effective defense reforms.

CASE STUDY #2 | Hiding in Plain Sight: Time for a Pentagon Audit

Today, Concerned Veterans for America (CVA) released its second case study in a series launched last month entitled ‘Defend & Reform’. This study is called “Hiding in Plain Sight: Time for a Pentagon Audit.” Did you know that the Department of Defense has never performed an independent audit of its finances? With the national debt now surpassing more than $16 trillion and annual budget deficits exceeding $1 trillion, now is the time. We should seize this moment—with the nation on the edge of a fiscal cliff—to bring greater discipline, transparency and accountability to reforming the defense budget. This study highlights the need for a long overdue audit to the financial operations of the Pentagon.

It’s time for reform. Review our second case study in our Defend & Reform series titled “Hiding in Plain Sight: Time for a Pentagon Audit” and you can read the full case study by clicking below…

 

CASE STUDY #1 | One Year Later: The Closing of Joint Forces Command

Review Part One of a Concerned Veterans for America project, the Defend & Reform Case Study Series. The series—which will include five case studies and culminate in a “lessons learned” event in December—examines various past defense reforms and cuts, in order to identify what makes for smart, strategic, and effective defense reforms.

Our first in the series is titled “One Year Later: The Closing of Joint Forces Command” and you can read the full case study by clicking below…

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Wealth is not Created at the Top: It is Only Devoured There

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The UK has left the EU and we can argue about the minutiae of Wealth until we’re blue in the face. But the overriding factors are apparent and in one of the richest countries in the world it is shocking that so many people can’t even be sure if they are going to be able to eat enough today or provide for their loved ones.

These days, politicians from the left to the right assume that most wealth is created at the top. By the visionaries, by the job creators, and by the people who have “made it”. By the go-getters oozing talent and entrepreneurial-ism that are helping to advance the whole world – Opinion by 

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… across the spectrum virtually all agree that wealth is created primarily at the top and so entrenched is this assumption that it’s even embedded in our language. When economists talk about “productivity”, what they really mean is the size of your paycheck. And when we use terms like “welfare state”, “redistribution” and “solidarity”, we’re implicitly subscribing to the view that there are two strata: the makers and the takers, the producers and the couch potatoes, the hardworking citizens – and everybody else.

Bankers, pharmaceutical giants, Google, Facebook … a new breed of  rentiers are at the very top of the pyramid and they’re sucking the rest of us dry

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In reality, it is precisely the other way around. In reality, it is the waste collectors, the nurses, and the cleaners whose shoulders are supporting the apex of the pyramid. They are the true mechanism of social solidarity. Meanwhile, a growing share of those we hail as “successful” and “innovative” are earning their wealth at the expense of others. The people getting the biggest handouts are not down around the bottom, but at the very top. Yet their perilous dependence on others goes unseen. Almost no one talks about it. Even for politicians on the left, it’s a non-issue.

To understand why, we need to recognise that there are two ways of making money. The first is what most of us do: work. That means tapping into our knowledge and know-how (our “human capital” in economic terms) to create something new, whether that’s a takeout app, a wedding cake, a stylish updo, or a perfectly poured pint. To work is to create. Ergo, to work is to create new wealth.

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But there is also a second way to make money. That’s the rentier way: by leveraging control over something that already exists, such as land, knowledge, or money, to increase your wealth. You produce nothing, yet profit nonetheless. By definition, the rentier makes his living at others’ expense, using his power to claim economic benefit.

But here comes the rub. Most rentiers are not as easily identified as the greedy banker or manager. Many are disguised. On the face of it, they look like industrious folks, because for part of the time they really are doing something worthwhile. Precisely that makes us overlook their massive rent-seeking…

CONTINUE READING HERE:

The problems we face are that the politicians are firmly in the hands (pockets) of the uber wealthy. We live in a corporate plutocracy and those holding all the wealth and therefore power have no intention of changing the status quo, even if it isn’t sustainable. They remind me of bacteria (or cancer) devouring the host body more and more even though eventually it will kill them too.

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Donald Trump Forgets Important Lesson From Grandad:

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Harper’s Magazine reprints an interesting letter from US President Donald J. Trump’s own grandfather that may get you thinking. Here is it then:

The Emigrants – By Friedrich Trump – From a letter written in 1905 by Friedrich Trump, Donald Trump’s grandfather, to Luitpold, prince regent of Bavaria. Trump had been ordered to leave Bavaria for failing to complete mandatory military service and to register his initial emigration to the United States twenty years earlier.

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Prince Luitpold rejected Trump’s request for repatriation; the family later settled in New York. Translated from the German by Austen Hinkley.

Most Serene, Most Powerful Prince Regent! Most Gracious Regent and Lord!

I was born in Kallstadt on March 14, 1869. My parents were honest, plain, pious vineyard workers. They strictly held me to everything good — to diligence and piety, to regular attendance in school and church, to absolute obedience toward the high authority.

After my confirmation, in 1882, I apprenticed to become a barber. I emigrated in 1885, in my sixteenth year. In America I carried on my business with diligence, discretion, and prudence. God’s blessing was with me, and I became rich. I obtained American citizenship in 1892. In 1902 I met my current wife. Sadly, she could not tolerate the climate in New York, and I went with my dear family back to Kallstadt.

The town was glad to have received a capable and productive citizen. My old mother was happy to see her son, her dear daughter-in-law, and her granddaughter around her; she knows now that I will take care of her in her old age.

But we were confronted all at once, as if by a lightning strike from fair skies, with the news that the High Royal State Ministry had decided that we must leave our residence in the Kingdom of Bavaria. We were paralyzed with fright; our happy family life was tarnished. My wife has been overcome by anxiety, and my lovely child has become sick.

Why should we be deported? This is very, very hard for a family. What will our fellow citizens think if honest subjects are faced with such a decree — not to mention the great material losses it would incur. I would like to become a Bavarian citizen again.

In this urgent situation I have no other recourse than to turn to our adored, noble, wise, and just sovereign lord, our exalted ruler His Royal Highness, highest of all, who has already dried so many tears, who has ruled so beneficially and justly and wisely and softly and is warmly and deeply loved, with the most humble request that the highest of all will himself in mercy deign to allow the applicant to stay in the most gracious Kingdom of Bavaria.

Your most humble and obedient,

Friedrich Trump

… Well then. Long ago, yes.. Still applies? You tell me.

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