There is a war even within “conservatism”, it surrounds spending cuts for the Military. Sometimes trimming the fat can be a good thing. Just ask Oprah. In all seriousness, isn’t it time we look long and hard at spending cuts for the military? If we are serious about getting rid of fraud/waste/abuse in government then we can’t leave out one of the largest budget items on the list.

Currently the Military is debating the “alternate engine” for the F-35. A pork barrel project that wouldn’t benefit Virginian’s and that the military doesn’t even need.

I received this interesting letter the other day.

Kurt Feigel

VTPP Communications Director

Politicians supported by Tea Parties could gain more support from average Americans by pointing out specific items that could be cut from our budgets to decrease the deficit.  It’s obvious now that most conservatives do not consider the “Military Budget” (instead of Defense Budget) to be a sacred cow any longer.  Conservative politicians, their supporters, and the media should start pointing out specific examples of wasteful spending that could be cut without any reduction in our military readiness.  As a combat veteran—Vietnam ’65 and ’66, Army Infantry—I am able to spot examples of waste in every weekly issue of “Army Times” , and I suspect the same would be true if I subscribed to the “Air Force Times”, “Navy Times”, or “Military Times”.

You know, a billion here and a billion there, and before long you’re talking about real money.  Politicians should point our these billions in order to eventually reduce our deficit by trillions. I will briefly summarize the four major studies the Army is now conducting that I consider to be a huge waste of billions of dollars each:

1.      In the 90’s the Army decided to stop issuing the M-16 rifle with a 20 inch barrel to infantrymen and replaced it with a shorter version, the M-4 carbine with a 14 inch barrel.  The Marine infantrymen still use the M-16 rifle because it is accurate at longer range and has more stopping power.  The Army is now conducting very expensive tests to find a potential replacement carbine for an improved M-4 carbine.

I ask, if the Marine Corps knows that the M16A4 rifle is a better weapon for infantrymen, why are Army combat infantrymen issued the M-4 carbine and why is the Army wasting money studying other carbines, which obviously can’t have the same accuracy as longer rifles?  I’ve always wondered why the Army switched to the shorter weapon.  I believe the M-14 rifle with 7.62 mm ammunition would be even better than M-16 rifle, especially for the terrain in Afghanistan and in Iraq.

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2.       The Army knows that it has been using a poor camouflage pattern for combat uniforms and continues to use it while they pay to study and study and study, while our soldiers in Afghanistan and Iraq are more exposed to enemy fire than their Marine counterparts, who use a camouflage pattern that lets them blend into the terrain.  These are our young men’s lives being placed in unnecessary risks while the Army finds another way to waste more of our tax money.

3.       The Army is conducting more tests of armored Infantry Fighting Vehicles to replace the Bradley Fighting Vehicle.  ( I will send another email with attachments on these details.)  The Bradley proved itself in the Gulf War as a companion to the M1 Abrams Tank, and no other country has a better vehicle designed for the same purpose.  But the best isn’t good enough; we have to continue to spend money by researching a replacement for the best.  Additionally, the Bradley and any replacement would be unsuitable for most of the terrain in Afghanistan.  The Army is often reluctant to introduce these vehicles in the first place because they think it presents “A heavy footprint”.  Fine, why find a replacement?

4.       Our soldiers are carrying too much weight.  I know how this affects grunts since I carried large radio equipment and machine guns through the jungles of Vietnam at various times.  The Army is studying the use of load-bearing robots that may be helpful twenty years from now instead of using load-bearing animals that could do the same thing right now.  Somebody is making money, though.  And the rest of us, especially our soldiers in combat, are paying for it.

I hope you will use the influence of your organization to get some politicians interested in using these thoughts to cut our deficit while helping our soldiers.  Cut “Military Studies” not “Defense”!

Roger Harris,

Roanoke, VA