You will be redirected to the page you want to view in  seconds.

Advisers: Romney would reverse defense cuts

Oct. 11, 2012 - 03:06PM   |   Last Updated: Oct. 11, 2012 - 03:06PM  |  
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney delivers a foreign policy speech at the Virginia Military Institute on Oct. 8 in Lexington, Va.
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney delivers a foreign policy speech at the Virginia Military Institute on Oct. 8 in Lexington, Va. (Justin Sullivan / Getty Images)
  • Filed Under

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney wants to immediately restore the Pentagon's base budget to levels proposed by former Defense Secretary Robert Gates in 2012 before last year's Budget Control Act slashed $259 billion from planned spending, according to campaign advisers.

A Romney administration would allot 4 percent of the U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) to the defense base budget, said Roger Zakheim, one of the former Massachusetts governor's senior defense advisers, at an Oct. 11 breakfast with reporters in Washington. Zakheim is on leave from his job as deputy staff director and general counsel of the House Armed Services Committee.

Gates' fiscal 2012 Pentagon budget proposal called for $2.99 trillion in defense spending from 2013 to 2017. That projection was cut by $259 billion after Congress passed the Budget Control Act in 2011.

Romney believes additional cuts mandated under the Budget Control Act, known as sequestration, also need to be reversed, his advisers said.

The fiscal 2013 Pentagon budget proposal is 3.3 percent of GDP.

Dov Zakheim Roger Zakheim's father and another senior Romney adviser who has served in numerous defense positions under Republican presidents, including Pentagon comptroller under President George W. Bush acknowledged that Romney would not necessarily be able to achieve the 4 percent GDP level of spending in his first term as president.

"We're not going to come in with this massive supplemental" spending measure, he said.

Specific defense budget numbers would rely on GDP levels. So if the GDP grows quickly, the defense budget would grow faster. If it does not grow as fast, the Defense Department budget would be smaller.

"I can't predict to you what the denominator is," Dov Zakheim said, when asked about a specific level.

The defense budget needs at least 2 percent real growth each year or procurement and research and development historically is cut, Roger Zakheim said.

As for policy, Romney believes the Pentagon should be focused on the Asia-Pacific, Roger Zakheim said. That said, the campaign believes the Obama administration's strategy to focus heavily on the Pacific and Middle East is not achievable due to a planned truncation in force structure.

Roger Zakheim said Romney's heavy focus on the Middle East during campaign speeches is the result of high-profile issues in the region, including the killing of Christopher Stevens, the U.S. ambassador to Libya.

While the Romney campaign has spoken, at length, about plans for the Navy, it has said little about plans other services.

Roger Zakheim said, if elected, Romney would focus on the modernization of Air Force fighter and bomber aircraft. Roger Zakheim spoke of speeding up the decision on a new Air Force long-range bomber as well as funding the Lockheed Martin-built F-35 joint strike fighter.

"We need to get strong leadership in the Air Force, not only on the military side, but also strong civilian leadership across" all the services, he said.

As for acquisition, Roger Zakheim said a Romney Pentagon would focus on strong civilian leadership and shortening the development phases of weapon programs.

Dov Zakheim said the size of the civil service, particularly in the acquisition ranks, needs to shrink.

"The acquisition corps is out of balance," he said. "On the one hand it's too large and on the other hand you don't have enough oversight."

Dov Zakheim called the civilian acquisition workforce a "very uneducated consumer."

Answers by RallyPoint

Join trending discussions in the military's #1 professional community. See what members like yourself have to say from across the DoD.

More In News

Start your day with a roundup of top defense news.

VA Home Loan

Search By:

Product Options:
Zip Code:

News for your in-box

Sign up now for free Military Times E-Reports. Choose from Money and Education. Subscribers: log in for premium e-newsletters.

This Week's Army Times

This Week's Army Times

CrossFit vs. unit PT
Troops will do the training plans in a $2.5 million study

Subscribe for Print or Digital delivery today!

MilitaryTimes Green Trusted Classifieds Looking to buy, sell and connect on Military Times?
Browse expanded listings across hundreds of military installations.
Faces of valorHonoring those who fought and died in Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom.
hall of valorThe Hall of Valor is a searchable database of valor award citations collected by Doug Sterner, a Vietnam veteran and Military Times contributing editor, and by Military Times staff.

All you need to know about your military benefits.

Benefits handbook

Guard & Reserve All you need to know about the Guard & Reserve.

guard and reserve handbook