Australia and the United States share significant defence interests, especially regarding regional security across the Indo-Pacific. However, both nations also share a similar defence dilemma: the need to maintain appropriate defence capabilities despite facing increased financial constraints. A recent report by the U.S.-based Stimson Centerprovided almost 30 recommendations to reduce the U.S. Defense Department’s heavy financial burden, without (theoretically) jeopardising required capability. Despite the inherent differences between the Australian and U.S. defence organisations in terms of scale and scope, could the report’s recommendations be conceptually applied to the Australian context?
Cost cutting and re-prioritisation
In contrast to the prospect of further arbitrary cuts through sequestration, the report’s authors have instead called for a more strategic approach to trimming the enormous U.S. Defense budget. Their recommendations include:
- reducing Department of Defense personnel by 20 per cent, including cutting 58,000 civilian employees and a proportionate level of contractors
- reducing the combat forces of Army by 33 per cent and the Marine Corps by 12 per cent
- cancelling Army vehicle programs and consolidating infrastructure through base closures.
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