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Past Drawdowns Offer Lessons for Upcoming Changes, Lynn Says

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  • October 5, 2011
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In his last day in office, Deputy Defense Secretary William Lynn III delivered a speech warning of the pitfalls associated with a defense slowdown.

Past efforts to fortify the nation’s finances by slashing defense spending have failed, he said. Military drawdowns after World War II, Korea, Vietnam, and during belt-tightening efforts in the 1980s all caused a disproportionate loss of military capability, Lynn said during remarks before the Center for American Progress, reported American Forces Press Service.

“Each time we reduced the defense budget, we created holes in our military capabilities that we had to buy back later at great cost,” he said.

DOD must reduce troop levels while retaining the ability to configure forces for emerging threats, trim modernization programs while preserving key cyber security and long-range strike capabilities, reduce the civilian workforce while avoiding demoralizing furloughs, and make sensible adjustments to military pay and benefits without breaking faith with military members and their families, Lynn said.

One likely result of the cutbacks would be a reduction in the nation’s overall troop strength, including forces based in Europe, reported CQ Today.

Ashton Carter is scheduled to be sworn in Thursday as the 31st deputy defense secretary.

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