House Defense Appropriations Chair Calvert Outlines Potential Defense Cuts

February 10, 2023

House Republican defense hawks who last year successfully pushed for a big boost in defense spending are now beginning to look for ways to cut the DOD budget, especially after House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) agreed to overall budget cuts in a deal to win the speaker’s gavel.

“We’ll find some initial cuts… throughout the Department of Defense that will not hurt capability,” Rep. Ken Calvert (R-Calif.), chair of the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, told Defense News this week.

One area Calvert is eyeing is a reduction in DOD’s civilian workforce, which he said would save $125 billion over five years without laying off personnel.

“Like any large business, you’ve got a 5% turnover ratio per year,” Calvert said. “So if you hire 3% instead of 5%, you get a reduction over a period of time that will have a significant impact over the bottom line. Remember, our highest cost is personnel, because we have a volunteer service.”

Calvert also said he’d like DOD to save money by fixing operational and procurement processes.

“Congress shares a lot to blame because we’ve added these requirements over the years, and now it’s gotten so complex it takes a ridiculous amount of time to get anything,” he said.

The Heritage Foundation, an influential conservative think tank, is promoting a leaner defense budget and a new round of BRAC, as On Base reported. Senate Armed Services Committee Chair Jack Reed (D-R.I.) also seemed open to considering a BRAC round.

“I think that’s something that we should periodically take a look at,” Reed said Tuesday, Defense News noted.

Getty Images photo by Alex Wong

February 10, 2023

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