It appears that the Navy is changing its mind about stationing 18 P-8A Poseidon aircraft at the Marine Corps Base Hawaii Kaneohe Bay. Why? Besides saving money, it seems the base would be too crowded with the proposed stationing of Osprey and Apache aircraft and absorbing up to 3700 more Marines as part of the Pacific pivot and reshuffling of troops from Okinawa. In the Honolulu Star Advertiser, William Cole writes (“Navy reviews plan to base 18 Poseidon jets on Oahu” 11.15.2012):
The Navy said Wednesday it is considering not basing 18 P-8A Poseidon jets at Kaneohe Bay to save $300 million by consolidating the aircraft in Washington state and Florida instead.
The aircraft were expected to bring more jet traffic and noise to Marine Corps Air Station Kaneohe Bay, as well as 904 personnel and about $150 million in base upgrades.
The 18 Poseidons, a military version of the Boeing 737, were slated to replace aging, propeller-driven P-3C Orions for surveillance, reconnaissance and submarine-hunting.
[. . .]
“The Navy has determined that a dual-siting alternative, rather than home-basing the aircraft at three locations, may best meet current requirements,” the service said in a release.
Meanwhile, Republican Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, a long time critic of government waste, has proposed ways to cut military spending. The AP reports (“GOP senator outlines $68 billion in defense cuts” 11.15.2012):
Defense spending could be slashed by $68 billion over 10 years if the military stopped spending millions on running grocery stores, operating its own schools and even developing a roll-up version of beef jerky, insists one of the Senate’s leading fiscal conservatives. In a new report, Republican Sen. Tom Coburn dubs the Pentagon the “Department of Everything.”
Coburn details how the Pentagon could save money — vital in a time of rampant federal deficits — if it eliminated duplicative and excessive programs that have nothing to do with the nation’s security. By turns sober and cheeky, the report points out that the Pentagon has spent more than $1 million on the 100-year Starship Project, including $100,000 for a workshop sure to attract Trekkies. One of the discussions was titled “Did Jesus Die for Klingons Too?”
[. . .]
Coburn identified five areas that he said had nothing to do with national security yet represent a significant chunk of the annual $600 billion-plus Pentagon budget:
— Nonmilitary research, $6 billion.
— Education, $10.7 billion.
— Tuition assistance, $4.5 billion.
— Pentagon-run grocery stores, $9 billion.
— More than 300,000 military members performing civilian jobs and numerous general officers, $37 billion.
Coburn also said the Pentagon spent $700 million on alternative energy research that was duplicative or unnecessary.
[. . .]
“Beef jerky so good it will shock and awe your taste buds,” the report said. “That is the goal of an ongoing Pentagon project, which is attempting to develop its own brand of jerky treats that are the bomb! Only, the money is coming from a program specially created to equip soldiers with the weapons they need.”
These kinds of proposed cuts target precisely the kinds of military pork upon which Hawaiʻi has built its economy.