The Congressional Budget Office (CBO), recognizing that the federal budget deficit has doubled in size over the past decade and continues to balloon, periodically issues a compendium of policy options that would help reduce the deficit, reporting the estimated budgetary effects of those options and highlighting some arguments for and against them.

This report, the latest in the series, presents 121 options that would decrease federal spending or increase federal revenues over the next 10 years.  Many of these options are, of course, related to discretionary spending, to which cuts are more flexible.  Defense spending constitutes roughly half of all federal discretionary spending.

Options for Reducing the Deficit: 2019 to 2028 – Dollars saved in Budget Authority (BA) over the decade:

  • Reduce the DoD budget by 10% relative to what’s currently planned for FY22 – saves $591 billion
  • Reduce the DoD budget by 5% relative to what’s currently planned for FY22 – saves $284 billion
  • Freeze O&M Budget Authority for five years and then limit its growth to the rate of inflation — saves $220 billion
  • Limit growth of O&M Budget Authority to the rate of inflation — saves $81 billion
  • Cap increases in basic pay for military Service members — saves $17.6 billion.
  • Replace some Military Personnel (80,000) with civilian employees (64,000) – saves $16.7 billion
  • Cancel plans to purchase additional F-35 fighters and instead purchase F-16s and F/A-18s – saves $16.2 billion
  • Stop buying Ford Class aircraft carriers – saves $18.2 billion
  • Reduced funding for naval ship construction to historical levels – saves $74.7 billion
  • Reduce the size of the nuclear foce, retaining a nuclear triad with ten submarines, 300 ICBMs, and 1,550 warheads – saves $11.2 billion
  • Reduce the size of the nuclear force, retaining a nuclear triad with eight submarines, 150 ICBMs, and 1,000 warheads – saves $13.1 billion
  • Cancel the Long-Range Standoff Weapon – saves $13.3 billion
  • Defer development of the B-21 bomber – saves $44.9 billion
  • Modify TRICARE enrollment fees and cost-sharing for working age military retirees – saves $11.8 billion
  • Reduce the size of the bomber force by retiring the B-1B – saves $17.9 billion
  • Reduce the size of the fighter force by retiring the F-22 – saves $29.9 billion
  • Cancel the ground-based midcourse defense system – saves $20.3 billion