For a basic understanding of the Pentagon's budgetary environment
in 1991-92, below are excerpts from Colin Powell's 1995 autobiography,
My American Journey. In 1992, then 4-star General Powell
was Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
"By early 1992, we were deeply
into reductions to bring the armed forces down by the 25 percent
the Bush administration had announced earlier. We started paying
troops to leave the service after years of paying them bonuses
to stay in. We cut back on recruiting, taking in just enough
new people so that we would have the required sergeants and chief
petty officers come on line ten years from now.
...We were bringing home thousands of troops from Germany
every week, along with their families, cars, pets, and other
possessions. We had to have an assignment and a home waiting
for them at a stateside post.
... I felt a part of my life vanish the day that my first
post, Gelnhausen [2nd Brigade, 3rd Armored Division, Coleman
Barracks] was shut down. The keys were given to the Germans,
and a U.S. rear detachment marched out to the tune of 'When Johnny
Comes Marching Home.' The Fulda gap became a tourist attraction
in the middle of a reunified Germany.
... Shutting down overseas installations was a breeze compared
to closing stateside bases. People in Gelnhausen did not vote
in American elections and did not have congressmen fighting for
the folks back home.
... Another cost cutter [in 1992]: the Army wanted a new radio
jammer to thwart Soviet commando attacks in NATO's rear. What
attacks? What rear? What Soviets? We cut the request, and $200
million more was saved.
... Under Dick Cheney [Secretary of Defense], the service
chiefs and I tried to be responsible stewards of the funds entrusted
to us by the American taxpayer."