The Obama Administration just announced what I believe could be the most irresponsible and dangerous thing they’ve done thus far in their three years in power. Obama intends to slash U.S. military troop levels by 15% – the Army from 570,000 to 490,000 and the Marines from 202,000 to 175,000. Total cuts to the U.S. defense budget under Obama’s plan is approximately a half trillion dollars, and if you add the potential automatic $600 billion in cuts coming due to the Administration and the Super Committee’s failure to come to an agreement a few months back, this could result in a slashing of our military by over a trillion dollars.
Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, Congressman Buck McKeon, strongly criticized the proposal saying, “This strategy ensures American decline in exchange for more failed domestic programs.” He’s right.
Perhaps the most troubling of Obama’s proposed changes in our military is the abandonment of the long-held policy (under both Democratic and Republican Administration’s) that the U.S. would always be capable of fighting two wars on two fronts at the same time. If Obama’s plan is adopted – no more. Result – we’re less secure.
Obama’s one warfront plan presupposes that we can predict what the future will bring, what our enemies will do, who they will be, and how virtually everything will unfold. If history teaches us anything, it’s that the future is impossible to predict. We must hope for the best, but prepare for the worst. We must have the military power and flexibility to deal with any realistic eventuality. A lot of American lives depend on it.
Obama is repeating the mistakes of the past. After other major military conflicts, World War I, World War II, and Vietnam, the U.S. cut military spending, and then found it necessary to rebuild our military capabilities when our security was again threatened, often at great cost in blood and treasure.
A few other elements of the Obama plan. We will de-emphasize our involvement in the ever-volatile Middle East to Southeast Asia, and to China in particular. Now I would agree that ramping up our ability to deal with China is important. Especially since most experts predict that China will likely be our chief rival over the next century. But we must remain engaged in the Middle East, or Iran will soon have nuclear weapons, Iraq will fall under Iran’s sphere of influence and all our gains there will be lost, Egypt will end up a militant Jihadist state and war with Israel will be not just a possibility but a likelihood, and the chaos and instability in the Middle East will result in oil prices shooting through the roof and pushing the world economy (and the U.S.’s) into further recession, or God-forbid, into depression.
One area where I would agree, at least in part, with Obama’s plan, is reducing our military forces in Europe. Our European NATO allies have for far too long been allowed to neglect their own defense budgets, and become too dependent on U.S. military forces to carry the load. Enough’s enough. This is one area we could save some U.S. tax dollars. I intend to support the Administration on this point.
Let me be clear. My opposition to what I and many others see as a hollowing out of our military does not mean that the Defense Department should be considered a sacred cow. It, like all departments and agencies of the federal government, deserves aggressive scrutiny to determine where waste, fraud, abuse and pork can be eliminated without jeopardizing our security (remember the $600 hammers?)
In conclusion, we must not permit this ill-conceived plan to move forward, and reduce our ability to project U.S. military power around the world. If we do, it will make the world, and us, less safe.