By G. C. Forsman
Recent headlines have to make you wonder if President Obama knows anything about national security and the balance of world power. While President Obama vows to reduce defense spending to dangerously low levels so he can keep spending like there’s no tomorrow on the domestic side, Vladimir Putin laid out his ambitious plans for modernizing and strengthening Russia’s defense forces over the next decade, stating that, “For Russia to feel secure and for our partners to listen carefully to what our country has to say, Moscow must spend about $775 billion by 2022 for new armaments and a more professional military.” Additionally, China has announced that it will boost military spending by 11.2 % this year, in a move likely to cause concern about Beijing’s rapid military build-up and stoke regional tensions. The increase was announced by Li Zhaoxing, the spokesman for China’s parliament, and will bring official spending on the People’s Liberation Army to 670.3bn yuan ($110bn) for 2012, after a 12.7 % increase last year and a nearly consistent series of double-digit rises across two decades.
Obama believes that with coming cuts to defense, the new military will be leaner but still superior. And Defense Secretary Leon Panetta stated; “The Army and Marines Corps will no longer need to be sized to support the kind of large-scale, long-term military operations that have dominated military priorities and force generations over the past decades, and added that “forces will have to become more flexible and adaptable to conflicts around the globe.”
As expected, the plan wasn’t well received by some on Capitol Hill, including the House Armed Services Committee chairman who described the new approach as more of the Obama administration’s strategy to “lead from behind.” “The president has packaged our retreat from the world in the guise of a new strategy to mask his divestment of our military and national defense,” said Chairman Buck McKeon, R-Calif. “This strategy ensures American decline in exchange for more failed domestic programs,” McKeon added. “In order to justify massive cuts to our military, he has revoked the guarantee that America will support our allies, defend our interests and defy our opponents. The president must understand that the world has always had, and will always have a leader. As America steps back, someone else will step forward.”
Sarah Palin stated that: “Every American should be alarmed at Barack Obama’s priorities, which are illustrated starkly and astonishingly in his cuts to national defense. Those of us with family members in the military, especially, cannot help but be shocked and disappointed by the Commander in Chief’s decision to cut our troops and the benefits they have earned. It’s amazing when you consider all the government waste and the fact that the compensation and benefits of politicians (including the President) only increase, never decrease.”
In a recent newsletter, Congressman Allen West points out: “The Obama administration’s proposed defense budget calls for military families and retirees to pay sharply more for their healthcare, while leaving unionized civilian defense workers’ benefits untouched. As well, we are looking at cutting close to 130,000 uniformed troops, but cutting only 7,000 Department of Defense civilians.
In addition, the Obama administration is looking to create a BRAC (Base Realignment and Closure) commission to examine changing the military retirement system. If you do the analysis, you find that less than one percent of the American adult population draws a retirement from serving in the United States Military. The idea of taking out the United States economy budget woes on our military is despicable. Congressman West is right. This is “despicable.” Instead of reforming our insolvent entitlement programs (which the President’s own debt commission recommended) and instead of taking a cleaver to all the waste, fraud, and abuse of our tax dollars perpetrated and perpetuated by the crony capitalism of the permanent political class in DC, this administration makes our brave men and women in uniform bear the brunt of our deficit woes. It’s shameful. The President’s actions are shameful!
“The combination of the budget request and the Budget Control Act of 2011 would reduce the military’s personnel levels and force structure to the point that they could no longer protect U.S. vital interests and keep U.S. security commitments around the world,” Heritage’s Baker Spring wrote last week. Heritage’s analysis of Obama’s budget reveals that by 2018, the United States would spend more on debt interest than protecting the country.