I remember after the collapse of the wall and the implosion of the soviet union, how the left immediately talked about "Peace dividend" The military immediately started cutting back, the U.S. Army cut back the most, something like 50%. I got RIFted in 1991 after coming back from the Gulf War. The intelligence agencies cut back because the cold war was over and we needed to spend on butter. THe military was cut back and thanks to Clinton, the services had political forces to deal with. I remember "DAKOWITZ" It was an organization that was championed by Hillery to promote the feminist agenda and they acted like political commissars to the services. The intelligence services and the military were concerned about the politics of political correctness which is understandable since that is where the money and power resides. The military and intelligence services forgot that the main goal was defence of this nation and their citizens. I remember black hawk down, the bombing of kobar towers, the Kosovo debacle. followed by the 9/11. We were perceived as weak by our enemies and that is why they struck. Now history is repeating itself, I fear that we will be humiliated as a nation in 10 years because of the actions taken by Obungler and the democraps. You know the ones that don't believe in American exceptionalism and would like to see us as a nation lessened.
Currently, President Obama’s proposal is to cut $400 billion from the defense budget over the course of the next twelve years. If that doesn’t already sound like a recipe for risk, there’s even more: further cuts are on the way. These concerns don’t just reflect my pessimistic view about the president’s stance toward the military; they stem from Obama’s own words during a recent White House press conference:
“I, as commander-in-chief, have to have difficult conversations with the Pentagon, saying ‘There’s fat here, we have to trim it out’ . . . [Defense Secretary] Bob Gates has already done a good job identifying $400 billion in cuts, but we’re going to do more.”Of course, the Pentagon has already rung some warning bells about the possible repercussions of thoughtless budget cuts. Prior to retirement, former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates pointed to some potential consequences of the current budget proposals; one of his primary warnings concerned the potential for “hollow force.” Less defense investment means higher risk, after all, and a smaller global footprint.
General Cartwright explained to reporters in Washington, D.C. that making cuts on this scale would be done in three stages, lasting 3-4 years each. The first stage would take money from programs that could immediately be reined in, such as training and flying hours; the second stage would hit structural areas, like force numbers and types of forces maintained (e.g., more reserve vs. active duty, or a possible transition to a draft for larger umbers when they are needed); and the third phase would hit big-ticket items, leading to possible base closures and benefit reductions. It would take a decade to even enact those types of cuts, due to the legalities involved.
When the debate is framed in those terms, then, the uproar over defense cuts might seem a little overblown. After all, this would be a gradual project that would be implemented over the course of many years–theoretically giving us plenty of time to absorb the shock. Additionally, when you do the math the cuts add up to approximately 5% slashed each year, or around $35 billion. In the era of the trillion-dollar President, $35 billion is like change for a twenty. It’s that little devil in those flustering details that we have to watch out for, though.
For instance, consider our Fiscal year 2012 budget DOD71l;: Under the “Major Weapons Systems” procurement funding request, modernizing ground systems has a price tag of $16 billion, missile defense asks for $10 billion, and missiles & munitions asks for $11 billion. In sum, modernizing three essential weapons systems is basically 5% of the defense budget. Sure, you can come up with $35 billion from somewhere else in the budget other than weapons this year, but when you have to get rid of that amount every year over the course of twelve years, at some point you’re going to hit some essentials; this will incur some of the risks that Gates referred to.
There’s also a big red flag regarding immediate reductions that shouldn’t be overlooked here: cuts in training and flying programs. Common sense and history agree: money spent in peacetime can save lives, i.e., more training means more prepared troops, which means fewer casualties. In his book How to Make War, military historian James Dunnigan made the argument that the low U.S. casualty rate in Desert Storm was due to all the money committed to training and equipment during the 1980s; I’m inclined to agree. Considering the increasing war fronts we’re facing, with new elements that require new strategies, extensive training and preparations to take that success forward could be crucial.
It’s the second and third combined parts of the 12-year budget cut plan that raise the risk of a draft. When restructuring military forces to fit within budget constraints, having such a large active-duty force will be difficult: It may be that we will need to activate a larger number of reservists more frequently, or resort to conscription.
Patriotism is a big part of American life, but so is self-determination. Becoming a veteran is more than just taking on a job for four to six years. As the saying goes, a veteran is someone who hands over a blank check to the U.S. government which is payable up to and including their life. Yes, there will be a number of individuals that will serve their country regardless of incentive, but if your forces are “hollowed out,” your benefits are slim, and you need large numbers of troops to enter a conflict, where would you acquire them with any amount of expediency? A draft might come to mind.
Again, the problem is not just that there’s $400 billion being cut over the course of a decade or so; it’s the likelihood that even more will be cut following that if the president has his way–and, considering the history of new Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, it’s pretty safe to assume the worst.
Considering the risks involved with the current defense budget cut proposal, this debate really can’t be pigeon-holed into that of neo-cons and the “military industrial complex” vs. the American taxpayer, as some would like to characterize it. Being Americans–that is, being the leaders we are in the world–we have huge responsibilities, and at the center of all that is the strength of our military. There’s good reason to be concerned when our ability to meet those responsibilities is threatened.
In other words, it’s kind of a big deal.