Pentagon on Budget Cuts: Forces Will Assume Substantial Additional Risks

One of the great privileges of being American is the protection and security afforded us by our men and women in the military, arguably the finest military ever assembled. Examples of unrest in other countries around the world abound in the news, and history is replete with examples of nations unable to protect their sovereignty and integrity because they were unprepared or too weak militarily. Presumably, the Pentagon has taken current threats to the U.S. into account and has learned from the past to determine the needs of our military today.

Unfortunately, lawmakers on Capitol Hill and the Pentagon officials have divergent views of the financial resources our military needs to protect and advance U.S. interests and to execute their updated defense strategy.

The Pentagon offered a fresh warning in a report released Tuesday that their funding will be $115 billion short of the Department of Defense’s Fiscal Year 2015 budget submission because of spending caps in place under the Budget Control Act (BCA) of 2011. They note:

If sequestration-level cuts persist, our forces will assume substantial additional risks in certain missions and will continue to face significant readiness and modernization challenges. These impacts would leave our military unbalanced and eventually too small to meet the needs of our strategy fully.

Defense is only 20 percent of the government’s spending, but it bears more than 40 percent of the sequestration cuts.

Earlier this year, the Heritage Foundation’s James Carafano, vice president for foreign and defense policy, lamented the imprudence of the DoD budget cuts:

Hill indifference to a hollowing military became apparent after the Ryan-Murray budget deal. As the sequester started to take effect on the armed forces, the Hill got an earful about it damaging impact on military readiness. Congress responded with a budget bandaid, delivering partial, temporary relief from sequester cuts. This spared the armed forces an immediate crisis, gave Congress no reason to quite [sic] worrying about the future of America’s defense.

Without substantial policy changes, Carafano explained “every armed service will likely wind up smaller than it was on 9/11.” As he noted on February 18, al Qaeda is as dangerous as ever, China is on the rise, the Middle East is a mess, and Russia is restive. Ten days later, Russian troops violated Ukraine’s territorial integrity by occupying important sites in Crimea, and unrest still permeates the region.

Meanwhile, CNN reports a new video has surfaced with what looks like the “largest and most dangerous gathering of al Qaeda in years.” They add, “The CIA and the Pentagon either didn’t know about it or couldn’t get a drone there in time to strike.” The video shows Al-Wuhayshi, the No. 2 leader of al Quaeda globally saying, “We must eliminate the cross… The bearer of the cross is America!”

As Carafano said, “A smaller military in today’s world makes no sense.”

Quite to the contrary, the military needs the resources to attract a sufficient number of quality personnel — with “salaries, educational opportunities, quality of life, retirement benefits, and health care.” The military should have modern equipment and robust training to prepare our military to operate effectively in combat.

Yet, the government, under President Obama’s failed leadership, is shrinking the military to levels not seen since World War I and World War II. Even Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has acknowledged that we may not be able to protect ourselves if attacked, as a result of our diminishing military. His budget reflects the callousness of this Administration.

But in Washington, too many in power are eager to spend more money on domestic programs in an attempt to grow the welfare and nanny state, as they gamble with national security.

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