So far, the Pentagon’s explanation for deep cuts is that the Defense Department “must do its share in helping to reduce the nation’s budget deficit.” Yet military leaders know that no other federal agency is being asked to take similar cuts -- many no cuts at all --nor is the administration making any effort to restructure the real culprit … runaway entitlement spending.
So far, their dutiful response when quizzed on $487 billion in spending reductions over the next ten years is that it will leave the nation with a “lean, modern, agile” force able to meet any contingency.
Yet the truth is far different. The force reductions programmed to begin in 2013 are not a nibbling at incidentals. Instead, they are a cleaver stroke at pure muscle. In the Future Year Defense Plan, the Air Force will slice six combat fighter squadrons and 303 aircraft … all from a force that is the smallest and oldest in its history.
The Army will lose at least eight brigade combat teams … the Navy seven cruisers and two dock landing ships … the Marines one infantry regiment headquarters, five infantry battalions, one artillery battalion, four tactical air squadrons and one combat logistics battalion.
In terms of manpower, the Air Force will trim another 9,900 airmen, the Marines 20,000 and the Army 72,000.
None of this is a peace dividend. In fact, the world is becoming a more threatening place. Iran continues to saber rattle. Middle East tensions could spin out of control. China and Russia are building -- not reducing -- their military. And we have signaled to friend and foe alike that we may not be able to protect our interests nor cover our responsibilities worldwide.
Now come reports that Obama is reviewing draconian, unilateral cuts to our nation’s nuclear arsenal -- cuts that could reach 80 percent according to an Associated Press report released on Tuesday.
The announcement falls just one year after unprecedented concessions were made to Russia in a New START treaty that will reduce our deployed strategic warheads to 1,550 by 2018.
Apparently the president’s strategy is to unilaterally disarm and hope that adversary nations do likewise.
Tell that to Iran, North Korea or Pakistan. Tell it to Russia and China as well.
We are about to tread on dangerous, unpredictable territory. Peace through strength has kept us relatively safe for a number of decades.
We’re about to see what weakness does for us … unless someone at the Pentagon stands up and says, “Enough is enough.”