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  • Guest Blogger: Rep. J. Randy Forbes (R-VA)

    Con. Randy Forbes

    The defense budget is a lens through which we see our national defense priorities and the tool by which we will equip our warfighters and maintain a ready defense. To achieve an effective defense budget requires – at the very least – accountability and transparency.

    While the Administration has certainly insisted on transparency when it involves divulging interrogation techniques used on detainees, they have refused to apply the same standard for the American people when it comes to the readiness of our nation’s defenses. Consider the following recent actions:

    • The Administration announced it has classified routine reports on ship readiness, preventing the results from being brought to the public’s attention.
    • The Secretary of Defense has refused to submit a congressionally-mandated 30-year shipbuilding plan with the 2010 budget request, even though it is required by law.
    • The Secretary of Defense has refused to submit a congressionally-mandated 30-year military aviation plan for the Air Force and Navy, even though it is required by law.
    • For the first time in history, Defense Secretary Robert Gates instituted a gag order requiring hundreds of Pentagon officials sign non-disclosure agreements barring them from discussing budget deliberations with Members of Congress. The gag-order was ultimately lifted, but not before senior Army officials refused to testify at a House Armed Services Committee hearing on the Army’s top acquisition project, because it was “too closely aligned to the FY2010 budget.”

    Transparency in information is essential for Members of Congress to analyze the defense budget and, more importantly, to ensure the American people understand the collective risk we assume as a country if we do not invest in a strong national defense. Failures in transparency leave Congress, which is charged with responsibility to “raise and support Armies” and “to provide and maintain a Navy,” without the necessary information to address national security weaknesses.

    Next week, the House Armed Services Committee will mark up the annual defense policy bill without visibility to a long-term shipbuilding plan, a military aviation plan, or thorough information on the reasoning behind the proposed defense budget. Consequently, we are left with what appears to be a budget-driven defense proposal, rather than a strategy-driven budget. And when it comes to equipping our warfighters and modernizing our force for the security of our nation, we should neither be assessing capabilities on the battlefield nor allowing our budget to determine our strategy.

    In the near term, it may be politically opportune for the Administration to hide defense shortfalls in favor of funneling government spending elsewhere, like a string of ineffective bailouts. In the long term, however, this secrecy in spending priorities only temporarily conceals a dangerous course for our nation. The Administration would do well to apply its promise of “unprecedented levels of openness in Government” to the defense of our nation.

    The views expressed by guest bloggers on the Foundry do not necessarily reflect the views of the Heritage Foundation.

    Posted in Ongoing Priorities [slideshow_deploy]

    12 Responses to Guest Blogger: Rep. J. Randy Forbes (R-VA)

    1. Centaur, Purcellvill says:

      Rep. Forbes, I found your comments very intriguing, and according to my research, on-target.

      I am also worried by the lack of information about defense spending because of an article I stumbled over while blogging today, regarding an international treaty which Pres. Obama wants to pass, the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC). This treaty would require that a nation not spend more on defense than they spend on children…which would significantly slice the defense budget.

      Anyone involved in the defense industry should be worried by this (since I have friends in all of the military branches, including reserves and guard), since part of this scaling back in spending will be shrinking the force size, and the arms/equipment we buy for the military.

    2. Stephanie, Ohio says:

      The Secretary of Defense has refused to submit a congressionally-mandated 30-year shipbuilding plan with the 2010 budget request, even though it is required by law.

      The Secretary of Defense has refused to submit a congressionally-mandated 30-year military aviation plan for the Air Force and Navy, even though it is required by law.

      If the mandates are required by law, how can Gates refuse action? How can he break the law ans still keep his job?

    3. Doc Watkins, Bahama, says:

      It is so important that we get the message from Randy Forbes (and other conservative leaders) out to the public…far more so that we help insure that the misguided citizens understand the dire consequences of failing to follow these conservative guidelines. We stand at this moment at the greatest precipice the American people have ever faced. The number of citizens who are calling for change, without comprehending just how destructive these changes will be to ALL segments of the population, has reached staggering proportions. The actions being taken by the liberal leadership will cause nothing less than the complete destruction and demoralization of America, and open the doors wide for a complete takeover by Communist practitionists. We simply are going to have to close our borders, fund our military, and equip our citizens with the truth…in other words, follow the constitution as it is written and not as some who seek only power and control would have us believe it means. The alternative is simply too horrible to visualize. IoN…Impeach obama Now!!

    4. Barb Faulkner-Davis, says:

      First, I wish to thank Mr. Forbes for standing up for the Judeo-Christian beginnings and majority of our country!

      Now, I know that nationalizing health care for our country would be the WORST thing that the liberals in power could do to the citizens! I can't for the life of me understand why we don't bring in some English, Canadian and others who suffer under socialized medical coverage, to testify in the Senate and to Congress…I'm sure there would be many who would be glad to do this, as long as their traveling expenses are paid. Also, why can't we get some former Soviet citizens who live here now, to also testify against socialized government problems? Give it some thought, and perhaps see if it might be feasible?



    5. C. Byrd, Chesapeake, says:

      I keep informed every day via reports on the e-mails from Heritage, Fox, etc to understand the truth of what is happening in Washington D.C. What I read is frightening to say the least, but even more is that the public doesn't appear to notice or care. Obama and his administration, who apparently all fail to follow the law need to thrown out of office. Obama, whose shoulder this all stands on needs to be impeached and removed from office. His cocky attitude seems to indicate he is above the law and he'll do what he wants and sweet talk the public and the world into believing what he is doing is for the good of all. He is leading this country into chaos and the word needs to get out via any media form before he shuts the outlets down. Those in congress should do all they can to make it absolutely difficult to have anything passed by congress via whatever means possible.

    6. Harry Snyder Michiga says:

      It's hard for me to believe what Congessman Forbes has stated, although the record so far of Mr. Obama makes Mr. Forbes information quite believable. Just the cancellation of the F22 program puts our country at risk in the future. This Obama guy seems Hell-bent to turn the U.S. into a third rate military power, allowing China to become the sole super-power on the planet. We can only hope for a change in party control next year after the elections.

    7. Jill Hetherington says:

      Obama does just want us to be thrid rate militarily, he wants us to be third rate in everything. I am positive he hates America.

    8. Barb -mn says:

      This man has one goal to achieve. He will do whatever it takes and stop at nothing.

    9. Eleanor, upstate Cal says:

      Impeach Obama? This is the first opinion I've seen in writing. Then have Joe Biden? Well, yes. At least he would be better, since I think Congress could control him.

    10. judy crawford in atl says:

      All he strives for is chaos—- because with chaos —-he becomes winner, take all….and we become his serfs…just look around— you can see it now.

    11. Lisa in Kansas says:

      This may be a very simplistic question, but what can we, as ordinary citizens do, to wake up the average American to what is going on in our country??? Obama is going at warp-speed to destroy our country, with some puppetmaster(s) pulling the strings. I'm also convinced, like many who have posted here, that this man hates America, especially based on his comments outside of the US to other countries.

    12. Barb M, Lakeland, F says:

      What in the world are you people talking about? I have never seen such fantasy in all my life. Impeach Obama for what? Just because Republicans are sore losers and are out criticizing everything he does, doesn't make it true. Republicans are war mongerer's. Yes, the party that is supposed to be the moral majority is screaming that we don't have enough fighter jets, even though it is Robert Gates who is cancelling them because we have an over abundance of the F22's already and because they are not proving to be very effective.

      The 'moral majority' doesn't seem to be seeking much peace and Christian love. They are worried President Obama isn't threatening enough to Iran or that he is hell-bent to turn us into a third-rate military power? The man is using something we are not used to. It is called intelligence, strategy and diplomacy. Everything doesn't have to be accomplished through military power and fear. I thought the 'moral majority' were supposed to be Christians but I am seeing and entirely different side of them. Hmmmm.

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