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  • Morning Bell: Get to Work Protecting America

    “I believe that the primary Constitutional function of the federal government is national defense, bar none,” reads the very first sentence of Sen.-elect Rand Paul’s (R-KY) issue page on national defense. Sen.-elect Paul is right. It is right there in the Preamble to the United States Constitution: “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

    Unfortunately our federal government has been falling short on this primary duty. Now many on the left want to go even further, gutting defense to pay for their own social priorities. But defense spending is not the cause of America’s budget deficits. Mandatory spending on entitlements and interest on the debt currently accounts for over 50% of the federal budget, while defense spending accounts for less than one-fifth.

    Contrary to what you may hear, defense spending is actually at near historic lows. During World War II we spent 38% of gross domestic product (GDP) on defense; during the Korean War it was 14%; Vietnam 10%, and the Cold War 7%. Yet since 2001, defense spending has averaged roughly 4% of GDP. The toll on our armed forces is easy to see. Air Force tactical aircraft are, on average, over 20 years old; bombers nearly 30; and tankers about 45 years old. And the Obama administration only wants to shrink defense budgets further. White House budget plans indicate defense budgets will fall to just 3% of GDP in 2019. To better Protect America and its interests abroad, and support those in uniform, Congress must:

    • Adequately Fund Defense. Congress must provide for defense an average of $720 billion per year (to be adjusted for inflation) for each of the next five fiscal years, excluding funds for Afghanistan and Iraq. The annual defense appropriation bills should reflect these spending guidelines and be given priority for floor time and signed into law before the start of the fiscal year. This is not an arbitrary number, but one based on a sound strategic assessment of what armed forces are needed in the future.
    • Adopt a Sensible and Efficient Defense Budget. Eliminating waste and redundancies are worthy goals and should be pursued in earnest. Any funds achieved from defense efficiencies must be reinvested into the defense budget, specifically to offset the cost of modernizing and developing next-generation equipment. Real reform means fixing outdated, inefficient compensation packages (while maintaining effective recruitment and retention, and honoring obligations) and business practices—not cutting troops and critical capabilities like missile defenses and air, land, sea and space superiority. By maintaining sensible and stable defense budgets and adopting better personnel management policies, Congress can find the urgently needed funds for modernization and provide a steady stream of funding for new, vitally needed equipment with higher and more efficient production rates, economies of scale, and lower production costs.

    At a debate this fall, Sen.-elect Mike Lee (R-UT) promised his constituents: “One of the few jobs the federal government has, one of the few powers that it enjoys under the Constitution, is to provide for our national defense. … This is our very survival as a people that we are talking about. Our ability to continue living in this land and we can’t allow that to be threatened by anything. It is the principal reason why those thirteen original states came together and formed a national sovereign so that we could protect ourselves and protect each other. We’ve got to stay focused on that. If we lose sight of that our very survival could be threatened. That is why I support a strong national defense and will continue to do so.”

    Conservatives must pay close attention to what this Congress does and be prepared to hold leaders accountable. That is why The Heritage Foundation has created the Solutions for America: Get to Work checklist. Protect America is one of the five essential tasks Congress must complete to fulfill its electoral mandate. You can listen to Heritage experts James Carafano, Brian Riedl, Curtis Dubay, David Azerrad and Nina Owcharenko discuss Heritage’s new Checklist for the incoming Congress here. You can download and print all of the “Get to Work” fact sheets and checklist here.

    Quick Hits:

    • Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) is collecting signatures on a letter calling for a vote to ban earmarks.
    • Presumptive House Speaker John Boehner has granted the freshman House class a leadership post of the 112th Congress.
    • The Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) still has no comment on Tea Party Rep.-elect Allen West’s (R-FL) bid to join the caucus.
    • Where does the Tea Party go from here? Join Billie Tucker of the First Coast Tea Party, Ed Morrissey of Hot Air, and Byron York of The Washington Examiner for a live event today at 11 AM ET.
    • Tomorrow at 10 AM ET, The Heritage Foundation will host a panel discussion on nuclear modernization and the Obama administration’s efforts to force ratification of New START in the lame duck session of Congress. RSVP here.
    Posted in Ongoing Priorities [slideshow_deploy]

    30 Responses to Morning Bell: Get to Work Protecting America

    1. George Colgrove, VA says:

      *Adopt a Sensible and Efficient Defense Budget* "

      Eliminating waste and redundancies are worthy goals and should be pursued in earnest. Any funds achieved from defense efficiencies must be reinvested into the defense budget, specifically to offset the cost of modernizing and developing next-generation equipment."

      This is key. Thank you for recognizing this. Not only will this represent a cost savings in the GOVERNMENT side of the DoD which can in turn be reinvested in the MILITARY side of the DoD, but it will enhance the safety of our soldiers in the field. There will be far fewer agencies tripping over each other. There will be fewer federal employees and fewer lengthy protocols gumming up the system. Soldiers will have modern working hardware that is pertinent to the mission. By revamping and consolidating the document management system for which classified information is kept and declassified information is disseminated throughout government and the public will also help to reduce the current urges of federal employees have in releasing such sensitive material to places like WikiLeaks.

      There is no end to finding places to cut waste, reduce redundancy and eliminate overlapping missions. Considering Mullens warning, this cost cutting mission is worthy of military style precision and attention. The quicker the cuts are made the better off this country will be. There is a treasure trove of financial resources to be realized by battling the waste war inside the DoD.

      Better still, once the DoD has completed this mission, their work can be used as the “Cost Cutting Mission Guide” for the rest of the federal government. No other federal department has more to gain from such cuts as the DoD. Upon achieving success in defeating waste, the rest of government can be easily shamed in doing the same thing.

      Please Conservatives, make this happen! And HF – thanks again!

    2. Ken Jarvis - Las Veg says:

      HF finally got something right.

      America NEEDS protection from MURDOCH'S

      Circle of HATE =

      Circle of HATE OBAMA –

      Murdoch, WSJ, FOX, Rush, Chamber of Commerce,

      Heritage Foundation, Karl Rove, Beck, Hannity, O'Reilly,

      Coulter, LV Review Journal, Koch Bros. Newt

      THEY are America's REAL Enemies.

      Also, Workers NEED protection

      UNIONS protect Workers

      WORKERS OF THE WORLD UNITE.

      LVKen7@Gmail.com

    3. Dennis Georgia says:

      Defense should be priorty in the budget, but I am afraid it will not be. As much as some in DC do not want to admit we are at war. The radical muslims are determined to fly their flag over the white house. Our "guvment" must do all in its power to prevent this. Once the invasion gets a head of steam, we will be playing "catch up", very much the same way as we were in WW2 after Pearl Harbor. The only difference between then and now, we will be in our own back yard.

    4. Tony, Brick, NJ says:

      I agree with everything here with the exception of the complete repeal of the health reform program. I feel that a full review and adjustment of certain parts of the program would benefit America more than just tossing the whole baby out with the bath water. There are some excellent parts of this bill and they should be kept.

      Tony Bunn

    5. Chuckwagonchuckie2u, says:

      Many in our leadership among the Washington Elites have a disdain for the military and those who serve. I am sure as a nation everyone has a stake in our defense to the degree all should be trained in Military Science, know the purpose of the Military in society,participate in basic training, serve a tour of duty and participate in a Reserve Unit.

      Many young men and women find purpose in life and careers while in training or serving in the Military. Above all else the Military provides jobs and direction for young people.

      It is time we get our heads out of the sand and require all Americans to participate in our Defense.

    6. Glynnda White, Orlan says:

      Agreeing with your assertions. I was astounded to read in the intro to your policy document that our Navy Armada is at it's lowest points since before 1916! That is truly hard to believe.

      Glynnda

    7. Clearhead says:

      To all you "incumbents" who've somehow managed to escape the recent partial purge of chaff from the Democratic (party) congress: would you please enlighten us "useful idiots" as to why you think YOU will escape the chaos caused by your embracing your precious PORK, (such as extending OUR Social Security benefits to illegal aliens so their llegal votes will be cast for you,funding "studies" of cow farts, etc. etc. etc.)? Failing to defend our country will in the end put YOU in the same gulag as we bourgeoisie. Think about that as you go merrily on your way, totally destroying our precious America.

    8. George Foley says:

      I have a couple issues with this, and I am retired from the Navy as a procurement official. DOD is extremely wasteful and inefficient. We have more flag officers today than we did in WWII. I support a strong defense but we are bloated and ineffective and that must be fixed.

      Second, what about the billions we spend on 'Homeland Security?" I think it is misleading to speak about providing for the common defense HLS must be considered as an investment aslo, and unfortunately one that also suffers waste and inefficiency on a large scale.

    9. Evan, Anchorage says:

      I agree with Tony fron New Jersey. There is only one question you ask yourself before you spend, "can I afford this?" If we can't afford this, we can't do it. Everything is on the table. If we can't win in Pakistan, we can't win in Aftganistan. I do not think we can ever win in Pakistan. You do your own conclusion.

    10. Larry, Watchung NJ says:

      The defense of the country should start at the borders! Border Patrol should become part of the US Military responsibility! Army, Air Force, Navy, Marines, Coast Guard, and Border Patrol!

    11. Dr dbiggs.CA says:

      Pres OBOZO: "Tea Bagger-in-Chief"

      You Can LIE but can you READ?

      Invasion by illegal ie "Criminal Aliens"

      Obviously you have never read the United States Constitution or

      else feel that in your ivory tower and wealth that it does not apply to you!!

      I feel you need to read the following and act according to the peoples wish

      not your wishes or special interests wish list!

      There are three references to the words "invasions," "invaded," and

      "invasion" in our U.S. Constitution:

      Article I, Section 8: "The Congress shall have Power To Provide for calling

      forth the Militia to execute Laws of the Union, suppress

      insurrections and repel Invasions."

      Article I, Section 10:"No State shall, without the Consent of Congress, lay any

      Duty of Tonnage, keep Troops, or Ships of War in time

      of Peace, enter into any Agreement or Compact with

      another State, or with a foreign Power, or engage in War,

      unless actually invaded, or in such imminent Danger as

      will not admit of delay."

      Article IV, Section 4:"The United States shall guarantee to every State in the

      Union as Republican Form of Government, and shall

      protect each of them against invasion, and on

      Application of the Legislature, of of the Executive (when

      the Legislative cannot be convened) against domestic

      Violence."

      Your Oath of Office and sworn duties as referenced mean you must Act and

      put a Stop to the Invasion of all the Illegal immigrants we are experiencing.

      Our U.S. Constitution mandates that invasions shall be repelled by Congress.

      and that means the persons in the House of Representatives and the U.S.

      Senate. Our nation's sovereignty must be protected.

      How can you even stand in front of a mirror and even look yourself in the eyes

      knowing you are a "Bought & Paid Hoe" for special interests and the

      Democratic Party Hacks? Tell me I am wrong, please because I fear for the

      future of our country as you certainly don't care about the people or our

      country!!

      You go to the SAME PLACE for LYING as you do for STEALING!!

    12. Suzan Money, Arizona says:

      This is off of the subject, but I am wondering who we would write or call to get the process rolling to get rid or Michael Steele. I think he is ineffective and does not and has not been making good decisions. I would love to see a Sarah Palin or the like to decide where our funds go, and who should represent our goals. I do not think he is qualified or has the same values as the conservatives, and now that we have so many in power, hopefully we can get a good leader to keep our party together.

      Thank you.

      Suzan Money

      480-786-3900

      smoney1@cox.net

    13. Judith in Michigan says:

      The goal of Progressives, liberals and this administration is not only to lower funding for our national defense, but the total elimination of our national defense capabilities.

      There are numerous anti-military groups, such as Code Pink, anti-military activities, such as the aversion to military recruiters on the college campus and the hostility to battleships visiting US ports such as San Francisco that point to this. And don't forget the federal government's refusal to secure our borders.

      All of the best recommendations in the world, nor references to the governmental duties spelled out in The Constitution will not change this hostile mind-set. This is what be tackled first.

    14. Mark Steven Zuelke F says:

      Original intent must have meant that all these clauses are equally important. Justice, for example, is essential to maintaining any viable society. Progressives pick and choose what they like, when they like it so as to forward some agenda but I never, ever, thought I'd see Heritage use such a blatantly progressive device. Paul is wrong and needs to put correct perspective on his thoughts, so that he might say something like, "national defence, long neglected as one of the essential activities of federal government, will no longer be neglected."

      How did you miss this??

    15. Lee, Ft. Knox says:

      As a private contractor, I would hope that support for our troops would be maintained at the highest levels and reduncies would be eliminated. When programs that are working are eliminated, that hurts the soldiers' and their families' military readiness.

    16. Judith in Michigan says:

      The goal of Progressives, liberals and this administration is to not only lower funding for national defense, but the total elimination of our national defense capabilities.

      There are numerous anti-military groups, such as Code Pink, anti-military activities such as the aversion to military recruiters to the college campus, and the hostility to battleships to US ports such as San Francisco that point to this. And don't forget the federal government's refusal to secure our borders.

      All the best recommendations in the world, nor references to the governmental duties spelled out in The Constitution will not change this hostile mind-set. This is what must be tackled first.

    17. KC - New Mexico says:

      The “President” wants this great country to become a 2nd world power and socialistic. We might as well forget about prosperity. With the lack of national defense, let’s allow the Mexican drug cartels to come on over and continue murdering innocent Americans. Let’s keep letting foreigners come on over who hate this country – they must be entitled to something here. Let’s keep letting the media interview the radical Muslim leaders who want to keep killing Americans but yet our military can’t get to these creeps. Let’s keep reducing the defense funding so that our Air Force, Navy, and Marines equipment becomes outdated and ineffective. The Army has not had an improvement since Vietnam.

      A suggestion on how to fix this is to stop dumping dollars into countries that do not care or give a damn about America. Pull the private investments from these countries as well. Dedicate this funding to rebuilding America infrastructure and national defense. Remember what President Regan told us and the world about defense! This is about priorities – and they will not change until we Americans demand it from Pelosi, Reid, and Mr. O.

    18. Evan, Anchorage says:

      I agree with Tony from NJ and Larry from NJ and the governor from NJ. What's with NJ?

    19. Ben C. Ann Arbor, MI says:

      The problem with the health care bill is that the good parts are few and far between. Defunding and repealing the bill is best and then add the good parts to the next health care reform bill. Perhaps then we will have something useful.

      I agree with Larry – border security is the first order of business for our military.

    20. Edward Wolfe, Bowlin says:

      All I want is an explanation of why we need troops in 150 different countries. The Republicans are big on zero based budgeting, so I propose that the military go through each of the 150 countries and give a justification.

      Also, Russia is no longer the threat it was, so why do we need troops in places like Germany? Which brings up the point that the Europeans spend so little on defense and then criticize us for not have a sufficiently generous welfare state (think government health care).

      As Mark Steyn points out the reason the Europeans can spend so much on welfare is because they spend so little on defense. They need to start pulling their own weight. If their defense is important to them, then they need to cough it up.

      Defense is nearly 25% of the discretionary spending in the budet. Non-discretionary items include interest, Medicare, and Social Security. You can't reduce interest, and Repubicans don't want to cut Medicare or SS, but yet you want to take 25% of the discretionary part of the budget off the table.

      I agree with my Senator elect Rand Paul–defense needs to be on the table. FWIW, I am a Tea Party Republican–emphasis on the first part. So, this is not some left wing troll coming on here to make some points.

    21. Blair Franconia, NH says:

      I agree. WE should pass a sensible and reasonable defense budget. That defense budget should have funding for a replacement for the venerable M16 assault rifle.

      When the M16, (baaed on the Armalite AR-15), was introduced, it was rushed into production with no time for evaluation by the Army, which usually takes several years.

      The M16 was sold to the Army, and Marine Corps, as a rifle that didn't need any cleaning. That turned out to be a lie. Poland replaced its 7.62x39mm assault rifles and carbines, with the Beryl kbs wz. 96 and Beryl kbk wz. 96, produced by the Polish

      firm Radom. The Czech Republic is replacing the Sa vz. 58 with a new 5.56x45mm

      assault rifle. In the 1990s, the Germans replaced their aging G3 with the G36. Germany had tried for years to replace the G3 unsuccessfully and had many replacements for it just like we do for the M16 family. Let's also cut congressional and presidential pay by 50%.

    22. Blair Franconia, NH says:

      I agree. WE should pass a sensible and reasonable defense budget. That defense budget should have funding for a replacement for the venerable M16 assault rifle.

      When the M16, (baaed on the Armalite AR-15), was introduced, it was rushed into production with no time for evaluation by the Army, which usually takes several years.

      The M16 was sold to the Army, and Marine Corps, as a rifle that didn't need any cleaning. That turned out to be a lie. Poland replaced its 7.62x39mm assault rifles and carbines, with the Beryl kbs wz. 96 and Beryl kbk wz. 96, produced by the Polish firm Radom. The Czech Republic is replacing the Sa vz. 58 with a new 5.56x45mmassault rifle. In the 1990s, the Germans replaced their aging G3 with the G36. Germany had tried for years to replace the G3 unsuccessfully and had many replacements for it just like we do for the M16 family. Let's also cut congressional and presidential pay by 50%.

    23. EON59 says:

      Your article solves little of our defense or spending problems. The first change that must be made is to allow our military to win. Afganistan and Iraq should have been done and over with already if we would just fight a war and not a political campaign. War is hell and it should be, so we don't do it often. I can't remember who said that, maybe Sherman, but it should be the plan. War is not a humanitarian endeavor. Next we need to get out of Korea, Japan, Germany, the Congo, Bosnia, Somalia and now Iraq. That would save billions to replace our military transporation and weaponry. It takes so little time to transport troops that we can keep the money in the US to house and train them. And bring production of our products back at least to North America. Why are we funding China's military buildup? Finally, the only way to make any government entity more efficient is to cut its funding. Let's start with the Dept. of Education and the Dept. of Energy.

    24. Linda, Louisiana says:

      It seems simple to me. In order to "Provide for the Common Defense," we must have ample funding for the Defense of this Nation; i.e. More than what we have now. Without adequate defense and the protection of this Nation, we could not think about funding the other initiatives. All of us could become Prisoners of War, then who would pay the taxes and who would administer programs for assistance.

    25. Mike, Chicago says:

      Obama wants to weaken our country.

    26. Ron Hert, CAlifornia says:

      All of these great ideas are for naught. The Progressive-Socialist-Communists want only to bring this nation down to the level of the rest of the world. Look at the largest military aid packet being pushed by Obama for the Saudis-this would put them on the same level with modern weapons as the US. Already, the Saudis are not allowing anyone else to monitor Saudi citizens that donate to various groups-both Jehadist and others. Nothing is going to happen until these enemies(LPFSCMAD) of the USA are kicked out of office or, are put out as far out as the Republicans can put them while in office-including Hussein Obama and his Islamic agenda and comrades. Investigations are needed.

    27. Ron Hert, CAlifornia says:

      The most dangerous enemy is the one from within-Liberal-Progressive-Facist-Muslim-Accomplices-Democrats; that are a strong group of 50 plus inside the Congress. The Republicans need to investigate each one of them to insure that they have not been a part of espionage against the USA, and have not supported Sharia law in any fashion as well. Investigations are needed on them and of course Obama. What Obama has kept secret should be stated about him, his background, and affilations. How will he be able to refute these alligations, unless he brings forth proof-therefore he is guilty of High Crimes and Misdemeanors! Investigate Obama's illegal SS Card and bribes as well.

    28. Randy Dutton says:

      I'd like to add some suggestions.

      Change annual Operations and Maintenance appropriates to biennial. That will save a LOT of money, improve contracts, reduce contracting personnel requirements, and reduce the annual 'spend it before it disappears' mentality.

      Eliminate DoD earmarks that burden our military with equipment and processes that are not wanted by our military, and cost additional money to maintain. ONLY fund items actually requested by the military.

      These recommendations come from my experience as a retired Navy Supply Corps Commander, and as a defense contractor. My competition had their products pushed into the military system with $20 million in earmarks, at the same time some of their products were being thrown over the side because of their products' failure.

    29. Henry says:

      We must pull out of Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan , and close all foreign bases. Then rebuild our military on American soil. AMERICANS NATIONAL DEFENSE comes first on AMERICA SOIL.

      Iraq war was for the Saudis and our (their) oil. AMERICA HAS BEEN CAUGHT UP IN TOO MANY WARS AND AMERICA IS BROKE.

      I DON'T CARE ABOUT ANY FOREIGN COUNTRY.

      I CARE ABOUT AMERICA AND OUR CITIZENS!

      Our men and women have died and lost limbs far too long on foreign soil.

      WHO WOULD HAVE THOUGHT AMERICA WOULD BE IN DEBT TO CHINA AND JAPAN AND OTHER FOREIGN COUNTRIES? AMERICA IS IN THE BOTTOM OF THE PIT AND MAY NEVER RECOVER.

      A REMINDER! LOOK WHAT AMERICA DID IN WORLD WAR II! WE CAN DO IT AGAIN WITH THE RIGHT LEADERSHIP IN WASHINGTON.

      IMPEACH OBAMBBA! GET HIM OUT OF THE WAY. SEND HIM TO INDIA.

    30. Steve S. California says:

      Randy, you are right. Last week in San Diego, I had the honor of seeing what our incredible men and women are doing in Afghanistan Airborne medics routinely saving lives while under fire (they film everything over there these days). It infuriates me that these folks not only put their butts on the line daily, but they have to spend their own money to get good equipment, and their leadership doesn't listen to the lessons learned and often paid for in blood. One of the key ingredients is that we must get the right folks (rubber meets the road types)involved in these processes early. They have sorely needed skills in abundance. We will save money, get better product, and the taxpayer will get more for their money. We are by far not the most pragmatic in our decisions.

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