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  • Will Panetta Provide for the Common Defense? Top Five Questions Congress Should Ask

    The President plans to move Leon Panetta from heading the CIA to heading the Pentagon. As Obama’s nominee for Secretary of Defense, Panetta will have to be confirmed by the Senate. With the President’s doctrine for foreign policy and national security proving mostly a bust, the Senate should expect the new Secretary to help turn around the Administration’s sad record.

    Furthermore, Obama has called on the Pentagon to conduct a new review of defense needs. Since the U.S. Armed Forces are already overstretched, the new Secretary will have to provide an honest assessment and not just rubber-stamp Obama’s desire for gutting their budget. Congress needs to know if Panetta is up to the challenge.

    Here are the top five questions Congress ought to throw at Panetta:

    1. Defense budget: President Obama has repudiated his own defense review (the Quadrennial Defense Review), which he delivered in 2010 and which by law is supposed to provide an honest assessment of project needs. Now, his recent decision to pick an arbitrary goal of $400 billion in defense cuts over the next decade—and then ask for a review to justify it—will be your first job in office. Why should we trust you to do anything but rubber-stamp his demands?

    2. Vital priorities: Do you agree that instead of cutting defense, the next Secretary of Defense should be focused on: helping the U.S. military win in Afghanistan; identifying a clear plan for the United States with and in Iraq beyond December; avoiding mission creep in Libya while actually helping create a coherent strategy for the Arab “Spring”; and crafting a clear, more effective policy toward Iran, especially to prevent it from becoming a nuclear power?

    3. China: We need a rational, credible plan to counter the People’s Republic of China’s large-scale military modernization program. Can you deliver on a plan that will ensure the U.S. remains a capable stabilizing military force in Asia—one that never has to fear intimidation from China?

    4. Missile defense: Since entering office, President Obama has negotiated the new START nuclear agreement with Russia that has diminished U.S. stature as a nuclear power. He has cut back U.S. missile defense posture to what he believes is just-enough, just-in-time missile defense, rather than building robust defenses that would answer potential threats. Do you think that was smart? Would it not have been wiser to do everything within his power to ensure that the U.S. and its allies have the most robust defenses possible against threats from Iran and North Korea?

    5. Homeland protection: The U.S. must be better prepared for protecting the homeland. Despite all its rhetoric, this Administration actually cut the number of specially trained and equipped military forces that would respond to a weapons of mass destruction incident. That seems wrongheaded. Will you do more to ensure the homeland is adequately protected, including for emerging threats like cyber attacks?

    Posted in Security [slideshow_deploy]

    5 Responses to Will Panetta Provide for the Common Defense? Top Five Questions Congress Should Ask

    1. Arturo Tsettie says:

      "3. China: We need a rational, credible plan to counter the People’s Republic of China’s large-scale military modernization program. Can you deliver on a plan that will ensure the U.S. remains a capable stabilizing military force in Asia—one that never has to fear intimidation from China?"

      China has always been intimidated by USA and lets not change that.

      Though the one thing we must change is that the US military is too big.

      There is no reason why we should be 6-12 times as much as China does on its arms. Though China's figures are opaque its reasonably to assume that it spends double it claims which is US$59 billion is 2008….

      We claim to spend 750 billions. Betting chances are that we spend way more than that also.

      Why should we continue to spend more on arms than the developing world combined. Isn't that why we have more allies than everybody else.

      Use our gifts and talents wisely. And thats to continue and build our innovative and creative thinking. While snapping up talent from the rest of the world to build our base.

      Its not as bad as the fear mongers lead the sheeple to believe.

      We just got to keep up the pace. Don't slack off because, we're # 1.

      Thats it.

      China is a competitor not a threat. The threat is within. I hope the govt doesn't stop monitoring these statements. Dissent is getting rare in the USA also.

      Dissent is getting dangerous in the USA. Trust me.

      Be safe.

    2. George Colgrove VA says:

      Let the ride begin. This guy (head of CIA) said on national television that he gets what he knows from the news media.

      If we thought the DoD had poor leadership with Gates, wait until this guy gets into the seat. With the clowns Obama has surroudning him, Hillary probably would have been the best choice – but that is not saying much.

      To our military – our soldiers in harms way, may God be with you and keep you safe – because the self-serving DoD will not be there.

    3. George Colgrove VA says:

      The AP had an article regarding Panetta and his cost cutting skills – the reason why he was selected. The article suggested that the cuts already made for the current year was considered no t enough.

      Other than the excellent work provided by the HF regarding just under $100 billion in cuts spread over several years, conservatives have not identified tangible cuts that could be made to reduce the civilian operational components of the DoD. It is widely accepted that there is a large amount of redundancy and overlap in the administrative ranks of the DoD and the branches. The DoD performs payroll not only for itself but for other federal departments as well. There are opportunities to cut the DoD without touching the mission – to defend this nation.

      I fear however it may be getting too late for conservatives to be at the table. Liberals are now solidly in charge of the department. However, it was disappointing to learn the Gates recommended Panetta.

      Cuts have to be made everywhere – we should focus those cuts on eliminating redundancy, consolidate similar or overlapping operations, tighten security, and limit access to curb leaks, consolidate all non-military functions outside the DoD. Before we cut one soldier or one defense system, we conservatives had better make sure all dollars spent in the DoD are focused on defense.

      Here is the point, it is now admitted that the DoD spent over a billion dollars to house pretty much 6400 federal workers in mostly administrative positions. The data used for constructing this building was flawed at best. This building is for all intensive purposes the one of the most expensive building per square foot built in the greater DC area at a cost of over $550/ sq. ft when normal private sector luxury office construction barely reaches $200/sq ft. Hundreds of millions of dollars are still needed to improve traffic to the sight – something that won’t be completed for years to come. The killer here is that while this construction loomed, we killed a $1.5 billion dollar missile defense system. It is kind of foreshadowing the priorities of this federal department.

      I suspect defense systems and soldiers will be on the chopping block, with some of that money put back into the federal workforce. The CIA needed $500 billion to cover its unfunded pensions. How much of these cut will be switched over to DoD federal workers pensions? Just a question.

      If we do not get a handle on the day-to-day operations of the federal government, regardless of the department, and the extraordinarily high cost covering the federal workforce, there will not be enough money to defend this country even with going deeper into debt by trillions each year – and for the left, we may not have enough to provide seniors with their social security checks either!

    4. Pingback: Will Leon Panetta Ensure That America Is Defended? | The Foundry

    5. Pingback: Heritage Explains : What Questions Should the Senate Ask Panetta? | Tennesseans Watching Federal & State Government

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