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  • Starving Defense Now Starves America Tomorrow

    When sitting down to write a family budget for the year, the typical first step is to list what the family will need and from there budget accordingly. So, too, is the theory for the yearly national budget. In the case of defense, however, President Obama has done things backwards. With his proposed $400 billion in spending cuts, the President has decided to reduce our nation’s defense without regard to the responsibilities and threats our military deals with on a daily basis.

    In her recent article in Politico, Mackenzie Eaglen highlighted that by starving defense today, the President is weakening our nation’s security in the future.

    President Obama, like his predecessors—including, anathema as it sounds to most Democrats, President Bush—has significantly expanded the roles and obligations of the U.S. Armed Forces, both militarily in situations like Libya and non-militarily with relief efforts such as those in Japan. Today, America is involved in three ongoing combat operations plus a myriad of relief and other efforts across the world. Our equipment and manpower are being taxed to the limit by use and stress, being worn down physically and emotionally.

    It is in this context that President Obama has proposed his $400 billion in cuts. Even more significantly, the majority of these cuts are to come from acquisition of new equipment, which in fact constitutes only one-seventh of the defense budget. Programs such as the F-22, the Marine Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle, and the C-17 cargo plane represent the future of the American military, having been slated to replace aging equipment that in some cases was decades old or maintain fleets being worn down by constant use.

    Yet each has been canceled, a victim of short-term defense cuts in the name of austerity. What’s more, each has already had billions of dollars in research invested into them. Their closure or cancellation represents the loss of these billions that have already been spent, as each will have to be replaced with a new program requiring additional billions in research.

    Although President Obama has enlarged the responsibilities of our military, the simple fact, unspoken as it may yet be, is that these cuts will necessitate a reduction in the global role of the United States. We as a nation will simply be unable to ensure security and stability across the wide fronts that we have so long defended.

    The choice between reducing America’s role in the world and hollowing out a wide array of responsibilities is an abysmal choice, with either option leading to a weakened United States, increasingly vulnerable to a plethora of threats that continue to grow.

    Savings are necessary across the board, and defense is no exception. However, unless those savings are made wisely, with regard to the safety of the nation and our allies, we are sacrificing the future in the name of appearing tough.

    Matthew Despres is currently a member of the Young Leaders Program at the Heritage Foundation. For more information on interning at Heritage, please visit: http://www.heritage.org/about/departments/ylp.cfm

    Posted in Security [slideshow_deploy]

    3 Responses to Starving Defense Now Starves America Tomorrow

    1. Larry Welch, Idaho says:

      Thank you, Matthew Despres! Our nation NEEDS to keep your message in mind as we make historic, pivotal changes in what we provide for our people. If the Constitution is to be believed as our foundational national purpose for government, providing for the common defense is the first priority – before any talk of healthcare, retirement, education, infrastructure, welfare – or any of the myriad demands our people have come to expect.

      May your message be heard again and again as our political leaders make critical decisions in the months ahead.

    2. CORKY says:

      obama is dead set on destrying this Country. Even if your a lib you should be able to see what is happening. Pretty soon our millitary will look lie Russia's.

      Come one Americans let's start by voting these people out…

    3. Zbigniew Mazurak, Pl says:

      Actually, the article written by Ms. Eaglen and the blogpost written by Mr. Despres are not as good as other people say. Specifically, they are not convincing, and will not convince undecided folks to oppose defense cuts. Why?

      Because both Ms. Eaglen and Mr. Despres, while laying out clearly what would the dire consequences of further defense cuts (let alone those proposed by Obama) be, have failed to make a case against them and for a strong defense. They justify their protests on the grounds that such defense cuts would mean radically reducing "America's role in the world", its commitments to other countries, the scope and frequency of its interventions, and isolationism.

      Such a case is not convincing to undecideds, and it actually drives them straight into the arms of Congressman Ron Paul.

      The American people don't want further interventions or commitments. They want the number and scope of American military commitments to be dramatically reduced, along with the frequency and scale of American military interventions.

      Instead, Ms. Eaglen and Mr. Despres should use the arguments that I use on my blog: that America itself is threatened by numerous enemies, that a strong military is needed to defend America itself (even if not allied countries), that a strong military safeguards the liberties of the American people rather than threatening them, and that further defense coulds would imperil America itself.

      Under the Constitution, the Federal Govt. is obliged to defend the US, but not foreign countries.

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