• The Heritage Network
    • Resize:
    • A
    • A
    • A
  • Donate
  • Pentagon Not Only Place “Hollowing” Out

    In the 1970s, rather than rebuilding the military after the Vietnam War, President Jimmy Carter let it go hollow—the military looked okay on paper, but readiness dropped to appalling levels. President Bill Clinton adopted a similar strategy after the Cold War.

    They both did it for the same reasons: Wanting to respond to criticisms of “big government” spending, they cut defense—hence less government spending—but they could save as much of their precious “big government” as possible.

    Clinton’s neglect of the military was less apparent, because Reagan had built up the armed forces in the 1980s. Today, President Obama is copying the Clinton strategy, gutting defense to protect other spending. But the Clinton strategy won’t work today.

    In the 1990s, the military was living off the investments of the Reagan years, and America was largely unchallenged. Today, the military is old and worn out, and America is challenged on many fronts. That’s why Heritage has been raising a red flag this month with a series of events to warn America that America’s military is going “hollow” again.

    The Pentagon, however, is not the Administration’s only target. The U.S. Coast Guard (USCG), a military service that is part of the Department of Homeland Security, is also about to get whacked. “Whilst the Administration is reducing the numbers of USCG cutters in the Pacific and arguing against the full number of replacement cutters and the building of a new Offshore Patrol Cutter, the need for an expanded USCG capability is going up,” writes defense expert Robin Laird. “This is yet another disconnect between words and deeds.”

    These cuts are particularly troubling because it sends all the wrong signals to China, which has every intention of turning the South China Sea into “China Lake.” Heritage Asia expert Walter Lohman warns, “Let’s be clear about one thing: Tensions in the South China Sea are about China.”

    In his analysis on the Web site Second Line of Defense, Laird concludes that part of the answer has to be investing in the Coast Guard:

    For the USCG to play a lead role in shaping a maritime security regime, it needs a significant bolstering of its resources and capabilities. … The special qualities of the Pacific region require the USCG to have assets, which have greater endurance, range and survivability than assets in other [areas of responsibility], which in turn, reinforces the significance of the USCG’s efforts for modernization of its aging legacy assets. The USCG can not field a Third World Navy to deal with 21st century requirements to become an architect of a new maritime security regime.

    Posted in Security [slideshow_deploy]

    6 Responses to Pentagon Not Only Place “Hollowing” Out

    1. Jim Z, Somerset, NJ, says:

      I believe this is called "Leading from Behind".

    2. West Texan says:

      I've been against the whole idea of Homeland Security from the very start. It was just added big government bureaucracy in the wake of 9/11. As law enforcement agencies, the Coast Guard and Border Patrol should have been absorbed by the department of justice. Instead, we now have Homeland Security basically mimicking defense.

    3. Stirling, Pennsylvan says:

      Progressive Liberals have no need for military to protect the people, since they have no respect for the constitution which expressly was created to protect the people from the government. Everything progressive-liberals do is for the end result of disarming the people ( i.e – gun laws) and creating a government top-down socialist state. We broke away from England for the reason we did not want a "King" to rule over us. Our president is nothing more then an elected official, and as elected officals they work for us, should be treated as such, and are no better then the average american morally or ethically.

    4. charles pembroke cap says:

      We all know why they are cutting the military.they want to spend on entitlements and welfare for Obama to get reelected.I'd rather pay for warfare then welfare.It's up to congress to make sure the military is up to speed.I don't trust this congress to do anything.What a bunch of wimps.And i mean republicans.What a feeling when you know nobody listens.Every day it gets worser and worser.

    5. charles pembroke cap says:

      I'm against it

    6. South Texan says:

      The U.S. Coast Guard has both 10 U.S.C (National Defense) and 14 U.S.C. (Law Enforcement) authority, unlike any other agency of the U.S. government. Therefore, the Coast Guard should never be solely thought of as a law enforcement agency and should not be grouped or compared with agencies such as Border Patrol, Customs or the FBI which are strictly law enforcement. Where do these agencies belong in the grand scheme of government??? That is a discussion that requires much greater examination than this forum with allow.

    Comments are subject to approval and moderation. We remind everyone that The Heritage Foundation promotes a civil society where ideas and debate flourish. Please be respectful of each other and the subjects of any criticism. While we may not always agree on policy, we should all agree that being appropriately informed is everyone's intention visiting this site. Profanity, lewdness, personal attacks, and other forms of incivility will not be tolerated. Please keep your thoughts brief and avoid ALL CAPS. While we respect your first amendment rights, we are obligated to our readers to maintain these standards. Thanks for joining the conversation.

    Big Government Is NOT the Answer

    Your tax dollars are being spent on programs that we really don't need.

    I Agree I Disagree ×

    Get Heritage In Your Inbox — FREE!

    Heritage Foundation e-mails keep you updated on the ongoing policy battles in Washington and around the country.

    ×