• The Heritage Network
    • Resize:
    • A
    • A
    • A
  • Donate
  • Pay Freedom Forward, Properly Arm Our Armed Forces

    As Americans begin the Memorial Day weekend, we remember those who have given their lives to defend the freedoms and way of life that we enjoy. The Heritage Foundation’s James Carafano writes in The Sacramento Bee that as we honor them, we must also “do our utmost not to add to their ranks”:

    Cold gray monuments, brassy parades, majestic flyovers – they are all remembrances of those who died in the service of the nation. They are all part of our Memorial Day.

    No day speaks more about American patriotism than the day we thank those who gave their lives in the fight for freedom. Yet, no ceremony, no solemnity can ever replace those we have lost . . .

    So while on this day we honor sacrifice, we have a job the rest of the year as well: reminding our leaders in Washington to ensure that the troops who defend us have what they need to do the job – and come back to us. There is no better way to recognize the valor of those who serve, and demonstrate care and respect for their families, than to pay it forward – to properly arm our armed forces for the next fight.

    Carafano writes that adequately funding defense is among America’s greatest challenges, and it is one that must be addressed:

    After 10 years, we have put a lot of wear and tear on the armed forces. The danger that our military preparedness could plummet has never been greater.

    Today, America has the smallest Navy since before World War I, and the force is aging. This year marks the 25th anniversary of the popular movie “Top Gun.” The ship featured in the film was the USS Enterprise. It is still at sea. In fact, it was commissioned in the 1960s, and is the second oldest ship in the U.S. fleet. Ships in the Navy’s sister fleet, the U.S. Coast Guard, are even older . . .

    America’s Air Force has the oldest average fleet of planes and the fewest number of planes in its inventory at any time since World War II . . .

    The Army and Marine Corps both have aging fleets of vehicles – and have just seen the plans to replace them pushed further down the road.

    Annual spending to buy new equipment is already under-funded by about $50 billion a year. Still, there are calls to slash military spending.

    Posted in Security [slideshow_deploy]

    15 Responses to Pay Freedom Forward, Properly Arm Our Armed Forces

    1. morpheus says:

      We have to be more creative and smarter than this.

      Wake up America. It’s time…


      Read “Common Sense 3.1” at ( http://www.revolution2.osixs.org )


      “Spread the News”

    2. Zbigniew Mazurak, Pl says:

      This is all true. However, preventing defense cuts – which every conservative should work to do – will require educating members of Congress and the voters about the necessity of providing robust funding for America's defense. It will also require electing a President who understands this necessity, because President Obama is irredeemable.

    3. Pingback: PA Pundits - International

    4. West Texan says:

      Defense is a hazardous occupation. Some conflicts riskier than others. I often think about the civil and second world wars. Both were costly with very slim survival odds for campaign participants. Having the latest battle field technology, logistical support and well planned strategy bettered our countries odds for mission success. Undermining these efforts by cutting defense to satisfy some demagogues’ social program overreach goes beyond being shameful. Not only is such misguided policy unconstitutional, it’s purposely neglectful bordering on treason. As far as our fallen warriors, their sacrifices were not in vain. They did their duty and for that should always be remembered. To the fallen I say thank you! Stay warm in God's embrace.

    5. John v L; Minnesota says:

      Generally/, youngsters are taught to learn from the mistakes of others. A hard lesson in life. At the beginning of the Viet Nam endeavor our troops were armed with WW2 & Korean war armament, granted, there were some changes to the old stuff, but not much. The technology moves ahead very fast, not the money. It is a shame the greatest Nation has to play catch up because of the myopic views of a small, very vocal group of people in denial. Denying the real dangers to our freedom. 9/11 was a shock, still the same groups do not believe we are very vulnerable. Parents send their kids off to school in nice shiny new cars. Why not spend the money to send the military off in nice new safer, more effective equipment?

    6. Sandy, Richfield, UT says:

      When a president has no appreciation for the warriors that protect our country he surely isn't going to keep them funded. His largest voting block is that of his own ilk, race and mindset. That does NOT include most members of our armed forces. They fight while their families are scuffling for food, utilities and shelter. They are the TRUE patriots!

      As for Obama, it is evident he is purposely weakening our defenses and that of our allies. Perhaps this is the prelude to the new world order and he plans on being the king. One can only wonder.

    7. Dinah Garrison Fairb says:

      @Mike, Planet Earth, and West Texan

      Bravo to all 3 of you! So well said! According to the Constitution, the defense of our country is a primary goal. As I have posted before, if we can't defend our country none of the other "social" programs will matter a twit. Someone (or a few someones) needs to find ways to cut waste in the military while finding ways to replace aging and worn equipment. This IS a primary responsibility to those who serve.

    8. Lawrence Wade 2920 A says:

      Defense spending may be the only part of our Government which should not be reduced. It is truly vital.

    9. Harry Snyder Tempera says:

      It is beyond my comprehension that when the U.S. is fighting 2 1/2 wars at the same time, why ANYONE outside a mental ward would suggest cutting the indispensable Defense budget. And China is arming, increasing spending 7 to 10% per year, with the obvious goal of pushing us out of the western Pacific.

      Of all the $800 Billion "Stimulus," it has always seemed to me that Defense would have a great place top put a few tens of Billions; would have been a great way to "create or save 1000's of jobs."

      I am forced to conclude that the pushers of Defense cuts are either lacking in knowledge of world conditions, lacking in basic intellectual capacity, or possessed of motivations inimical to U.S. interests. I don't care what his/her name is.

    10. bill cowell, Jackson says:

      I live in a Navy town. I am in awe of how are sailors due so much with so little. While our ships have state of the art electronic equipment and weapons, the living quarters and ships themselves are aging at a rapid rate. I have toured WWII vessels that are in better shape then some of our active duty Navy vessels.

      I have a friend that is a engineering officer on a frigate. They actually put to sea with a hole in the ship that was allowing water in. Before the U.S.S. Kennedy was decommisioned I was told by several sailors that served on her last deployment that the fuel from the engines would commonly leak into the tanks that held their shower water. You couldn't open your eyes or get any water in your mouth, while in the shower, due to it being mixed with the diesel fuel.

    11. Edward Kimble, 46725 says:

      Simple, bring the troops home and discharge them. Do it now, close 50% of the bases, don't sell them, close them, mothball the troop transports. Then design, build, and stockpile the tools and men needed for future struggle. A 60% reduction in cash outlay should be a reasonable goal. So do it. Get stronger, get meaner, more automated, and less vulnerable. More machinery, traps, and WMD's. Pretend you are guarding against rabbits and deer. Think poison ivy, laser/electric fence, honey locust trees, black locust trees. Think rattlesnakes and Osprey. Think ticks, horseflys, disease and death. Make your enemies so positively suicidal, that no human intervention is required whatsoever.

    12. Wes in cincy says:

      I believe we should properly fund the military even if it takes

      eliminating the salaries of every politicians in Washington, D.C.

    13. George Colgrove, VA says:

      Lets try it this way:

      - We have a federal government that is 57% UNFUNDED.

      - We are going into debt by $4 billion a day.

      - The DoD sucks up 25% of the federal budget.

      - Defending this country is putting this nation into debt by $1 billion a day.

      - The last year the DoD was fully funded was 2001 and the budget was $336 billion ($480 billion in 2011 dollars) for core defense, ongoing combat operations, VA and all other vet. needs, research and so on (i.e. ALL defense spending!).

      - Today the same budget item for the same stuff is $965 billion or 2 times the 2001 budget just 10 years ago when looking at 2011 dollars. ( http://www.usgovernmentspending.com/numbers#usgs3… )

      - Obama is looking to only cut $400 billion over 12 years. I personally do not think we are in trouble. I would cut $480 in the 2012 budget alone!

      I think we are running out of time. No on in DC (including the HF) seems to care about what we are as a nation facing. I know defense contractors are making a mint and I know by living here that DC is the only place that has an economy. (I went to Ocean City this weekend and was amazed how in just one year, since I was there last, how many businesses have closed. In DC you do not see the economic deterioration as you see outside the beltway. Even on the outskirts here in the greater DC area, you are starting to see it a little.

      The HF is an indirect recipient of taxpayer money in that its offices are in DC and they personally benefit from the rich economy we have (as I do). One of the primary arguments against cutting federal spending is that we should think about the hair dresser, the restaurant owner and so on. If the feds got less money, then it could put them out of a job as there would be less federal workers to uyse their high-end services. But of course, mentioning that hair dressers, restaurant owners and the such are out of work nationwide does not seem to matter.

      Cutting MILITARYspending should be off the table; however, much of the DoD sending has little to do with the military and much to do with the preservation of the rich economy here in DC. $400 billion was redistributed to defense contractors (some who do not even pay their taxes) mostly in and around the DC area. Nearly a $100 billion is redistributed to overpaid over numbered federal workers in the bloated DoD administration. The DoD in my estimation redistributes the struggling Joe the Plumbers hard earned income (he being a producer) to very wealthy DC elites who do very little to defend or add to the general welfare of the entire nation.

      When you say “Pay Freedom Forward, Properly Arm Our Armed Forces," you could not find a better supporter of that than me. I just think it is time we look at the budget items. We need to make the DoD budget fully transparent to the public. We need to know where the money is going and where it went over the last 10 years.

      It takes little more than the 2005 BRAC project to know the DoD has very little skill in properly managing something as simple as money. They will end up spending over $280,000 to move just one of 128,000 people in that $35 billion dollar project. Much of which will not be complete for years as they new will be held with the responsibility to get the environmental and traffic concerns fixed. The BRAC was supposed to save money, but when costs became 10 times what should have spent, it is clear we the taxpayers will see no savings – especially since 57% of that spending was unfunded and we will be having to pay interest on that for decades!

      It is time we start talking about cuts – and big ones. Not only in the DoD, but even deeper cuts in DHHS. We need to start considering eliminating departments. GOP members have simple minds and when they see a past success they try to emulate it expecting the same results. They tend to ignore obvious facts that counter what they want as an outcome. Reducing taxes will not bring in a treasure trove of tax revenue. It will help the economy, but not enough to bring in added tax revenue. There is too much personal debt floating around. There are now too many people who no longer pay federal taxes and the middle class will likley only see marginal tax decreases – barely noticeable. The rich (who will see the largest tax cuts) will only see a small decrease in taxes compaired to rather large tax cuts of the past. Any tax revenue benefit will likely only offset the decrease. Solving this problem will not involve raising taxes either, because that would destroy what remains of the economy.

      Defense spending is also not saving us liek it had in the past. Yes there are droves of jobs here in DC. Many defense contractors are also building (albeit far smaller and simpler buildings than what the DoD is doing) here in DC. But it is here in DC not where is needs to be. But here is the killer, we are

      If we stay the course with current defense spending, we will be exactly where we are today, next year – only much deeper in debt. Perhaps then with extremely high interest rates to boot. We have to start sometime. The pain will only get worse the longer we wait. Lets get started today and get it over with. NO sacred cows!

      Lets make these cuts meaningful and lasting, however make the cuts where it will not hurt the military and perhaps with less bureaucrasy and bloat may actually benefit the military mission.

    14. WaB in Las Vegas says:

      Paying it forward is frought with corruption. There is so much political engineering involved that much of our military hardware costs 5-10 times what it should. Even General Gates noted so on 60 Minutes. I saw a review of the book The Pentagon Labarynth that describes the problems and suggests some fixes. Gates noted that the bureaucracy of the Pentagon has grown so much in the past couple of decades that it has become unworkable.

    15. Abby, ca says:

      If our military was at 'home' where it was able to defend our country and our citizens rather than hiring out across the globe to police others, would we then have enuff money to give them the best of the best? Would we not have enuff money to develop and build the best defense in the world? Would we not be able to have the best training? Would there not be thousands of innocents still alive who have been killed by accident? Would our wars then be congressional matters and not the decision of one man and the UN and the United Arab League. I am curious about these issues. How do these questions fit with our United States Constitution? I will be looking for those answers here.

    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.