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  • Americans Don't Fear Defense Cuts? They're Wrong.

    New polling data from Rasmussen Reports shows that 48 percent of Americans think that the United States can make major cuts in defense spending without putting America at risk. Unfortunately, they’re wrong.

    Case in point: base closures. Some in Congress are looking to the U.S. military’s overseas bases as places to cut back on spending in order to fund domestic priorities. In May, Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., wrote then-Defense Secretary Robert Gates:

    Given the U.S. military’s advanced technology and the capability of our forces to deploy throughout the world from stateside bases, I believe there may be added value in further reducing our foreign basing footprint.

    Cutting back on bases, though, will undermine the United States’ status as a global power and its ability to execute missions overseas. The Heritage Foundation’s James Carafano explains in The Washington Examiner the purpose that overseas bases serve:

    Bases enable the U.S. to get somewhere and stay there at a reasonable cost. U.S. fighter aircraft, for example, need repair parts every few days. Having parts and maintenance facilities on hand is dramatically cheaper than running back to the U.S. every time a plane needs to be fixed, rearmed or refueled.

    Geography matters. If the U.S. did not have global bases, it would need twice as many ships, planes and troops to cover the same missions. We’d have to build additional bases here to house all those resources, and we’d still need to send them halfway around the world to get to the problems they’re asked to solve. That is simply unaffordable.

    Those bases serve an important strategic purpose–particularly in today’s engagements. Carafano writes:

    When it comes to dealing with two-thirds of our national security problems — everything from battling the Taliban to keeping watch on Iran — the U.S. ships, planes and soldiers based in Europe are “halfway there.”

    Base closures aside, cutting defense has other implications for the military, as well. Heritage’s MacKenzie Eaglen describes the practical effect of impending budget cuts, and it’s not pretty:

    Several years ago, an Air Force F-15C literally broke in half during flight. Since then, two F-18s have caught fire aboard ships. Today, every single cruiser hull has cracks; A-10C Warthogs have fuselage cracks, and the UH-1N Twin Huey helicopter fleet is regularly grounded. Over half the Navy’s deployed aircraft are not ready for combat.

    In short, the military is facing a readiness crisis. Closing bases and cutting military spending further will only make the problem worse, and national security will suffer.

    Read more of Carafano’s op-ed, “America cannot afford a baseless national security strategy” at WashingtonExaminer.com.

    Posted in Ongoing Priorities [slideshow_deploy]

    17 Responses to Americans Don't Fear Defense Cuts? They're Wrong.

    1. Ben Polidore says:

      "Cutting back on bases, though, will undermine the United States’ status as a global power and its ability to execute missions overseas. "

      sounds good to me. i've had enough adventurism by this military.

    2. Travis says:

      How many more countries can we occupy and bomb? You're running out of real-estate Mike.

    3. Peter says:

      Provide for the Common Defense!

    4. George Colgrove, VA says:

      Every corresponding defense spending increase has an entitlement linked to it when the excessive budgets are written. Why do you thing defense is nearly always out the door first. If you want the increase in defense, then you have to also add some entitlement package. This has been the MO for the federal government since Reagan's military build-up. We are told it is compromize. Since the federal workforce took advantage of the 9/11 terror attacks durring the Bush administration you will find that every neccessary defense spending increase in the early years was coupled with increases to entitlements, education, transportation and so on.

      • George Colgrove, VA says:

        How 9/11 could justify massive increases in all non-security spending escapes me. Well, here is the problem the DoD pretty much wasted much of that money. With over $7 trillion spent on defense since 9/11, we have not really won any of the wars and we have not made any really good investments on our defenses – according to Heritage, we still need to modernize our military. Just to put this in perspective combat operations took only $1.5 trillion of that $7 trillion since 9/11. A trillion dollars could buy 200 air craft cariers like the USS Enterprise! We have been writing checks to defense contractors at increasing amounts since 9/11.

      • helen sabin says:

        And what are YOU doing about it? Have you voted out the slime in congress or the presidency? Or do you just opine on a blog like this one and allow it to happen?

    5. George Colgrove, VA says:

      Last couple years we were over $300 billion and this year it looks like we will be over $400 billion. It would be my estimate that we have paid defense contractors over $2.5 trillion since 9/11. The fact we are not modernized is not a funding problem it is a priority problem – one that Adm. Mike Mullen remarked on earlier this year.

      Why I am not afraid of defense budget reductions is because I feel there is a lot of fat that can come out of the department before our actual military is hit. And by that I mean neccessary soldiers and hardware. The only people who shoudl be fearful of a defense budget axing are stock holders of defense contractors, and corrupt fedeal workers and congress members – all of which are profiting off from the carnage caused by war.

      I am not opposed to fighting wars, but 10 years fighting poorly funded rag-tag groups with absolutely no progress? Come-on! Either let our soldiers fight this war to completion – which I feel they could have done well within a 100 days or let us get out.

    6. George Colgrove, VA says:

      The point with the layering effect of each defense budget increased being linked to a compromized non-defense increase is that to eliminate an entitlement will require a corresponding decrease to the defense budget. I truely beleive with tight oversight on the runaway DoD spending we can more than meet our current defense needs without all the bloat that can be found in the DoD. Ask any soldier! I suggest a budget that does not exceed $470 billion – which in 2011 dollars represents the largest defense budget between 1998 and 2001 when the country was paying off the national debt. I also recomend that the social insurances go back to the average of that time frame or $1.3 trillion – which represents a near 40% reduction – a much larger reduction. This approach is rational since it can be argued that durring that time the government worked within its means. Do not look for the economy to improve any time soon – plan for the worse. This means no more waste in teh DoD or elsewhere in the government.

    7. zbigniewmazurak says:

      RasmussenReports.com is strongly biased against defense spending, the military, and the DOD, so it's not surprising that it has published yet another garbage poll.

      Yet, according to a Gallup poll published just a few months ago, 57% of Americans oppose any defense spending cuts. In 2006, a similar percentage (58%) opposed them. So no, the American public *opposes* defense spending cuts.

      • George Colgrove, VA says:

        Rasmussen is somewhat conservative. They are also the most accurate for elections.

    8. John Doe says:

      We should keep over sea bases only if other countries that get this free defense start paying us for it, otherwise they are on their own. Fifty years of free defense from us has to stop.

      • George Colgrove, VA says:

        I agree with this so long as the base is not on a vital grid. I suspect many bases can be consolidated into vital bases on a grid that is definable based on speed of aircraft, ships, etc. One could say that 40% of our defenses are unfunded. As much as we can have pipe dreams that entitlements can be reduced to zero, it is likely that it wont. Heritage recognizes this with their Saving the American Dream plan. They also recognize that spending in the next 10 or more years will be partially unfunded as well.
        I do believe we can consolidate bases and through consolidation and proper allocation we can practically rid the DoD of all non-military spending.

    9. Ann says:

      If there are cuts to the Medicare Program then there should be big cuts in the military as well, and oh I almost forgot, we must roll back Bush's tax cuts. It's only fair.

    10. Jon says:

      For those who would cut our defense budget, try cutting your own throats! It's all the same thing! Only those who are prepared for war can live in peace! Get real, somebody just made off with over 60 nuke warheads in eourope. What do you think they are going to be used for July 4th?

    11. Bobbie says:

      There's a difference between a cut in defense and a cut in waste. No we don't want a cut in defense! Next time ask them WHAT AMERICANS? We'll get a picture of who the enemies within are.

    12. snoobies says:

      We would need build more ships and airplanes and places to store. Well this is a good thing no… we can provide jobs to build more ships, airplanes and places to store them.

    13. helen sabin says:

      Snoobies – what planes and ships are stored? Have you ever toured the bone yards at some bases? these are not the new planes that are in combat, these stored are the OLD Planes such as the B52 from the 50's. And even many of the planes built years ago such as the A-10 are still flying. Do you know of what you speak or are you just another ignorant, uneducated American spouting someone's talking points?

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