• The Heritage Network
    • Resize:
    • A
    • A
    • A
  • Donate
  • Morning Bell: A Slashed and Burned Military

    The future is not bright for the U.S. military. Yesterday, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta gave America a glimpse of the half-trillion dollars in defense spending cuts requested by the Obama Administration and detailed how the U.S. military’s capabilities would be affected in practical terms. The result is a slashed and burned military that woefully lacks the forces it needs to meet America’s security challenges on a global scale.

    On the ground, in the sea, and in the air, American forces will shrink drastically — the Army will shrink by 72,000 people, the active Marine Corps will be reduced by 20,000, the Air Force will see six tactical fighter squadrons de-established while an additional training fighter squadron will be eliminated, the next-generation F-35 Joint Strike Fighter procurement will be slowed, and the Navy will retire seven cruisers and two amphibious ships at an early juncture while delaying the procurements of new ships. To put these cuts in context, we are returning to ground forces levels we had under President Bill Clinton when the Army strained and scrambled to execute smaller missions like Kosovo and Bosnia–let alone significant ground force operations.

    In order to compensate for the drastically reduced military capabilities, the Administration plans to increase reliance on unmanned drones and special-operations teams based around the globe. But special operations are a scalpel, not a Swiss army knife. They are not an “easy-button” substitute for the many security missions the United States undertakes worldwide. And they rely on a strong backbone of conventional forces in order to succeed. The U.S. Navy’s presence was essential in Somalia during the recent hostage rescue, as was the Air Force’s support in the first phase of Afghanistan and the Army’s muscle during the surge in Iraq. Special forces without robust conventional forces is like a wide receiver without a quarterback and a line.

    In a new paper, The Heritage Foundation’s Baker Spring, the F. M. Kirby Research Fellow in National Security Policy in the Douglas and Sarah Allison Center for Foreign Policy Studies, explains that the U.S. military is in danger of becoming the broken force it was in the Carter era:

    As was the case following the Vietnam War in the 1970s, defense budget reductions of the scope previewed by Panetta generally lead to reduced combat readiness and, ultimately, a hollow force. This is because a force that is too small has to endure higher operating tempos and rotation cycles. It also results in a reduction in the technological edge that permits the U.S. military to achieve victory on the battlefield quickly and with fewer casualties. Finally, it becomes more difficult to man the force with high-quality personnel and maintain high morale.

    Unfortunately, these cuts are just the beginning. Under the Budget Control Act that Congress passed last summer, the military will face automatic budget cuts amounting to as much as $600 billion in addition to those that Panetta laid out yesterday. As Spring explains, the only way to avoid these automatic cuts is for the Budget Control Act to be amended or repealed — a measure that President Obama has said he would veto.

    All of this comes despite the fact that spending on national defense — a core constitutional function of government — has declined significantly over time, despite wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Spending on the three major entitlementsSocial Security, Medicare, and Medicaid–has more than tripled. And while Washington attempts to cut spending, it is the military that is taking the brunt of it: For every dollar the President hopes to save in domestic programs, he plans on saving $128 in defense.

    This leaves America in a precarious position. Fewer troops in all the services will be scrambling in a global shell game to mask the fact that the United States can’t defend all of its interests. The force will be even more stressed than at the height of Iraq and Afghanistan. By cutting the defense budget, the United States is undermining the responsiveness of its defense industrial base. In addition, without proper investments, the United States will lose technological advantages vis-a-vis its future strategic competitors.

    Meanwhile, America’s enemies are watching. They can count our troops, our planes, and our ships. They can look on as America’s military retreats and loses its ability to project forces around the world. And they will quickly realize that the United States will not be able to cover its responsibilities worldwide. That is an invitation for the sort of security threats America cannot afford — and they are threats that America may not be able to respond to with its stripped-down military.

    Quick Hits:

    Posted in Security [slideshow_deploy]

    106 Responses to Morning Bell: A Slashed and Burned Military

    1. KC-NM says:

      The reduction in our military is a huge mistake in today's world. But as Obama made this evident in the union adress, he is out of touch – again! We all seem to agree that Obama must be defeated this year, however the real issue besides this article on the military is the self destruction of the republican candidates and party.
      Watching last night's circus debate only shows that the republicans are falling prey to the media. What would be important to discuss would have been Obama's union speech – what was good, bad, and how the candidate would improve or provide a better direction. At this point, there is not a canditate who can beat Obama in our socialistic country. We need real leadership and real vision. Who cares about which candidate has a trust fund or money! What these candidates can really do for America is missing! Look out – Obama's coming with his smooth talking ways and handouts and a billion dollars – the republicans are loosing!

      • Dave says:

        Very well said KC-NM …the candidates allowed Wolfe Blitzer to push them back into a corner and they should have pushed back instead of succumbing to the pressure to continue the bloodletting (not that either of the front runners needed much encouragement). The press has to be jubilant, as are the Paul-bots and Obama and crew. The destruction of the party is being done by cannibalism.

      • Michael Schultz says:

        Wev'e been here before. Those who forget their history are bound to repeat it.

      • Clearhead says:

        Mostly well said KC, but you left out Rick Santorum, (as did Wolf Blitzer half the time). Intelligent, articulate, American through and through — without a doubt. Electable? Oh, don't I wish !!

      • vanny says:

        We are not the worlds police force. We spent 800 billion+ $ on Iraq over 10 years and thousands of our young people are maimed and disabled from it. We did not accomplish a thing – the Iraqi's are still killing each other in big numbers. Let the people fight their own wars. Cut the military/defence departments back to reasonanable and useful levels. Korea and Vietnam are also examples of our involvements in other peoples business. North Korea is still communist and so is Vietnam.

      • George Washington says:

        Guess rogue nations having nukes doesn't bother ya,eh?

    2. Nancy says:

      Does the president really have the authority to make these decisions? I thought it was Congress who allocated funds. Can't this be stopped?

    3. DefIndEmp says:

      The Defense Industry in the United States employs millions of Americans. The American Economy can ill afford yet another blow of this magnitude.

    4. Mickie says:

      Please stop referring to Social Security and Medicare as 'entitlements'. 'Entitlements' are something received for nothing given. WE PAY for Social Security and Medicare … it is not FREE to those of us who have, and continue to, contribute to these programs for decades. Congress is to blame, along with other ills awash in our country, for their unpaid I.O.U. Let's put the blame where it is, and keep the pressure on. Should the Republicans gain control of the Senate and retain control of the House I fear nothing will be done to turn the country around. As 'ol George Wallace said: 'there's not a dime's worth of difference between the Republicans and Democrats.' This has played out publicly the last two years, and beyond.

      • Frank says:

        They are entitlements, because the first people to receive them never paid into them and benefits paid out nowadays are paid through the general fund because everything paid into them have already been spent by out thieving Congress & President. It winds up basically being a Ponzi scheme with new pay-outs being taken from fewer & fewer younger workers who have little chance of ever collecting similar benefits when they get of age to collect. The American electorate KNEW of these problems, yet repeatedly ignored it & kept re-electing the same thieves back into office.

      • Hopeful says:

        Mickie, you are looking to the government to provide for you. You are destined to be dismally, if not fatally, disappointed. Rely only on your own resources and you can be sure of your welfare. Does the government immorally, though legally, confiscate the fruit of your labor? Yes! Lets get together and address the real social and legal disorder. We are in the disorder that our society is corrupted by government intrusion into our lives such that we are crumbling morally as well as economically. We are all guilty and we are all responsible to correct the situation. With Patriot Love. Ursula

      • Doug Nicholson says:

        I, too, disagree with the term "entitlements" as applied to S.S. & Medicare because not only did we pay into them…we had no choice in the matter. I think that every politician who ever voted to raid the funds originally allocated for these programs should be JAILED!

      • Bob S. in NC says:

        If we stand to get more out of a program than we paid into it, we're really getting something for nothing, aren't we? Which means we bought into the lie, the Ponzi scheme, that we'd be able to play the game of fiscal musical chairs without any risk of landing on our butts. Mickie, I didn't think this through either, at first, but now I realize we bought into a false future vision that could never, will never, work.

        • Steve S. says:

          What about interest? There's the real issue. Out of trust, into the General fund, and walla! the interest that really should have and could have paid for this was stolen by our elected officials, not to mention the principal. Ponzi scheme my butt. It is wholesale roberry of the paying citizens of this nation (generations of them). And now they want to "bvorrow" our 401K money. Just can't resist the golden egg. And here we sit. Throw all the bums out!

      • pcj says:

        It's both an earned benefit and an entitlement: it just depends whether you paid into it or not. If you never paid into it, its an "entitlement" , if you paid into it all your working life, you EARNED it. Unfortunately there are too many on the entitlement list demanding their goodies and according to the current administration, if you apply for it, you should get it.

    5. This what happens when you have a Commander-in-Chief who has no military experience. Most of his proposals have nothing to do with security for our country but to buy votes in an attempt to get re-elected. Let us send him back to Chicago where he can return to being a street organizer.

      • KHM says:

        Derrill Crosby said yesterday that we have a commander-in-chief with no military experience. Unfortuately most of our recent presidents have not had that either, What is worse is that Obama, just like Clinton, actively dislikes the military. Every thing he has done, including making Panetta Secretary of Defense, is to weaken the military. Panetta has a history of statements against the US military. You notice how Code Pink which were so vocal against Bush's wars, yet are silent when O gets us into war actions in Libya, Uganda etc. without Congress's approval ?
        These actions by this administration make our country very vulnerable as the article points out. We will be in a similar position to that prior to WWII. Even worse, O wants to give China and Russia military technology despite laws against that.

    6. Spiritof76 says:

      I support reducing our military footprint around the world. We are broke and we have had enough of our nation-building. I want the US to start withdrawing from Europe and Asia (Japan and S.Korea). Let those countries spend their own resources to protect themselves. I understand that Heritage is molded in the theory of Roosevelt(Teddy) empirical reach of the US.

      • Raymond Layland says:

        You are so correct. Hopefully you will support Ron Paul, who has a consistent record of reducing our bases and number of troops in Asia and Europe. Teddy Roosevelt had the right idea "walk softly but carry a big stick."

        • Tom says:

          "[S]pecial operations are a scalpel, not a Swiss army knife. They are not an “easy-button” substitute for the many security missions the United States undertakes worldwide. And they rely on a strong backbone of conventional forces in order to succeed."

          A Paul supporter told me how he believes Ron Paul as President would rely on covert ops to deal with problems. It would be okay with libertarianism, he said, because they would be secret and not linked to America. (Yes, he said that.) Of course, the whole idea won't work, both for the reason the article notes and because with so many ops going on, they would eventually be discovered, discrediting the country and the administration. When I pointed this out to the fellow, he seemed genuinely happy at the prospect. I guess he was so accustomed to following Ron Paul's example of being happy with American military and foreign policy failures–since it's not really "America" that failed, but actually "ZOG"–that he didn't realize he was being happy about Ron Paul failing!

        • Barbara says:

          And just what do you think the "big stick" is? It is a well-prepared military. The best offense is a great defense. I thought Ronald Reagan proved this to be true. Were you paying any attention?

      • Richard Rhodes says:

        Another moron on the loose. I have no idea where people like you come from.

    7. Pat Finch says:

      I am entitled to SS because I have paid it in all my working life. If the Government hadn't stole it it would be there now. Quit saying it is an entitlement it is due me. Welfare is an entitlement it's money given to people to sit on their ass and do nothing. The government or crooks in government are the problem. The demorcraps always cut the military first always have and always will. We lost the war in Viet Nam because the demos quit funding the Vietnamese, they left them to die in other words the same thing they are doing to Ira and Afg. We need the military for security something these people in washington think we don't need . They think our enemies are going to give them a chance because they have money I beg to differ when the time comes they are just as dead as we are

      • Bob says:

        That is correct you paid into the system, but depending on how long you have been collecting those funds you may have exceeded what you paid. If that is the case you have become an entitlement.

        • Jeanne Stotler says:

          Back in the '70's an Ins. Man sat down with my husband and myself and showed IF SS had been handled as intended, most of retirees would live off Int. and never tough principle. When FDR started Soc. SEcurity, people paid in several years before benefits started, the money was suppose to be invested in US treasury Bonds, LBJ came along and saw all this money sitting there and decided to use it in Gen. Funds and substitute IOU's, If anyone else managed funds like this they would be in Jail, SO YES the Gov't. owes us, retirees deserve better.

          • Frank says:

            I basically agree with you, but it would be best to eliminate Social Security & Medicare from the Federal Government. Our Founding Fathers would not have wanted such Federal Governments & such things are not clearly relegated to the federal Government in the Constitution. Monies paid in should be refunded, with interest & let the States decide if they want to continue them or something like them. I'd suggest the States privatize them or make them optional or both.

    8. David Darnall says:

      All very true. You miss one point. The number of military personnel and their families directly affected is a small fraction of those who suckle at the big government teet of entitlement programs and contribute little or nothing. We had to see it coming.

    9. Janie Shimer says:

      How can they have a Budget Control Act, when there is no current budget?

    10. Chuck says:

      What will really hurt the U.S. military and the tax payer will be the cost of rebuilding
      our forces. I feel it will be more expensive to rebuild than it would be to maintain our current levels.
      Another problem is how it will affect our over all readiness to respond quickly anywhere we're needed.
      In 359 days hopefully we can reverse this "political" decision by this dangerous administration.

      • Raymond Layland says:

        Chuck……Can we not just analyse the defense budget and remove programs that are not necessary. The F-35 development project is designed to build a fighter that we don't need. Our F-16 and F-18 fighters are far superior to anything anybody else has. We need to eliminate or delay procurement of weapons systems that are incredibly expensive and cut our deficit.

        To those who think SS and Medicare are entitlements, just decline those programs. There are many of us who paid for and expect those programs to be there. We had no choice. The government stole from our paychecks and did not allow us the option of saving and investing for our senior years. The "know it alls" in Washington are trying to do it again with Obamacare. This craziness has to stop.

      • ThomNJ says:

        You are correct. As a parallel, in business it always costs more to RE-CLAIM a customer than to keep one or in recovering from massive layoffs.

    11. Joe O Ping says:

      Did we not learn from the 90 s?

    12. Tony says:

      This article is right on point. We must, must, must cut spending. But not on our national defense. We must take meaningful steps cut entitlement expenses. Extend the retirement age by 2 years. Use a means test for both social security and medicare. Allow people under age 30 to have the option of saving for retirement individually or through social security.

    13. Larry555 says:

      This all makes sense let's cut our military to the point that we will be taking a knife to a gun fight. I may be dumb but I am not so stupid that I can't see where we are headed both militarily and as a nation. It's a crying shame that we have such idiots in Washington.This may sound crazy and far fetched but if we cut back our military so far as to have another Pearl Harbor ,then we as a nation will no longer exist.We can only hope and pray that doesn't happen.

    14. Mary......WI says:

      I don't know about anyone else but I feel this country is so vulnerable with all these military budget cuts. Indeed our enemies are watching and no doubt planning! The priority of our government is to protect and defend the American people against our enemies. And since the "capture" of that drone in Iran our enemies now know all about its functioning capabilities. Perhaps Obama should reconsider as the White House is most assuredly a BIG TARGET for our enemies.

    15. LoriCarlson says:

      Also at stake, the addition of tens of thousands of our Veterans into an already under-employed workforce. How will these brave patriots support their families after being uncerimoniously dumped into unemployment? What about the greater effect on local economies of military towns? BRAC base closures will result in many foreclosures and short sales. As a Real Estate Broker in Tidewater, I have seen first hand the heartbreaking effects these types of cuts will continue to have on our Veterans and our region.

    16. Pat says:

      This down sizing of the military along with so much of Obama's Presidential moves are to "bring down our United States"!! When is Congress and the American people going to wake up to this fact and STOP him.

    17. D Wilson says:

      We can only hope that the next NEW president will take this situation and turn it around as Regan did after the incredible mess Jimmy Carter made of our military. This is an absolute embarrassment to our nation and to the world that this administration has done this to our military. The military should never even be included when budget cuts are being considered. This nation has always needed and will continue to need a strong and powerful military. Not only for our nations defense but for the defense of our allies as well.

    18. Jeanne Stotler says:

      Anothe 200,000 headed for the unemployment roles, a weaker nation because of cut in manpower, and less chance of some very needy young men and women to get an education. I don't see one advantage in this, as an Army Brat I have always heard that a country is a strong as it's military, Why is POTUS trying so hard to weaken us on all fronts.

    19. FriendForLife says:

      Oh, give it up. Our military will never be second to any and is still in need of as much oversight and regulation, if not more, as any other agency of federal government or corporation. When we have over 700 military bases all over the world, WE ALL KNOW there is going to be waste that can be eliminated. When we have a Congress that fights the military highest levels, tooth and nail for funding weapons, planes and engines the military says in NO uncertain terms that they no longer need or want, WE KNOW there is waste in this budget area that MUST be address as in any other. When millions of tax dollars are uncovered in payoffs to military contractors by 'leaks' of suitcases of cash delivered in Iraq and Afghanistan, WE KNOW there is more protection needed for expenditure assurances. When we have 'distinguished' visitors or 'observers' as in Congressional reps. to military installations and those officers in charge know their budgets might be cut if the 'observers' are not sufficiently impressed by the 'firepower' they can demonstrate, the waste in 'exhibiting' that firepower is a regular phenomenon according to veterans who repeatedly witnessed such waste. The military knows the incredible reliance on fossil fuels and their amazing amount of consumption of oil products cannot last. They are fully on board with looking at alternative energy uses which can save millions of tax dollars, if not billions. So, stop your constant searches for something to complain about that has no basis for believability by any rational beings.

    20. DocJohnM says:

      "King Obama the Arrogant" has set us up for world wide strikes we can't defend. I was in the Navy during the Carter administration. I remember how close to the bone we were. This is a huge mistake, taking away air superiority and huge losses of men and women in the field. It also opens Pandora's Box in our own country making us rife for attack.

    21. ROSE says:


    22. jonib says:

      Wrong in so many ways! All I can say is WATCH OUT FOR CHINA!!!

    23. Frank says:

      It sounds as though Heritage still buys into the idea that the USA needs to maintain 800+ bases in over 120+ nations around the world & for us to remain the world's policeman. That is unwise & unaffordable. With the collapse of the USSR & the end of the Cold War, a military spread out on such a scale is ludicrous on the face of it. We do not want more undeclared, Unconstitutional wars (or "kinetic military actions") by an imperial President. If the President cannot get a Constitutional Declaration of War by Congress, it should not be fought. If action is needed against a group of terrorists, Letters of Marque can be issued by Congress and
      mercenaries sent out for their targeted elimination, as foreseen by our Founding Fathers. By returning the troops home, closing foreign bases & ending our self imposed role of the world's policeman, we can cut the military budget, modernize it & keep it well trained for less money & be more secure.

      Then we need to dramatically also cut back on our out-of-control welfare state, which is also bankrupting us. Only Ron Paul is willing to end our welfare/warfare state which is leading us fast towards bankruptcy by cutting $1 trillion the first year, balancing the budget in 3 years & bringing our troops home. That's why he gets more support from military personnel than all the other candidates put together & why the Power Elite & political establishment can't stand him. They want a One World Order & One World Currency at the expense of our Constitution & US Dollar.

    24. Tom Howe says:

      Why not cut both the Military and all of Federal Government the same – at the same time.

      If the Military can adjust to a 10% cut in personnel – then all of Federal Government should be able to adjust to a 10% cut in personnel.

    25. Benton H Marder says:

      We all need to face up to reality. We borrow up to 40% of what the federal government spends. We simply cannot afford our military or our social welfare. Because we owe so much to foreign creditors, our foreign policy is somewhat constricted. Our foreign creditors have interests of their own, which don't always agree with ours. We have got to get our fiscal/financial house in order before they foreclose and evict. Congress and the Administration have no intention of doing what needs to be done. Also, to keep on subject, it is very likely that cuts in our defence capability expences will simply be spent elsewhere. The deficits and the Debt will not be reduced. The stone wall is getting cloer PDQ.

      • ThomNJ says:

        The military is most assuredly not the problem. The social welfare of Medicare and Social Security are the problem – that coupled with the Congress having spent all that SS money in the first place over many years when it should never have been touched. A lot of today's deficit is a direct result of Congress' lying cheating ways.

    26. Joy Anderson says:

      The president intends to slash any military whose purpose is overseas but I bet you will see him 'offer' civilian contractor positions to those who are laid off. He is trying to build his national army for issues he is anticipating will arise here and he needs trained personnel. Are ya feeling controlled yet? Think "De-facto Dictator Of The United States Of America" can do it by Nov.? I do.

    27. Greg Godek Army vet says:

      Rumor had it that while they wasted enormous amounts of money and resources, during a very serious recession, celebrating the election of the first Afro-American president, it was alleged that Mr. Obama skipped the Medal of Honor Recipients Ball!
      Secondly, showing an acute lack of ability to be decisive, Mr. Obama took close to three months to make a reluctant decision to approve the troop surge in Afghanistan that proved to be the right tactical move to achieve success! Mr. Obama was in the way of our commanders' successful strategies.
      Lastly, when the remains of a SEAL team and the helicopter crew that was killed along with them, arrived in the United States, at a military base, Mr. Obama chose to disrespect the private wishes of 19 of the families of those dead troops by allowing a photographer to shoot a picture of Mr. Obama saluting at the site. Those 19 families had specifically requested that no photographs be taken, a right that Mr. Obama chose to disregard in hopes of a photo op! This was disgraceful.
      That is how this writer views the last two Democrat "commanders-in-chief. Disgusting!

    28. Grenadier says:

      Remember the Secretary of Defense being mocked for stating the U.S. goes to war with the military it has – not the one we wish we had? That was about lack armored vehicles for use in Iraq around 2004. Would anyone like to guess how left-wing politicians and media will react when the balloon goes up next time? I suspect all will be "shocked" to discover manpower, ships and aircraft are not instantly available. Critics will fight for "best" 30 second sound bite criticizing the military for its lack of capability. As one elected official once said, in effect, it will be like "shooting fish in a barrel."

    29. JOHN PAUL JONES says:

      FDR did this to support his scocial programs in the 1930s. US was not ready for WW2 and it took a few years to bring the military up to preparedness. We will not have years the next time it is necessary. Many died unnessarily then and will again.

    30. azwayne says:

      EVERYTHING we get about Defense budget and spending is LIES and PROPAGANDA. 1/4 of budget has to do with soldiers, their housing, their pensions, the va, who benefits from the other 3/4 ??? Check your congressmans portfolios.

    31. Herbster says:

      1st Corinthians, 14:8 states: "For if the trumpet makes an uncertain sound, who will prepare for battle?" Is the current occupant of the White House our "Uncertain sounding trumpet?" Unfortunately, the Republican leadership is absent on this move to weaken our military. Term limits, anyone? The current White House occupant and his minions continue to denigrate and weaken our country – their prime objective. Should there be a second term, we will not recognize our country, nor the world after these people see their one world plan head towards success. Soros, Zbig, Clinton and company are willing partners in this travesty. Israel will be sold down the river, Central and South America will continue its march towards what I call islamo-communism, Europe will continue to fall off the cliff of their own creation, etc.

      I quote Gen. Heinz Guderian: "The future will surely triumph over the perpetual yesterday." Let us hope there is a bright future – a future of REAL change to strengthen our country, not weaken it. Pray for our nation.

    32. LFMORGAN says:


    33. azwayne says:

      Many need to do more research, your defense budget went from $370 billion in 2000 to $820 billion in 2012, can you show rationale?? Can you see what you got??? Are you aware while in middle east for 10 years your defense budget paid $5 per gallon to haliburton for fuel, while locals in Iraq go the the corner for 25 cents per gallon, make sense, know how many schools teachers courses your defense budget funds bought and paid for in middle east, missed pallets of CASH disappearing, you're worried about budget cuts, the congressmens economy will disappear. It's shown $16 BILLION given to unresponsible contractors to find tools to find bombs, after $16 billion the BEST tool is a bomb sniffing dog, You're worried about cuts????

    34. James Smith says:

      Why do we keep being surprised at Obama's actions? His goal from day one has been to destroy the U.S. economy, devastate the image of the U.S. in the eyes of the world, reduce the strength of the U.S. so that we can no longer be considered a superpower, and establish the charred remains as a willing partner in a World Government. Obama's "Mein Kampf" is the combination of Saul Alinsky, Cloward & Piven, and the communist manifesto, which combine to lay out the course he is following. He has never had an original thought, something of which he is utterly incapable of achieving. And his Propaganda Ministry (otherwise known as the Main Stream Media) continues blindly to assure his success by feeding those who will vote for him exactly what they want to hear.

    35. MoralClarity says:

      Even though I have reservations about the President's judgement in this area, the forces need to be reduced. Forces have just finished 2 wars; a large military is not needed unless you believe in our "aggressive foreign policy". I do not. The US is feared, not respected, regarding current policy.

    36. Anne Rogers says:

      As I listened to the proposed military cuts; I wondered what other agencies are being cut? Is the Military just the easiest one to cut? And lets cut all goverment agencies equally as President Obama likes to say, let's all be equal and fair.

    37. Gwen says:

      This is just another step in O's plan to decimate America to where the Muslims can swoop in and take over, as they have in England and other Nations. They ar a spreading cancer, a blight on the earth. I wi8ll never understand WHY our Congress has not put a stop to this tyranny!! True, it seems impossible, we have never been in this predicament before. But, Congress is paid to protect and defend our Constitution, not bend to the will of a treasonous President whose major aim is the destruction of the USA as we have known it.

    38. Dr. Pete Kleff says:

      After the Vietnan fiasco, we drew down troop strength and equipment upkeep and purchases. The disengenuous referred to this as the "peace dividend". Beginning under Pres. Nixon (R), it was accelerated under Pres. Carter (D). We paid for that nonsense later. It's the same old song. Not until Pres. Reagan (R) did we regain the military capacity to meet our national and international obligations.

      But unlike the administrations of Nixon and particularly Carter when naievete ruled supreme, it is clear that Messr. Obama intends to withdraw the U.S. from its international obligations, and thereby its national obligations. His anti-military prejudice and callous disregard and contempt for the role the U.S. plays internationally makes one wonder why it took him so long to begin dismantling the American military.

      Again we will pay for this deliberate disarming of America, no doubt dearly. And this may well happen in the near term. As a retired officer, my only comment is: God help us.

      • Scott says:

        "Obligations"? Are you joking? We are obligated to defend our country, our sovereignty and our people. That's it. Obligated to militarize the entire world, conduct unconstitutional military operations, fight wars without end, station troops in all corners of the earth, feed war profiteers and bankrupt our country? Absolutely not. Pick up a history book Dr.

    39. Chucke says:

      Thanks BHO, you finely showed your true colors. You absolutely hate the military. What are you going to use to protect our country? Your welfare recipients. Tell the Marines and Air Force personnel that protect and serve you, without question.

    40. jlb says:

      The House was in the budget deal and they care no more than Obama. The budget is their primary responsibility and they have given Obama an open checkbook. with additional power to affect the military The House is controlled by Republicans and they have deceived us. The 9 percent that approve of Congress are dupes and the 91 percent have perceived them as corrupt .

    41. gordon connor- says:

      we cannot continue to borrow money topolice the world-we need to cut the rest of the govt by 10-20% as well and get our house in order

    42. Dinah L. says:

      @Benton H. Marder
      I understand your statement that we cannot afford our military, but the reality is we cannot afford to be without it. The money to support it will have to come from somewhere. If we don't have a strong defense–especially now–it won't matter about anything else. We will be toast, so to speak. In response to a comment in the article: we won't really be going back to the Carter era strength. Our military is volunteer; if longer and/or more frequent deployments become the norm, the volunteers will disappear. And, as had been said ad nauseum, the primary responsibility of the federal government is defense. There are always places where money can be saved, but don't go at the defense budget with a sledge hammer.

    43. Bobbie says:

      let's take a thought here. This will surely increase unemployment. Obama said he was doing it to put more boots on the border for security? This isn't being done for OUR security! They'll be boots alright, but they'll be the boots in the neighborhoods! He's setting America up for Martial law!

    44. Scott says:

      This sort of disproportionate and nonsensical article causes me to question the intellect and motives of the HF. You insult the intelligence of your readers. Sadly, based on the comments on this post, most of your readers don't even realize how badly hoodwinked they are by your big government, liberal (yes, liberal) propaganda. Guess you have long since forgotten that Russell Kirk used to write for your organization, once upon a time. You should be embarrassed.

    45. Bob Koons says:

      I think we should have an oversight committee to evaluate all the military installations around the world as to their necessity for our national security, then closing those that don't qualify.

      I also suspect there is a lot of wste and corruption in military procurement.

    46. How soon we forget. Clinton goal was quick reaction units
      Rumsfeld goal was cut to 1 million in small reaction units
      Pre 9-11

      We are a victim of killing industrial combine.Fraud is unreal.
      An honest supplier is hard to find.
      We can learn from Andy Pasztor "When The Pentagon Was For Sale" awesome details of fraud convictions. GE has been fined more by its govt than any nation on earth. Fraud on military contracts.

      We must stop being dumb to enrich the rich. Rome-Spain-Holland-England and we are on exact trend line to End of our empire. World wide over-extension on Debt. When you are 5% of world's population and number one expense is killing machines it is dooms day ahead says Jesus Christ Of Nazareth
      He told me so.

    47. Spyderman says:

      We never seem to learn from history. We cut the military after WWI and had to play catch-up when we entered WWII. It was the same thing after WWII. The military was cut, and we almost faced annihilation in Korea due to the lack of troops and modern military equipment during the initial stages of the "police action."

      An effective military means that a certain minimum level of defense mechanisms must be maintained—especially today, where there are a number of bully-despots who would love to take over our country and countries of our allies by military force. It is utopian and foolish to think otherwise.

    48. toledofan says:

      The article articulates the reason why the Democrats can't be trusted with managing the military, the economy or our countries security. Proportionally all spending should be shared across all government departments and spending reduced rather than continuing the shell game of moving the money from one place to another. That's the problem with this administrations approach, they are managing the game and the money and are making a lot of bad decisions. I mean, lets face it, does Obama really care about the military or less spending; he hasn't had a budget in over 1000 days.

    49. Joel Babb says:

      This is stupid well see what a great idea this is when we have another attack on America and we don't have the money or equipment to defend our country

    50. Attila says:

      Since defense is clearly a Constitutionally authorized responsibility and "domestic programs" for the most part are not, it should be $128 in domestic cuts for every dollar of defense cuts.

    51. richard p says:

      I'd like for Heritage to take a more balanced approach to military spending in light of the many civili wars that we've engaged in since WW II. I'm not in favor of the drastic cut backs being suggested by the Obama Administration but neither am I in favor of sending our young people into Civil Wars across the seas. As President Reagan promulgated we need a strong defense system so that the world knows they cannot encroach our borders without significant retaliation from USA. Hopefully, we'll never enter into another 'no win' war by limiting our troops from being able to cross an arbitrary boundary in pursuit of the enemy. Barry Goldwater had it right and the Liberals of the Day had it wrong.

    52. B R Lowe says:

      I believe as Ron Paul does that we need to bring our soldiers home to protect our boarders and stop policing other nations. We had the right to build our own government and nation. I feel that other people should have that right as well. We must use what resources we have to protect the boarders of our nation. We are already being threatened by China. It is obvious that Pres. Obama has only our demise in mind. He needs to be put out of his position. Our Congress has so much power given to them by the Constitution to right many of our problems . A few of our Congressmen are working towards that end and I have to give them credit but they can not do what they must without working as one united body.

    53. Jeff H says:

      Whether it sounds realistic or not, I'd like to see ALL of the reductions in spending by reducing the size of the Federal government and regulatory agencies. The main purpose of our Federal gov't is to the defend us, not regulate us to death. Cut the EPA in 1/2 or more. Simplify the tax code and cut the IRS. Slash the FDA. Slash the FAA. Trim up welfare programs. Leave our military alone. There's SOOO much fat to trim elsewhere, over regulation is preventing an increase in productivity, revenue, and freedom.

    54. Mare says:

      This wouldn't have happened if my father and brothers were still alive. They were educated, not brain-washed. We still have a few generations to go before we have an educated citizenry again. We still haven't faced that as a nation. We are on a slippery slope. And we seem to be enthralled by the excitement of the downfall. It is time to be angry. It is a time to wake up. It is time for the children to return to having a childhood and for parents to grow up.

    55. Richard says:

      I have a better idea, instead of slashing the military, erase all 77 welfare programs, all the czars and the following cabinet departments: the EPA, EDU, HUD, Homeland (in)Security, LBR, AGR, COM, INT, DOE, HHS and DOT.
      (non)Justice, (over populated)State, Defense, VA and Treasury are enough. The states can take care of the rest.
      Then elimate foreign aid and leave the useless and corrupt UN.

    56. Richard says:

      Iraq was a intentional "mistake" by GW to avenge the planned hit on his Dad. And nation building and planting democracy was an even bigger and costly "mistake."
      Afghanistan could have been delt with by air power to take out the Taliban and alQueda training camps. Boots were wasted. And again, planting democracy in a sixth century nation was a fools errand.
      I'd put the world on notice: You mess with our interests….and you will be nuked toast. As the only hyper-super power in the world, why play nice? Let's instill some fear, it's the best motivator out there, it beats sex, money and drugs.

    57. Bill says:

      This budget control legislation is the direct FAULT of GOP's Mitch McConnell who crafted this compromise with Obama and Reid to put forward the now failed debt commission.

    58. Joseph Violette says:

      How foolish can we get? Do we plan a "Love-in" with those whose primarily goal is to kill us?

    59. Willy says:

      We can't seem to learn from history. The U.S. dawdled as WWl broke, because we lacked military capability. After the military was abandoned again, so as WWll comenced we had no weapons or trained troups adequate to defend our borders, let alone as a deterant or assist to others, so it took Pearl Harbor, then years more before we could develop weapons and troops at great waste, while others died to be able to respond, again, procrastination wasted time, treasure and talent.

      After WWll we did it agian, then we failed to be ready for Korea, and let too much politics and media force us to fight in Vietnam with our hands tied behind our back and we lost, abandoned and murdered Vietnamese.

      I fear that with today's weapons, the next wars will be within our borders and we will lack the ability to both preserve and protect this great experiement, as well as the space to bury our dead.

      Congress, the American people, need to read, learn from history, recognize the world we live in and act responsiblity, or our children and grandchildren will not be Americans as we know it.

      We must maintain a strong military as the only basis for peace.

    60. Blair Franconia, NH says:

      Let's get our budget balanced by cutting $10 trillion dollars from the budget and make sure that's a start.

    61. Heather Laws says:

      Once again Obama amazes me with his lack of understanding of the Constitution. The main purpose of the Federal Government is to protect our country! I can't wait to see him leave office. He is methodically destroying everything good about our country.

    62. Ron W. Smith says:

      The United States' "responsibilities" worldwide that Mike Brownfield points out are responsibilities we've chosen to have. We've not universally been charged with them, we've not been dragged kicking and screaming to them, and we've certainly not been anything but willing, for the reward for power has been been huge incentive.
      The taking on of those responsibilities is a relic of the good old days, however, a carryover from flush times following WWII. These times are lean, and try as writers like Mike Brownstein do to pin the reason for lean on other areas than our extravagance on National Security, the facts are clear. We're 15 trillion in debt and, thanks to continued foreign policy decisions made as though we're in flush times, headed further in the hole. Our National Security spending annually tops $1 trillion, and just about ALL of the national debt is traceable to post-9/11 spending on National Defense, Homeland Security, Foreign Aid Designed to Gain the Cooperation of Other Countries, Nation Building, and the oft-overlooked Veterans Affairs. These five, interlocking and fiscally related in cause-effect fashion, are driving us to national insolvency. If it is true that "entitlements" spending needs real attention, and I agree it does, it is truer that squandering treasure and blood on foreign adventures is the MAIN culprit in our budgetary woes.
      The dream of empire, cloaked in the sheep's clothing of American hegemony, has been amply exposed by writers like Andrew Bacevich (Washington Rules: America's Path to Permanent War). The bogeyman of America declining in its ability to defend itself works only with those in need of more information. It's time for some people, perhaps Mike Brownstein included, to read more broadly and talk less until they do.

    63. mikestjames says:

      In WWII, thousands of troops were commanded by a single General officer. Today, we seem to need a General for every three or four hundred troops. Why? Generals need entourages, aircraft, aides, drivers, secretaries and other support staff. Why do we need so many? And why, when we reduce military manpower, do we retain most of the already bloated and excessive command structure and their civilian counterparts? Downsizing military forces is not the problem. It's fine as a concept. As usual, everything depends on execution. As usual, government can be counted upon to do it badly. When you have a toolbox full of hammers, everything starts to look like a nail. That sounds trite, but it's so true. Rapid deployment forces sit there begging to be deployed rapidly. Special Forces units must always be on the alert for something "special" to attend to. We're talking here about scaling back military spending to levels that we got by with just fine in either 2005 or 2007, depending upon which source you want to believe. We're not talking about slashing and burning the meat from the bone. We can't afford to prowl the globe looking for trouble anymore. We can't afford (blood OR treasure) to fight lengthy wars to liberate countries that, when we leave, look pretty much like they looked before we arrived, and whose citizens hate us even more virulently than before we came to kill the worst of them. Besides, why feed our finest, strongest young men and women into such thankless meat-grinders? Where's the morality in that? Where's the ROI? Along with maintaining a smaller, leaner military, we need to divorce ourselves from the modern idea that we can have "wars of liberation" where no one gets hurt and good triumphs over evil. As in the old days, we should go to war only in defense of Americans and American interests, and we should go to kill, maim and destroy until our enemy is prostrate and begging for mercy. In WWII we firebombed Dresden to fine ash. We made nuclear wasteland of major Japanese cities. Today, the Japanese and the Germans are our civilized and trusted allies, and we move to disgrace and imprison our fine combat soldiers for urinating on their dead enemies. We pin medals on these men and women for blowing the brains out of our enemies, but we are willing to tolerate civilian and military commanders who want to ruin their entire lives for dampening the corpses. Tell me how that makes sense.

    64. Obama is just channeling his inner Carter

    65. Kirby says:

      Obama is not "out of touch". This is all part of the communist manifesto game book to destroy a capitalist nation. As for the returning "unemployed servicemen", there is most likely a plan for that, too. When Obama takes total control, he will need a "private" security force. What better pool to draw from that of hundreds of thousands of disgruntled unemployed veterans?

      In order to change forming dictatorship that is going splendidly according to plan, we need to change the staggering ignorance of an American population of whom over %40 still support Obama. That means we have to get off our sports saturated self-indulged butts and risk social ostracism by informing the stupidly self-involved.

      Oh, horrors!! Give up my weekends on the golf course and in front of the boob tube worshipping a bunch of over paid neanderthals chase a ball around some emporium – ?!

      If we want a solution, it begins with US!!

    66. Kirby says:

      Part of getting our "fiscal/financial house in order would be going after Red China for the over one trillion dollars they owe us in bonds they sold us many years ago and have refused to pay back.

    67. Kirby says:

      Another part of "fiscal" responsibilty would be to pay the seniors of this nation back the money both of our political parties have raped and pillaged to the tune of over 2 trillion dollars taken out of once was once a PRIVATE fund – Social Security. This is a fact!

      Social Security was set up as a private fund paid into by seniors from a life time of their pay checks. It was supposed to be watched over by the government, but Lyndon Baines Johnson and Mr. Dole both Democrats took it out of that setting and put it right into the United States general fund where it has been pillaged ever since, again, to the tune of over two trillion dollars. That was plenty to take care of ALL retirng Americans.

      Call all of our journalists, politicians, and other assorted punits to task on the damned lie that Social Security is a socialist welfare program. IT IS NOT!!

    68. Robert II in NC says:

      "Slashed and Burned"? Really? To return to what we were spending in the early part of this decade is a disaster? Not likely. Defense most certainly can be cut, a lot, and it must be, if the country has a chance at fiscal and societal survival. But defense cuts alone are not the solution and this is where the writer does make a good point – the cuts are not proportionate between the social side and the defense side. Social spending must also be cut at the same time. But, easing into a solution and phasing things to lay the first burden on the military (which, as I said, should be cut) is easier because it will cause squealing from a small constituency. Wrong approach. Vets and the defense industry will squawk that the process is unfair and the country is at risk. The process is probably unfair if it remains disproportionate, true, but the cuts can be made at little risk. After 30+ years in and around the military I've seen the waste – and it makes me sick. The claim that the country would be at serious risk is phony belly aching and for show to keep the money flowing into corporate coffers; those who do that are below contempt. Anyone who says the defense budget can't be cut by $500 billion doesn't know what they are talking about. Yet, the only real solution is to cut the entire government budget, everything together at once in a balanced approach. That would result in a stronger but smaller government and a safer country on solid financial footing. But no politician will do that – it will cost them their jobs. So, either we as a country have a collective flash of insight in the very near future and acquire the guts to bite the bullet and the wisdom to select good leaders who will make the necessary tough course correction changes or we stumble along a while longer, fall and collapse.

    69. Bob in Seoul says:

      the primary function of the armed forces is to deter warfare, and only when they fail in that mission should they engage the enemy and kill them. Deterence relies on perceptions of our mililtary strength and our willingness to use it; these cuts will have a dramatic impact on our enemies' perceptions and tempt them to test our resolve.

    70. Glenn Bergen says:

      Having participated in the Carter "hollow Military", as an Army Reservist, and having served on active duty during the Vietnam War; we could be headed for a real disaster. In the haste to transform the military into a "peacetime" force they threw out most of their experience. I joined the Reserves, and it was painful to see active duty Army personnel pull a rock over their head to make up for the inexperience. The attitude was, "we're Active duty, and you're just Reservists". Yet, if you were attending a class at Fort Huachuca, and the instructor queried the class with a question; " Who has served in Vietnam or SE Asia?" It was the Reservse/ Nation Guard that raised their hands. My hope is, that the Reserve/ National Guard retirement is increased to compensate the member's losses to their civilian pension contributions. Maybe a military 401 K plan is needed.

    71. joebagadonuts says:

      A dirty little secret that most don't realize is the simple fact that military retirees are funded out of the DOD budget, as opposed to all other Federal retirees. Both our retired pay and any health care not paid by Social Security (as is the case with military retirees over 65) comes from the same budget as equipment and active duty personnel costs. Given a choice between readiness and retirement, which one do you think is going to get cut?

      So after serving honorably the retirees get to see their future put on the chopping block while the rest of the Federal retiree force, including such honorable and noble people like, oh say Chris Dodd, just keep, keeping on!

    72. Wayne Peterkin says:

      A good article, but this should come as no surprise to anyone. The current administration is and has been hostile to the military in general. There is no question that Obama is seeking to weaken our national security as he also seeks to redistribute wealth while pursuing his Cloward and Pivens economic theory. It is all part of Obama's "fundamental transformation" of America to fit his vision, and that vision is not one that is shared by most Americans. To those trying to justify the spending cuts, and major cuts are needed, I only respond by stating that our national security is the first priority of the federal government, so cuts must be made very carefully and minimally to our defense.

    73. A. Womack says:

      Obama and his crew has but one agenda weaken and wreck the US in anyway possible. He doesn't like this country and what it stands for. And where are they planning on putting all this "saved" money. Not on the debt but to help fund his pet projects like ObamaCare. Oh and by the way this will put 80,000 more people out scrounging for jobs that are not there. Better to keep them doing the wonderful job they're doing in keeping this country and others safe. There are other places that the budget can be cut and not be missed. Also to bring more money into the treasury they might look to see who in Washington is not paying taxes. Lots of bigwigs but of course they won't since it will step on the toes of their friends and associates.

    74. ThomNJ says:

      Panetta was put in place just for this reason – though he warns here and there that the cuts can hurt – it is a smokescreen – he has a record of hating the military and wanting it gutted. This is the fox in the henhouse.

      "Finally, it becomes more difficult to man the force with high-quality personnel and maintain high morale." This is another point – while obama seems to think that special operations forces will be untouched, that is decidedly not true. The special forces teams in our military are the cream of the crop, and if you shrink the pool from which they are drawn, you invariably shrink their numbers or to keep them up, you have to lower the entry standards. He doesn't just misunderstand how the military works, he seems to think that he can just will things to happen the way he wants them.

      We absolutely have to get rid of the socialists who are destroying our land.

    75. Dot Pate says:

      This is wrong on so many levels and to call it "out of touch" is to act like this is a description of a naive president and congress that fell into a hole. THIS IS BEING DONE ON PURPOSE! If not for the vision of our Forefathers it would have already happened. They have been chipping away at the Constitution for a hundred years now.

    76. HappiHenri says:

      While I normally agree with most of Heritage political views this one on military downsizing is where we differ. One reality present in most other countries is that their militaries have been downsizing for years due to economics or the fact that if they are a US ally – why do they need to spend a lot on their own military when the US will protect them?
      Also – the role of of militaries, and how wars are fought has changed from mass conflicts – requiring brute force solutions (such as battle ships) to localized conflicts with small groups of fighters, where intelligence and target specific solutions (such as drones) are more effective. Seems that we need a smaller, more intelligent military rather than our huge, bureaucratic machine we now have.
      Look at the 9/11 WTC attacks. We could have had a military 10 times current size, or costing us 100 times what we now spend – and it would have made NO diference to the outcome. Our largest fault then was an intelligence failure coupled with a lack of government internal coordination. Those are the areas which need addressing – not maintaining debt spending on a largely outmoded miltary machine.

    77. HappiHenri says:

      What can we really afford? As others have pointed out one of the greatest threats to the US and our way of life is our huge government debt. That could brings us down without any enemy having to fire a shot. We need to cut spending, and make sure that what spending we do utilize if focused, needed, effective and efficient. Our huge military is an extremely costly bureaucracy to maintain, and cutting back on its spending iin order to help make it more efficient, less bureaucratic and help reduce the deficit will only make the US stronger, not weaker.

    78. onlytnt says:

      Its a very dangerious world. If anything we need to keep our military very strong or were going to be in for a night mare………….

    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.