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  • Paul Ryan’s Budget Proposal Makes Defense a Priority

    This morning at The Heritage Foundation, Representative Paul Ryan (R–WI), chairman of the House Budget Committee, sat down with Heritage’s David Addington, Michael Franc, and Stuart Butler to discuss his budget proposal The Path to Prosperity: Restoring America’s Promise and President Obama’s fiscal year (FY) 2013 budget. The importance of maintaining a strong national defense while confronting the nation’s spending crisis played a prominent part in Ryan’s remarks.

    In surveying the state of the U.S. military today and potential threats on the horizon, Ryan said that the President’s defense budget is inadequate. He said that strategic considerations should drive defense budget numbers, not the other way around. Unfortunately, the President’s defense budget, and the defense guidance that preceded it, were both budget-driven exercises.

    Ryan expressed concern over end-strength troop reductions, saying that the U.S. has a tendency to draw down its forces after every conflict, leaving the United States ill prepared and ultimately placing our people at risk. Moreover, after 10 years of war and major wear and tear on military equipment, the U.S. military is in dire shape and needs to be “reset.”

    Without the necessary reinvestment, Ryan said, the U.S. will not have the technological superiority and capability to compete against any potential adversary. “And other countries are catching up,” he said. “China is putting a lot of investment into their military.” Ryan’s message was simple: It’s time to repair the military, not cut another peace dividend.

    The U.S. dramatically reduced defense spending after the Cold War. Since then, the military has been living off the build-up under Ronald Reagan. Defense increases after 9/11 were largely spent on 10 years of operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, not modernization or recapitalizing forces (i.e., new planes, ships, or weapon systems). Rather than recapitalize the military, Obama’s budget sets the military on a path to going hollow.

    Ryan’s budget proposal is consistent with the principle that national defense is the federal government’s most important priority, whereas President Obama’s budget will make defense the lowest priority by later this decade.

    Ryan’s proposal restores roughly half the core defense funding cuts proposed by President Obama over a 10-year period. Importantly, it also puts off the most immediate budget threat to the nation’s security, which is the application of the Budget Control Act’s sequestration provision for defense, which would chop off around $55 billion from the defense budget in FY 2013 alone.

    The President’s own Secretary of Defense has stated that sequestration would be “catastrophic,” while General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has stated that the U.S. will “no longer be a global power” if the sequestration hammer falls. Ryan’s proposal offers a way to avoid this coming train wreck.

    Perhaps most significantly, Ryan’s proposal takes steps to address the most important long-term budget threat to the nation’s security: the explosive growth in entitlement spending and the dramatic increase in the debt and interest payments that go with it. In fact, by 2018, the U.S. will spend more on interest payments on the debt than on defense.

    Indeed, if entitlement reform is not undertaken, in just a few decades there won’t be any money left at all in the federal budget for defense. Entitlement programs must be urgently reformed to be affordable and provide seniors economic security in retirement, lest they crowd out such vital roles of the federal government. Chairman Ryan should be commended for taking this bold step.

    Ryan’s proposal puts defense funding on a different trajectory from the Obama budget. Rather than gutting defense, Ryan makes it a priority. While the Ryan budget does not fully ensure that the U.S. can meet all its traditional security commitments in the future, it puts preserving that posture within reach. It also sends the right message to America’s adversaries: We will not let the military become a hollow force.

    Posted in Security [slideshow_deploy]

    7 Responses to Paul Ryan’s Budget Proposal Makes Defense a Priority

    1. Patrick Carr says:

      "Hollow Force" LOL – What an immense pile of crap. So we need to cut all our other programs but keep feeding the defense beast? Let's see how many more bases do we need in more countries?

    2. Saltire says:

      At least someone it thinking about our national defense to bad his proposed budget will be DOA in the Senate when it hits Reid's desk.

    3. Tom says:

      Obama won't like this. Ron Paultards REALLY won't like this. And many in the Tea Party movement won't like this.

      I like this! It's still too little, but it's better than the alternative.

    4. American says:

      Ryan has guts. Americans hate facing reality.

    5. Andrew says:

      What a joke. Paul Ryan's budget will do nothing to reverse the trend towards a society of haves and have nots… but at least we'll have a massive army to fight Nazi Germany and the USSR!

      What's more important, investing in infrastructure and basic research which is critical to a modern economy… or in fighter jets to fight imaginary enemies?

      • Bobbie says:

        "haves and have nots" is what you make it, Andrew. Wake up and learn to walk on your own. The federal government isn't your nanny! Infrastructure already has investments (gas tax, car tabs, license fees, renewal fees, property tax, state tax, etc) and is in jeopardy ever since the feds involved themselves wasting and reallocating funds at their unconstitutional leisure, for crisis mode.

    6. Guest says:

      Why don't we support the DOD with all those tax cuts for the 1%!

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