Top military brass slam Obama, Reid proposed budget cuts
By: Jim Kouri, CPP
“We are the only Army in the world, where if [a soldier] is asking for something, anything, he knows heâ€™s going to get it. And that is a level of trust we have with the soldiers of the United States Army. We just need to make sure, that whatever we do, we never take away his ability and his belief that if in combat, he asks for it, heâ€™s going to get it.â€ — General Peter Chiarelli- Vice Chief Of Staff, United States Army
According General Martin Dempsey, President Obamaâ€™s nominee to be the next Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, it would be “extraordinarily difficult and very high risk” to cut $800 billion from defense spending as is proposed by President Barack Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid as part of efforts to reduce the national debt.
General Dempsey accurately points out that “national security didn’t cause the debt crisis nor will it solve it.â€ Despite this fact, Senate Democrats and the President continue to insist on cutting defense to pay for deficit reduction anywhere from $400 billion to over $800 billion.
Truth be told, because entitlement spending has tripled while defense spending declined as a percentage of gross domestic product (GDP), entitlement spending (Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security) is now 10 percent of GDP, whereas defense spending is only 5 percent.
As documented in The Heritage Foundationâ€™s 2011 Budget Chart Book, even eliminating all defense spending would not solve the federal spending crisis. Since 1976, annual entitlement spending has exceeded defense spending, even with the cost of wars such as Iraq and Afghanistan.
While many local political leaders — governors, mayors, county executives and their staffs — believe it’s better to reduce the bloated military budget than cutting social programs, they forget the axiom,
“We must fight them over there, so we don’t have to fight them over here.”
Service Chiefs Wary of Deep Cuts
This sentiment was underscored by four senior military officers at a Readiness Subcommittee hearing on Wednesday where all four leaders told the subcommittee that they are â€œcurrently unable to meet all the needs of the militaryâ€™s regional combatant commanders,â€ according to the Hill. The Vice Chiefs and the Assistant Commandant all stated on the record that they could not withstand additional, significant defense cuts without fundamentally altering force structure and strategy.
They offered a chilling, but realistic view of their current readiness status and what might happen to U.S. national security strategy should cuts be enacted on this level.
United States Marine Corps, Assistant Commandant General Joseph Dunford:
â€œMarines and their gear at their home stations were in a â€˜degraded readiness state,â€™ thanks to their decade of war, meaning theyâ€™d be late to â€˜respond to unexpected crises.â€™
â€œDunford, told a House subcommittee that he had enough Marines to service the needs of CENTCOM (Central Command) but not the other commands. In other words, the Marines are stretched thin, a point that McKeon says applies to the entire military,â€ according to Fox News.
â€œThe Marines would face challenges in absorbing its share of a $400 billion cut. If cuts go beyond that, we would have to start making some fundamental changes in the nature of the Marine Corps,” Dunford said.
United States Navy, Vice Chief Admiral Jonathan Greenert:
â€œGreenert said the Navy needs more ships to meet demands of combatant commanders worldwide.â€
“The stress on the force is real,” Greenert said. “and it has been relentless.”
United States Air Force, Vice Chief General Philip Breedlove:
â€œAir Force Vice Chief Gen. Phillip Breedlove said defense cuts larger than $400 billion would force a â€˜fundamentalâ€™ change in how the service meets its part of the militaryâ€™s mission, and force it to reduce â€˜capacity,â€™ meaning equipment.â€
â€œSome portions of the Air Force are right at the ragged edge.”
United States Army, Vice Chief General Peter Chiarelli:
â€œThe Army is also stretched too thin, Chiarelli warned, and noted that the Army still hasnâ€™t met goals for dwell time at home for American troops.
Chiarelli, also said “Bigger reductions would require his service do a â€˜major reassessmentâ€™ of how it carries out its missions.â€
According to the Vice Chiefs and the Assistant Commandant, the logical conclusion is that drastic defense cuts will require a new national security approach.
The question is â€“ will we force our military to do more with less? The President has not made the distinction between cuts and military strategy, instead proposing defense cuts while expanding the militaryâ€™s mission (Libya, Japan, Haiti, fighting pirates off the coast of Africa) and expecting our troops to maintain their current duties.
If enacted, defense cuts discussed by the President and Senator Reid mean that our Armed Services will have to do a â€œmajor reassessmentâ€ of how they carry out their missions, as the Vice Chiefs and the Assistant Commandant acknowledged.The President should be frank with American people about the condition of our military and recognize the potentially disastrous consequences of his proposed cuts,” said Chiarelli.
Jim Kouri, CPP, formerly Fifth Vice-President, is currently a Board Member of the National Association of Chiefs of Police, an editor for ConservativeBase.com, and he’s a columnist for Examiner.com. In addition, he’s a blogger for the Cheyenne, Wyoming Fox News Radio affiliate KGAB (www.kgab.com). Kouri also serves as political advisor for Emmy and Golden Globe winning actor Michael Moriarty.
He’s former chief at a New York City housing project in Washington Heights nicknamed “Crack City” by reporters covering the drug war in the 1980s. In addition, he served as director of public safety at a New Jersey university and director of security for several major organizations. He’s also served on the National Drug Task Force and trained police and security officers throughout the country. Kouri writes for many police and security magazines including Chief of Police, Police Times, The Narc Officer and others. He’s a news writer and columnist for AmericanDaily.Com, MensNewsDaily.Com, MichNews.Com, and he’s syndicated by AXcessNews.Com. Kouri appears regularly as on-air commentator for over 100 TV and radio news and talk shows including Fox News Channel, Oprah, McLaughlin Report, CNN Headline News, MTV, etc.
To subscribe to Kouri’s newsletter write to COPmagazine@aol.com and write “Subscription” on the subject line.
Jim Kouri, CPP is currently fifth vice-president of the National Association of Chiefs of Police and he's a columnist for The Examiner (examiner.com) and New Media Alliance (thenma.org). In addition, he's a blogger for the Cheyenne, Wyoming Fox News Radio affiliate KGAB (www.kgab.com). Kouri also serves as political advisor for Emmy and Golden Globe winning actor Michael Moriarty. He's former chief at a New York City housing project in Washington Heights nicknamed "Crack City" by reporters covering the drug war in the 1980s. In addition, he served as director of public safety at a New Jersey university and director of security for several major organizations. He's also served on the National Drug Task Force and trained police and security officers throughout the country. Kouri writes for many police and security magazines including Chief of Police, Police Times, The Narc Officer and others. He's a news writer and columnist for AmericanDaily.Com, MensNewsDaily.Com, MichNews.Com, and he's syndicated by AXcessNews.Com. Kouri appears regularly as on-air commentator for over 100 TV and radio news and talk shows including Fox News Channel, Oprah, McLaughlin Report, CNN Headline News, MTV, etc. To subscribe to Kouri's newsletter write to COPmagazine@aol.com and write "Subscription" on the subject line.