Let’s Cut Defense Spending!

Let’s Cut Defense Spending!

© David Burton 2014

Handcuffing our military

     Often times during the past half century, the United States of America has been portrayed as the world’s big brother. Over that same span of time, the U.S. has tried to be a friend to those nations and peoples that are too weak to defend themselves, those who share many of our values of freedom, human dignity, and basic humanity, and those who have stood up to oppose the dark forces of intolerance, greed, and inhumanity.

     The kumbaya crowd in America has long been calling for a reduction in defense spending in this country. “Who needs a big military when the cold war is over?” they ask. “More money for social programs and less for defense” is another mantra.

     With a multitude of international crises triggered by Russia, China, Iran, Syria, North Korea, and the Islamic State, continued cuts to the nation's defense budget risk the gutting of our military and endangering our national security.

     For decades, the U. S. military has been receiving a shrinking percentage of America's annual budget. At the same time, our military has been tasked with evermore duties, such as delivering humanitrian supplies after natural disasters, helping to combat the Ebola outbreak in Africa and many more – tasks which were never contemplated by our military leaders in days gone by. The consequences of these facts are coming home to roost. The military is being stretched beyond its abilities to carry out its mission.

     “In fighter pilot parlance, a ‘square corner’ is an impossible tactical situation, a maneuver that is completely undoable. . .
     “A square corner is an apt description of the situation now facing the Defense Department. It has a strategy laid out in the 2014 Quadrennial Defense Review that could not possibly be executed with its current resources.” (Ref. 1)

     The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has concluded that “there is a gross mismatch between strategy and resources. . . . {and} As a result, we are left with a force that is less than combat ready, a disconnect between national defense objectives and inadequate budgets.
     “The {needed} capabilities far exceed budget resources. . .
     “The CBO paints a picture of an unsustainable, out-of-control budget process, unlikely to produce enough discretionary spending to support the defense needs of the country.” (Ref. 1)

     And still, we hear the cry “Let’s cut defense spending!”

     There are those that “insist that our military is already so much stronger than that of any other nation that we can safely cut it back, again and again. Their evidence: the relative size of our defense budget. But these comparisons are nearly meaningless: Russia and China don’t report their actual defense spending, they pay their servicemen a tiny fraction of what we pay ours and their cost to build military armament is also a fraction of ours. More relevant is the fact that Russia’s nuclear arsenal is significantly greater than our own and that, within six years, China will have more ships in its navy than we do. China already has more service members. [Emphasis mine] Further, our military is tasked with many more missions than those of other nations: preserving the freedom of the seas, the air and space; combating radical jihadists; and preserving order and stability around the world as well as defending the United States.
     “The most ludicrous excuse for shrinking our military derives from the president’s thinking: ‘Things are much less dangerous now than they were 20 years ago, 25 years ago or 30 years ago.’ The ‘safer world’ trial balloon has been punctured by recent events in Ukraine, Afghanistan, Libya, Egypt, Gaza, Nigeria, Somalia, Syria and Iraq. ‘Failures of imagination’ led to tragedy 13 years ago; today, no imagination is required to picture what would descend on the United States if we let down our guard."(Ref. 2)

     And still, we hear the cry “Let’s cut defense spending!”

The Reality of the Threat from Radical Islam

     “The United States military lays out a strategic plan every four years in the Quadrennial Defense Review. The latest QDR was shaped by the administration’s 2012 strategic guidance that called for a pivot, or rebalance, to Asia-Pacific and a gradual disengagement from the still volatile Middle East and South Asia.
      - - -
     “How quickly things can change.
     “Events in Africa – Morocco, Libya, Mali, Chad, Nigeria – and the Middle East – Iraq and Syria – have undercut many of the strategic assumptions. The reality on the ground has trumped the validity of declarations such as, ‘al-Qaida has been decimated,’ and ‘al-Qaida is on the run,’
     “The fact is that radical offshoots of al-Qaida, whatever one elects to call them, are on the rise.
      - - -
     “All this comes at a time of needed reset and modernization for U.S. forces. We have an Army that is downsizing from 570,000 to 450,000 troops, an Air Force postured to reduce force structure, unresolved force structure adjustments among active, reserve and National Guard forces and postponed modernization programs in the Army . . . and the Marine Corps." (Ref. 3)

     The emergence of ISIS as a growing threat to not just Iraq and Syria but to the entire world is a result of America’s withdrawal as a global leader against fundamentalist Islamic terror. “The Obama administration’s reluctance to get more involved in Syria contributed to the vacuum in which ISIS metastasized . . . and Western absence inside Syria has left Western governments with little insight into what foreign fighters are doing before and after they enter the country.” (Ref. 4)

     As one foreign policy expert noted, ‘We’ve done very little in Syria itself. We’ve left the playing field vacant with respect to the ability of these groups to operate with ease in Syria. It’s the Syria vacuum that has been the greatest draw for foreign fighters to fight on behalf of ISIS and has allowed them to adapt and continue to recruit.” (Ref. 4)

     As I have said repeatedly, Americans have a very short attention span and little to no patience. Our adversaries do not suffer from the same deficiencies. Our on-going war against Islamic terrorism will last for many generations to come. Radical Islam has been waging war against the non-Muslim world for some 1,400 years! Radical Islam has been targeting the United States for 4 decades!

     “The Taliban and al-Qaida still survive after 12 years of war. - - -
     “In Iraq, the Shiite-led government {was} firmly in charge and cozying up to Iran, while the Muslim Brotherhood {was} running Egypt. And in Libya, no one appears to be in control. - - -” (Ref. 5)

     Radical Islamic groups pose serious threats around the world. We need only look at the troubles in the Philippines, Indonesia, in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of China, the attacks and bombings by Muslims from the provinces of Chechnya and Dagestan in Russia, the Madrid, Spain attacks, numerous attacks by Muslims throughout Great Britain and mainland Europe, the explosion of Islamic radicalism in Sub-Saharan African countries such as Nigeria, Somalia, Eritrea and Kenya, the ongoing threat from Islamic extremists from countires like Yemen in the Arabian Peninsula, and let us not forget the attacks by radical Islamicists perpetrated here in the United states: the 9-11 attacks, the Boston Marathon bombing, the Ft. Hood Shootings and more.

     To put an end to the global jihad movement now threatening the entire world, the United States must first re-assume its world leadership role – We cannot “lead from behind!” The war on global jihad cannot be won by pin-prick air strikes. What is needed is an all-out effort against this burgeoning threat with the ultimate objective being complete and unconditional victory. Like cancer, no remnant of this radical Islamic peril can be allowed to persist and loom as a continuing threat to world peace and stability.

     “The only way the United States can stop the world threat posed by ISIS is to launch a full-fledged attack against the terror group in Iraq, former Navy SEAL and FBI special agent Jonathan Gilliam says.
     "’Here's how you fight a war. You go in and you decimate an enemy,’ Gilliam . . . said.
      - - -
     ‘This is a global movement and it's called the Caliphate and they believe that when they rid the world of over 51 percent of nonbelievers that their Caliph will come back; Mohammed was the first Caliph’ . . .
     "’So for anyone to think, especially anyone in a leadership position, that this fight wouldn't eventually come here . . . that's as dumb as occupying a base and not a country when you go in.’" (Ref. 6)

     If America is to re-assume the role of global leader, there must be a clear and unambiguous message from our leadership to that end. There can be no question about whether “the terrorists of the Islamic State {are} a ‘manageable problem’ or {instead} an evil that needs to be wiped off the face of the earth.
     “And if the president of the United States hasn’t made up his mind about that, can he just stop talking – and making a fool of himself and of this nation – until he does?
     “In the space of just a few minutes this week {the week of 1 September 2014} . . . he insisted ‘our objective is clear, and that is to degrade and destroy ISIL so that its no longer a threat just to Iraq but also the region and to the United States.’
     “Moments later he said, ‘We know that if [Emphasis mine] we are joined by the international community we can continue to shrink ISIL’s sphere of influence, its effectiveness, its financing, its military capabilities to the point where it is a manageable problem.’ [Emphasis mine]
      - - -
     “So this is the problem: The Islamic State is led by killers. They cannot be ‘managed.’ They can kill us or we can kill them. [Emphasis mine] The president, who has taken an oath to protect this nation, needs to figure out which it will be.” (Ref. 7) Do we kill them or do we let them kill us?

     The ambiguity in the president’s statements follows by a week or two the unbelievable declaration that the United States had no strategy to defeat the ISIS threat that had been developing in Syria and Iraq over recent years – clearly not the admission one wants to hear from a president of the United States of America and the supposed leader of the free world.

     Over the past several years, there has been “a shocking decline in America’s standing in the world. Everyone is mad at, or disappointed in, the United States.
      - - -
     “. . . Arabs and Israelis think {President Obama} is feckless . . . Europeans think he’s inscrutably unreliable. The famously pro-American foreign minister of Poland . . . says that under Obama ‘The Polish-American alliance is worthless, even harmful, as it gives a false sense of security.’ . . .
     “Two years after the Benghazi attack, Islamists are doing cannonballs in our embassy’s swimming pool in Libya. Just this week, ISIS beheaded a second American journalist. The Russian ‘reset’ was more like a starter’s pistol for Vladimir Putin’s race to reclaim lost Soviet territory. The Chinese are testing us more every day and the Iranians laugh at our resolve. The Taliban is simply running out the clock on America’s withdrawal before it takes over Afghanistan. . . . ” (Ref. 8)

     If we and the rest of the world are to combat ISIS and the other global jihadist threats to peace, the first step in the process must be the maintenance of a strong military to back up this position – continuing to cut defense spending and defense capabilities is not the way to proceed.

     Next, America must step up to the plate and resume its leadership position in the world. America needs to lead - indeed, we need not and should not assume the entire burden of the fight – but lead we must in this fight.

     Finally, we must ignore the mindless braying of those that continue to scream: Let's cut defense Spending!

The Threat from Russia

     U.S. Relations with Vladimir Putin and Russia are rapidly deteriorating in spite of our President’s offer to “be more flexible” in our dealings with that nation. The heavy-handed and agressive dealings with Ukraine are but the latest in Putin's attempts to re-establish the Russian empire of Josef Stalin.

     “. . . the United States now lacks assets on the ground to effectively challenge Russia’s incursions into the Ukraine. . . . Moscow wants back several parts of its lost empire and to challenge U.S. objectives in places like Syria and Iran. . . Unless American diplomacy is backed up by a credible U.S. military commitment, and an economy that can support it, Moscow . . . will succeed to the peril of U.S. interests and our allies . . .” (Ref. 9)

     Russian-U.S. cooperation has sunk to a dangerously low level. This has negative implications for U.S space operations and for national defense needs that require the use of surveillance and other satellites.

     “Russia has cast doubt on the long-term future of the International Space Station, a showcase of post-Cold War cooperation, as it retaliated on Tuesday against U.S. sanctions over Ukraine.
     “Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin said Moscow would reject a U.S. request to prolong the orbiting station's use beyond 2020. It will also bar Washington from using Russian-made rocket engines to launch military satellites.
     “Moscow took the action, which also included suspending operation of GPS satellite navigation system sites on its territory from June, in response to U.S. plans to deny export licences for high-technology items that could help the Russian military.
      - - -
     “Moscow's plan to part ways on a project which was supposed to end the 'space race' underlines how relations between the former Cold War rivals have deteriorated since Russia annexed Ukraine's Crimea region in March.
     “Since the end of the U.S. Space Shuttle project, Russian Soyuz spacecraft have been the only way astronauts can get to the space station, whose crews include mostly Americans and Russians, as well as visitors from other countries.
    - - -
     “Moscow's response would affect NK-33 and RD-180 engines which Russia supplies to the United States . . .
     “RD-180 engines are used to boost Atlas 5 rockets {that are used for} launching U.S. military satellites." (Ref. 10)

     At the same time, “Russia has overtaken the UK to become the third biggest spender on defense in 2013 . . . behind the US and China.
     “. . . The {Russian} national plan is to increase defense spending by more than 44 percent over the next three years . . .
     “Russia’s defense expenditure has more than doubled since 2007, and will be triple by 2016 . . . The share of military expenditure in the Russian budget will rise from 15.7 percent in 2013 to 20.6 percent in 2015.
     “. . . An increase in defence spending indicates such expenses are a priority for Russia, as it comes at a time when the economy is losing steam . . .” (Ref. 11)

     Clearly, the Russian government and its ambitious leader are determined to revitalize and upgrade their military. “Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Sunday that the time had come for his country to modernize and upgrade its nuclear and conventional arsenals. [Emphasis mine]” (Ref. 12)

     President Vladimir Putin has announced that “Russia is developing an array of new nuclear and conventional weapons to counter recent moves by the U.S. and NATO [Emphasis mine], but will carefully weigh the costs to avoid overburdening its economy.
       - - -
     “He said the weapons modernization program for 2016-2025 should focus on building a new array of offensive weapons [Emphasis mine] to provide a ‘guaranteed nuclear deterrent,’ re-arming strategic and long-range aviation, creating an aerospace defense system and developing high-precision conventional weapons.
      - - -
     "Russia-West relations have plunged to their lowest point since the Cold War times over the crisis in Ukraine. A NATO summit last week decided to create a rapid-reaction ‘spearhead’ force to protect Eastern Europe from Russian bullying.” (Ref. 13)

     And still, we hear the cry “Let’s cut defense spending!”

The Threats from China, North Korea, Iran and Others

     According to a Defense Department report, China shows growing capability to project military power beyond its shores. “In an annual report to Congress, the Pentagon said China is developing and testing new types of missiles, expanding the reach of its navy and upgrading its air force. China is also investing in military capabilities in cyberspace, space and electronic warfare.
      - - -
     “China has been engaged in territorial disputes with several of its neighbors, including U.S. allies Japan and the Philippines. China is currently locked in a tense, offshore standoff with Vietnam.
      - - -
     “China’s government in March {2014} announced a 12.2 percent increase in military spending . . . That followed last year’s 10.7 percent increase . . . , giving China the second-highest defense budget for any nation behind the U.S. . . .” (Ref. 14)

     “China has mounted several land grabs in Asia and is slowly building an enormous military capacity. . .” (Ref. 15) While China’s military is growing, America’s is shrinking. The focus of this growing military might appears to be primarily centered on countering U.S. influence in the region.

     In addition to the significant and growing military might of Russia and China, we are also faced with less than friendly nations like Iran and North Korea. Diplomacy with these countries has been spectacularly unproductive and the need to be militarily prepared to respond to aggressive actions by the unstable regimes that run these countries is essential - especially as they become nuclear powers.

     Iran is continuing on the road to produce weapons-grade uranium. Iran is one of the foremost, self-proclaimed enemies of the United States, the West and, arguably, the leading threat to stability in the Middle East.

     Iran also continues to develop its arsenal of long range missiles. It already has weapons capable of reaching Israel, parts of Eastern and Southern Europe, the Arabian peninsula, and American bases in the Middle East. Iran is continually boosting the accuracy and lethality of its existing missile systems and may be technically capable of flight-testing an intercontinental ballistic missile as early as 2015.

     North Korea's nuclear weapons and missile development programs march on and pose a serious threat to the United States and its allies in the Pacific region. North Korea continues with nuclear tests and the development of a road-mobile intercontinental ballistic missile. These programs demonstrate North Korea’s commitment to the development of a long-range missile technology that would pose a direct threat to the United States.

     And still, we hear the cry “Let’s cut defense spending!”

Who Will Defend the Defenseless?

"The Darkest places in hell are reserved for those who maintain their neutrality in times of moral crises."
         Dante’s Inferno

     For the past two or more years, Syria has been a growing humanitarian disaster and a spawning group for radical Islamic terror organizations. The United States has blustered, dithered and refused to back up its hollow threats, thus allowing Russia and its new Josef Stalin, Vladimir Putin, to assume a leadership role, while permitting ISIS and a reborn al Quaeda to become the major threats that they now are.

     “At least 191,369 people have been killed in Syria's conflict through April {2014}, more than double the figure documented a year ago and probably still an under-estimate, {a} United Nations human rights office said . . .
      - - -
     "The killers, destroyers and torturers in Syria have been empowered and emboldened by the international paralysis . . .
     "It is essential governments take serious measures to halt the fighting and deter the crimes, and above all stop fuelling this monumental, and wholly avoidable, human catastrophe . . .” (Ref. 16)

     The public assertion by President Obama's that "things are much less dangerous now", flies in the face of reality. Events such as those in the Ukraine, Afghanistan, Libya, Egypt, Gaza, Nigeria, Somalia, Syria and Iraq are increasing in frequency of occurrence and worsening in terms of their severity and brutality.

     Spending on entitlements and social programs is costing this country billions of dollars and is driving the call to reduce defense spending. We are faced with making some difficult choices - we can cut defense spending, cut entitlement spending, raise taxes, or some combination of these - but, we can no longer stand by and do nothing to address the problem. Unfortunately, politicians have chosen to slash defense expenditures, thereby emboldening our adversaries and endangering our security.

     Our elected officials must now face up to their responsibility and honor their constitutional pledge to protect the United States instead of taking the politically correct and coward’s way out by continuing to emasculate our military.

     The history of the past hundred years or more has clearly shown us that tyrants and evil-doers ultimately feast on those who would attempt to appease them.

     America’s precipitous pull-out of its troops from Iraq in 2011 has allowed al-Qaida to bounce back and ISIS to emerge as a major threat to the world. The United States defeated al-Qaida in Iraq under the surge strategy directed by Gen. Petraeus. The problems in Iraq today are the result of U.S. policy implemented over the last 2 to 3 years, after the urge.

     By our retreat from Iraq, we created a vacuum which has allowed al-Qaida to regain strength and, ISIS to come to the forefront, which now poses a threat to the Middle Eastern nations and to the West.

     The U.S has failed to lead, as it once did. While many countries might be willing to join with the United States to defeat ISIS, they won’t without American leadership.

     The inescapable truth is that America must be a leader in today’s world. No other nation, and certainly not the United Nations, is either capable of performing this role or has the ethical and moral qualifications to do so. We may not want this responsibility, but this is a burden that we must bear, both in our own national interest and in the interest of global humanity. As Mitt Romney stated, “if America does not lead, others will - others who do not share our interests and our values - and the world will grow darker, for our friends and for us.” (Ref. 24) This responsibility shapes a major portion of America’s foreign policy. And, our ability to implement this foreign policy is all too often dependent upon the strength, vitality and preparedness of America’s military and the infrastructure that supports it. America's national defense and its foreign policy are firmly locked together. Defense and foreign policy must be cooperative efforts.

     Unfortunately, it appears that “The U.S. has set aside the doctrine of ‘peace through strength,’ relying instead on hope and multilateralism.” (Ref. 17) Such a policy can only create a worsened environment and reinforce our enemies’ belief that the U.S. lacks the will to resist them. Our friends and allies no longer have faith in our willingness to come their aid when it is needed. “Russia has reabsorbed Crimea and may control parts of eastern Ukraine, scaring other neighbors. A tape recording recently caught the foreign minister of Poland – the U.S.’ best friend in eastern Europe – telling a former finance minister over dinner that ties with the U.S. are worthless.” [Emphasis mine] (Ref. 17) Echoing this sentiment, Senatorial candidate, Scott Brown said, “Our allies don’t trust us. Our foes don’t fear or respect us. We’re in trouble.” (Ref. 18) Meanwhile in the Far East, “The Obama Administration is hoping that conflicts in Asia can resolve themselves through discourse and negotiation” (Ref. 17), a policy that failed miserably in Munich eight decades ago. What we are witnessing today is a “West that is being led by the modern equivalents of {Neville} Chamberlain.” (Ref. 19)

          If we accept the moral imperative that the United States is obligated to help defend the defenseless of the world against the jihadist murderers and rapists, we can only do this if we have a strong military and we possess the willingness to employ the military to accomplish this objective. For America’s military is to be able to perform this task, it must receive the financial resources to pay for the needed equipment, manpower, and training.

     And still, we hear the cry “Let’s cut defense spending!”

Social Overspending Threatens Our National Security

     Some of our Washington politicians think that they can run the American economy better than the free market. In their hubris, they are blind to the lessons of history. Their egotism has gotten in the way of their common sense and intelligence. Their attempts at molding our social governmental and economic systems are failing miserably.

     “. . . The United States unfortunately finds itself unable to govern affairs effectively. Washington cannot control its finances and balance its budget. . .
        - - -
     “- - - trillion-dollar deficits can’t continue indefinitely. It is also a fact that the nation has spent too much, promised too much and borrowed too much. - - - {So,} how do we fund increasingly expensive government programs, keep faith with all promises and underwrite U.S. security and worldwide commitments? The answer is that we cannot do it all.” (Ref. 5)

     In truth, our social governmental and economic systems affect the national security of the United States and the security of billions of people throughout the world.

     Some of our heads-in-the clouds politicians and some non-thinking citizens, particularly the liberal elite and the ivory-tower academics, would like to strip the military of its capability in order to divert military funding to America’s social entitlement programs. In truth, these same people would just as soon see the military eliminated and have the U.S. retreat into the Fortress America mentality that followed World War I. Their position is: the hell with the rest of the world; never mind that there are bad people out there with the capacity to inflict much pain on our nation; never mind that America’s economy in the twenty first century is global.

     The cries to cut military spending come “at a time when the burdens on our military are at a high point and equipment inventories across the services are old and tired.
     “Some will say this is OK after a decade of soaring spending. But some of the same politicians who are comfortable cutting military budgets are the same ones who are quick to commit the military to the next crisis, which is sure to come. All this in a time of great turmoil from the Middle East to the Far East, as North Korea remains a significant problem.
     “With political uncertainty both at home and abroad, and with the United States unable to conduct normal budget operations, one could be forgiven for wondering where the train is heading and whether there is an engineer in the cab.” (Ref. 5)

     “In fiscal year 2013, the federal government spent $3.5 trillion, amounting to 21 percent of the nation’s Gross Domestic Product, or the total value of goods and services that a country produces in a year. Of that $3.5 trillion, nearly $2.8 trillion was financed by federal revenues. The remaining amount ($680 billion) was financed by borrowing; this deficit will ultimately be paid for by future taxpayers. . . .
     “. . . In 2013, 19 percent of the budget . . . paid for defense and security-related international activities. . . .
     “. . . Another 24 percent of the budget . . paid for Social Security . . .
      - - -
     “About 12 percent of the federal budget in 2013 . . . supported programs that provide aid (other than health insurance or Social Security benefits) to individuals and families facing hardship. . . .
      - - -
     “. . . In 2013, . . . interest payments claimed . . . about 6 percent of the budget.
     “. . . the remaining fifth of federal spending goes to support a wide variety of other public services. These include providing health care and other benefits to veterans and retirement benefits to retired federal employees, assuring safe food and drugs, protecting the environment, and investing in education, scientific and medical research, and basic infrastructure such as roads, bridges, and airports. A very small slice — about 1 percent of the total budget — goes to non-security programs that operate internationally, including programs that provide humanitarian aid.” (Ref. 20)

     Note that a full 58% of the federal budget now goes to social programs and debt service, i.e., Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, Children’s Health Insurance Program, safety net programs, and interest on the debt.

     “Focusing just on the post-World War II period, U.S. national defense spending as a percent of GDP has ranged from a high of 15 percent in 1952 (during the Korean War) to a low of 3.7 percent in 2000 (the period of relative tranquility preceding the terrorist attacks of the following year).
     “In the post-Cold War world, the U.S. national defense budget has fluctuated within a relatively narrow band. It fell by about three percentage points of GDP as the nation reaped the peace dividend of the 1990s, then rose after the terrorist attacks of 2001.
     “President Barack Obama's budget proposes cutting security spending to 2.3% of GDP in 2024. This would represent the lowest allocation of GDP to defense spending in the post-World War II era. [Emphasis mine]” (Ref. 21)

     Defense spending as a percentage of GDP has dropped from about 16% in 1948 to about 4.5% in 2013, a 72% reduction. More recently this decline in defense spending as a percentage of GDP is from 7.5% in 1988 to 4.5% or a 40% reduction.

     Shown below are graphs of U. S. defense spending as a percentage of the US. Gross Domestic Product from 1948 to 2012 and from 1988 to 2012. Take note of the steady decline of defense spending as a percentage of GDP with time over the past 6 plus decades. Also note that only 19% percent of the U. S. budget in 2013 went to defense and defense related spending while 58% went to entitlement programs.

                    Defense Spending - 1948 to 2012

                    Defense Spending - 1988 to 2012

                    2013 U.S. Federal Budget

     “In the end, U.S. presidents can’t continue . . . sacrificing military spending to increase entitlements popular with voters without forcing us all to live in a much more dangerous world.” (Ref. 9)

     And still, we hear the cry “Let’s cut defense spending!”

The State of Our Military

     In October of 2012, I wrote that: (Ref. 22) “Today, we have ‘a military inventory largely composed of weapons designed forty to fifty years ago. The average age of our tanker aircraft is 47 years, of strategic bombers 34 years. While the weapons in our arsenal remain formidable, they are well along on the path to obsolescence. Along with the aging process, there has been a precipitous decline in sheer numbers. The U.S. Navy has only 284 ships today, on track to hit the lowest level since 1916. [Emphasis mine] Given current trends, the number will decline {further.} . . . Our naval planners indicate we need 328 ships to fulfill the Navy’s role of global presence and power projection in defense of American security. Our Air Force, which had 82 fighter squadrons at the end of the Cold War, has been reduced to 39 today." [Emphasis mine] (Ref. 23)

     “The implications of the current and projected status of our military was addressed in the ‘conclusions from the bipartisan Perry-Hadley Commission set up by Congress last year {2011}. Even before Congress . . . adopted its latest round of cuts and even before President Obama . . . proposed yet deeper cuts, the Commission warned that: [t]he aging of the inventories and equipment used by the services, the decline in the size of the Navy, escalating personnel entitlements, overhead and procurement costs, and the growing stress on the force means that a train wreck is coming in the areas of personnel, acquisition, and force structure. There is a price to strength, but a greater price to weakness, because weakness tempts aggression.’” [Emphasis mine] (Ref. 24)

     While we face a mounting number of crises throughout the world that require more and more military responses, “The Army is drawing up plans for how it would operate with nearly 100,000 fewer troops. . . The Army is already on a path to shrink from 513,000 active-duty soldiers to 490,000 by 2015, and 450,000 by 2017. But unless Congress repeals the spending limits set by law through 2021, the Army would have to downsize further, to 420,000 by 2019. . . it is in the Army’s nature to never say ‘no’ when asked to do something, but the budget crunch is pushing the service to a point when it will have to.” (Ref. 25) A reduction from 513,000 troops to 420,000 amounts to a staggering 20% decrease in the size of the Army.

     The Air Force faces the same dilemma. “The Air Force’s $137 billion budget proposal for fiscal year 2015 is $20 billion smaller than it was three years ago. . . Under the current budget plan, the Air Force will become substantially smaller, from a current size of 330,000 to 307,000 airmen within five years.” (Ref. 26)

     “{Today} the Army is on track to be the size it was in 1940, the Navy to be the size it was in 1917, the Air Force to be smaller than in 1947 and our nuclear arsenal to be no larger than it was under President Harry S. Truman.” [Emphasis mine] (Ref. 2)

     And still, we hear the cry “Let’s cut defense spending!”

What We Need to Do

     “Fundamentalist Islamic terrorism will not go away. It will persist well beyond my lifetime. The war on this evil must continue for decades until this unholy attempt at world conquest is totally defeated. Our national security system must continue to defend America and our military must take the war to those Islamic jihadists who would destroy everything America and the free world stand for. Along with a strong military and a vibrant defense industry, we need a foreign policy that makes effective used of these essential resources.
      - - -
     “We need a well-equipped, fully-staffed military that is able to remain at a constant state of readiness. On December 6, 1941, we had an ill-equipped, understaffed military and a nation focused solely or the Great Depression. On December 8, 1941, we had a nation reeling from the effects of an ill-equipped, understaffed military that had long been ignored by the American public and the politicians in Washington. On December 7, 1941, that all changed! Nearly instantaneously, America successfully geared up for war. But, the price paid for our inattention to national defense was enormous in terms of life and money – paid in part by the U.S., but mostly by the nations and peoples of Europe and Asia.
      - - -
     “If only wishful thinking and hopes for the future would replace reality. Billions for Defense but not one cent to acquiesce to terrorism should replace the phrase “Millions for defense but not one cent for tribute.” Let us not forget the pledge we made on September 12, 2001, We Will Never Forget! Our Islamist enemies will not forget and will not simply go away.” (Ref. 22)

     And still, we hear the cry “Let’s cut defense spending!”


  1. Defense Strategy in a Square Corner, Lawrence P. Farrell Jr., National Defense, Page 6, September 2014.
  2. Mitt Romney: The need for a mighty U.S. military, Mitt Romney, Washington Post, 4 September 2014.
  3. What a Difference World Events Make, Lawrence P. Farrell Jr., National Defense, Page 6, July 2014.
  4. Foley Abduction Linked to British Jihadi Kidnapping Ring, Josh Rogin and Eli Lake, The Daily Beast,
    20 August 2014.
  5. In the Grips of Crises Abroad and at Home, Lawrence P. Farrell, Jr., National Defense, Page 4, April 2013.
  6. Ex-Navy SEAL: US Must Annihilate ISIS, Bill Hoffmann, NEWSMAX, 18 Aug 2014.
  7. Killers can’t be ‘managed, Editorial, Boston Herald, Page 14, 5 September 2014.
  8. Prez’s foreign policy falls apart, Jonah Goldberg, Boston Herald, Page 15, 5 September 2014.
  9. Obama foreign policy lacks courage, Peter Morici, Boston Herald, Page 15, 30 May 2014.
  10. Russia Targets Space Station Project In Retaliation For U.S. Sanctions, Alissa de Carbonnel, The Huffington Post; http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/05/13/russia-space-station_n_5318226.html?utm_hp_ref=mostpopular, 13 May 2014.
  11. Russia surpasses UK as third biggest defense spender – report, RT Question More; http://rt.com/business/russia-increases-military-spendings-702/ , 5 February 2014.
  12. Russia: It's time to upgrade our nuclear weapons, i24news, 28 September 2014.
  13. Putin: Russia to focus on new offensive weapons, Vlaimir Isachenkov, AOL, 10 September 2014.
  14. Pentagon reports show China’s military strength is growing, Associated Press, PBS Newshour, 5 June 2014.
  15. Lessons of the Islamic Onslaught, Editorial, The Jewish Press, Page 7, 29 August 2014.
  16. UN: Death toll from Syrian civil war tops 191,000, Stephanie Bebehay, Reuters, 22 August 2014.
  17. Peace Through Weakness; The U.S. and Japan Sputter, David Malpass, Forbes, Page 28, 21 July 2014.
  18. In N.H., McCain backs Brown with prez slams, Prisca PointdujourBoston Herald, Page 11, 19 August 2014.
  19. Is Vladimir Putin Another Adolph Hitler?, Paul Johnson, Forbes, Page 34, 5 May 2014.
  20. Policy Basics: Where Do Our Federal Tax Dollars Go?, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities,
    31 March 2014.
  21. Trends in U.S. Military Spending, Dinah Walker, Council on Foreign Relations, 15 July 2014.
  22. National Defense, David Burton, Son of Eliyahu, Article 145; Gov’t_34, 18 October 2012.
  23. National Defense, http://www.mittromney.com/issues/national-defense, Accessed 9 October 2012.
  24. Full Transcript/Video of Mitt Romney’s Foreign Policy Speech at the VMI, The Daily Beast: www.thedailybeast.com, 8 October 2012.
  25. Army Preparing for Steep Drawdown, Losing Patience With Congress, National Defense, Page 10,
    September 2014.
  26. Facing Tough Times, Air Force Unveils Blueprint for Change, National Defense, Page 11, September 2014.

  10 October 2014 {Article 203; Whatever_37}    
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