Military Downsizing = National Security Danger

The Democrats and the Obama Administration have decided to fund their domestic programs at the expense of America’s national security. The U.S. Army will be shrunk to its smallest force since before World War II, and the Marines will be reduced by manpower of about 8% by 2016. The entire fleet of Air Force A-10 jets will be eliminated. The Navy’s eleven aircraft carriers will have to reduce its operating status and the USS George Washington will be retired in 2016. Experts interviewed believe these reductions will impose a greater risk for the armed forces and a greater risk for America’s national security. 

The new philosophy of protecting the U.S. emphasizes technology replacing the human component. Medal of Honor recipient retired Colonel Jack Jacobs believes this outlook will cause major problems in the future and sees this administration not having the political will to use manpower. “There is irony here and I believe the White House would roll over if they read this. But it is true; they are the natural descendants of Donald Rumsfeld’s way of thinking.  He knew we did not have the political will to commit the right number of soldiers to do the job in Iraq so he decided to use machines instead. We did take Baghdad easily, but could not control anything because there were not enough people. This administration and the current military establishment are the intellectual children and think exactly like Rumsfeld, which is to take the easy way out.”

Jacobs further warns the need to remember the cardinal axiom on fighting military wars, ‘no matter the size of the war it always takes more resources to hold on to the objective.’  The danger to U.S. national security might not be now but will become obvious in five to seven years, since the administration’s way of thinking reduces flexibility and options. 

Retired Major Pete Hegseth, former Army counterinsurgency instructor and Chief Executive Officer for Concerned Veterans for America, agrees.  He feels that there are dire consequences that have to be considered. “This administration has chopped, gutted, and shrunk our military making us much more vulnerable. I can tell you who is not shrinking -- China and Russia. We need to train and prepare for fighting counter-terrorism and conventional wars. This administration takes the approach of cuts masquerading as strategy. They are doing it to support their domestic programs. It’s the old apples and oranges analogy. We have to be smarter on how we spend for the apples, domestic programs, and should quit slicing up all the oranges, defense spending.”

Those interviewed see the dangers in the capability of those who will fight the next war. Jacobs refers to his past experience, having been in the Army when its manpower was reduced. “The Army was amongst the poorest trained and equipped. It was a mess. What will happen is that troops will not be training under combat conditions. We will either rely on the reserves or will have to resort to re-establishing the draft. In either case we will need them to fight at the worst possible time, in a war situation, and no one will have adequate training. What about the aircraft and the ships? We will have flying hours way down because there is no money to train or even to replace spare parts.”

Retired Air Force Colonel Martha McSally (R-AZ) who is running for Congress, told American Thinker she knows about the A-10 because she used to fly missions with it. She is very upset that the Obama administration is eliminating this plane since “we are retiring it without a suitable replacement. This is a life and death issue for those in harms way and needing air support. This administration is being very contradictory when they say they must get rid of the A-10. Are they saying we will never have combat soldiers in harms way ever again where they will not need air support? That is pretty reckless. There is no better sound than the rumbling engines of an A-10 bringing its 30 mm gun to bear. It can literally mean the difference between life and death for troops who are pinned down.”

She also wants Americans to understand that the squadron she once commanded was recently grounded for several months after coming back from Afghanistan. To her this equates to not being “combat mission ready,” since to train means getting airborne. “They lost six months of proficiency and capability readiness. It will cost more to get the readiness back than to sustain readiness. In fact, the Army Chief of Staff recently testified that 75% of our combat force is not ready.”

Former CIA Director Michael Hayden summarized it best, “We should not make arbitrary cuts based on political decisions.  Let’s remember the enemy gets a vote.  We can end up in a ground war even though we are not spending for it. This administration is embracing a national security policy that increases the risk.” They are also forgetting the lessons of history where the diminished training, maintenance, and the increased stress on the armed forces will encourage America's adversaries to be emboldened to take risky and belligerent actions.

The author writes for American Thinker.  She has done book reviews, author interviews, and has written a number of national security, political, and foreign policy articles.

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