Following Tuesday's near-unanimous win among Iowa Democrats and yesterday's recess appointment of Richard Cordray, our President has outdone himself today, announcing nearly half a trillion dollars in cuts to the Pentagon's bloated budget.
The new military strategy includes $487 billion in cuts over the next decade. An additional $500 billion in cuts could be coming if Congress follows through on plans for deeper reductions. The announcement comes weeks after the U.S. officially ended the Iraq War and after a decade of increased defense spending in the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States.
Obama said that the military will indeed be leaner, but the U.S. will maintain a budget that is roughly larger than the next 10 countries' military budgets combined.
"Some will no doubt say the spending reductions are too big; others will say they're too small," Obama said. "It will be easy to take issue with a particular change. But I would encourage all of us to remember what President Eisenhower once said — that 'each proposal must be weighed in the light of a broader consideration: the need to maintain balance in and among national programs.' "
The plan also features a large-scale shift away from the failed policies that defined Bush-era foreign policy.
Iraq and Afghanistan were large nation-building efforts requiring thousands of troops. The emphasis on the future will be to partner or advise foreign militaries in order to counter threats, Krepinevich said.
For all the conservative crowing about 'fiscal responsibility,' there seems to be little talk about the Department of Defense budget, which makes up 20% of our nation's budget. For Fiscal Year 2010, a majority of discretionary spending was on the Pentagon.
This announcement is sure to irritate those who claim that the only way to protect our country is to waste money at the Pentagon. And not a moment too soon. The President is putting deficit hawks on the defensive (pun intended!), helping to change the discussion on what should and shouldn't be cut.
Dwight Eisenhower - who himself knew a thing or two about the military - one famously said:
Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, represents, in the final analysis, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, who are cold and are not clothed.
I think Ike would be proud of his successor today. Thank you, Mr. President, for having the courage to make this shift in policy!