Slashing Defense Budget Puts Nation at Increased Risk

Heritage’s James Carafano recently wrote that President Obama’s proposed defense cuts are tantamount to a gift to America’s enemies. These cuts reduce America’s military capabilities in a dangerous world and bring greater risk to the nation.

The President’s new defense budget raises the risk level for the U.S. and its allies. In his budget preview, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta acknowledged this reality. Prior to this, military officials had already raised red flags. For example, during General Martin Dempsey’s confirmation hearing to be the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, he characterized impending cuts as “extraordinarily difficult and very high risk.”

Carafano states that it is important to wring inefficiencies out of Pentagon spending—but not at the expense of national security. Libya is the case in point. The Department of Defense said it spent about half a billion dollars to oust Muammar Qadhafi; however, it requested authority to reprogram only about $80 million in spending. To pay for the Libya war, “[t]he Pentagon robbed training, maintenance and operations accounts and that resulted in shortfalls that directly reduce military readiness. It is like shorting the mortgage payment to pay your credit cards.”

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