Building a Stronger Defense and Lowering the Budget – One Example
Yesterday I made some comments on the Defense budget that needs to be trimmed. These cuts are generally off limits for Republicans. The article above has an excellent citation from one of our military leaders. I, like most of us, have a great admiration and love of our military. We are committed to the people serving in our armed forces and we are not interested in selling our veterans short. They deserve proper medical care for their willingness to lay it on the line for all of our freedoms.
However, we need to take a hard look at our military strategy and their needs. We have morale suffering because front line troops do not have what they need. Furthermore, some of our military lack belief in their mission due to the removal of 100’s in military leadership by the administration due to policatal stances over performance. This can’t happen. At the same time we have bloated defense spending in strategies that don’t reflect the current threats of the world today.
Let’s refer to the story:
Our nuclear weapons policy is based on Cold War conditions that no longer exist. The Pentagon is expected to spend more than $700 billion on nuclear weapons over the next 10 years, for little added security. The former U.S. Strategic Command Chief Gen. James Cartwright has called for a drastic cut in nuclear weapons, saying the U.S. has a stockpile “beyond our needs. What is it we’re really trying to deter? Our current arsenal does not address the threats of the 21st century.” The program is based more on ideology than security.
Sadly, defense spending is driven by political interests, not necessity.
If the former U.S. Strategic Command Chief General Cartwright says we have nuclear weapons beyond our needs we at minimum must dive further into that issue and ask the tough questions. There is some amount between 1 and 700 billion of savings sitting right there (depending on what our leaders say they need). In fairness, I bet we would need some of those weapons to keep our nuclear arsenal on top of the world. However, it would seem by the General’s remarks that we would not need close to $700 billion. Herein lies one area for significant savings.
I don’t listen to either side of the aisle on the military. It is very predictable on who says what and it is usually politically or money driven. We listen to our intelligence and military community (especially those with a long history of reputable character and service) on what they need. With the threats of North Korea, Iran, and other countries continuing to grow we should not just cut the program over one opinion. However, that opinion is from a man of high reputation. It is frustrating to me to see political interests start to rise up when these opinions of utility surface! My very first response as your Senator would be to confirm if that opinion is shared with other top military advisors. This program has huge costs to us Americans, but little to no improvement to our national security if the General’s assessment is correct. I see no harm in probing for additional expert opinions to see if this program is needed or if we have an opportunity for fiscal savings.
As a candidate for US Senate I listen first. We listen to the military leaders in the field on what they need. Today’s war is different than what we historically prepared for. A big industrialized machine has faded and combat has gone door to door and neighborhood to neighborhood. This doesn’t mean the industrialized machine is over. We still have military needs for a deterrent and a larger scale war. However, the needs on the front line have dramatically changed. On the whole (there are several exceptions) we continue to be investing large amounts in the big machine. It is my opinion the needs of our military need to shift (as oppose to flip) to demands of a “smaller war” versus an industrialized machine war. We must look at these massive programs on large equipment and ask if the large scale of these developments is smart spending.
We do need to be prepared in case a large escalating event would occur. However, we must scope down the large industrialized machine for smarter technology oriented equipment. Our spending has to evolve to meet the modern day need, be cognizant of our national security interests of fiscal control and avoid funding aging strategies that are ineffective in dealing with today’s guerrilla warfare against bands of terrorists.
As a candidate for United State Senate from Nebraska, Todd Watson will listen to our military leaders and not the political motivations for military spending. I’m committed to keeping the very best military intact in the world. It is my belief we can achieve this while still making cuts. We must listen to our military leaders (especially those who are free to speak). If the consensus of our military leaders is we are funding large projects with little benefit–we need to cut those projects. We cannot afford large spending programs on outdated approaches because they create jobs in a politician’s back yard or secure a career or promotion under political leadership. We need wise military spending, not non-beneficial military spending.
Have no fear conservatives and careful with the gloating defense spending hawks. The welfare state is coming up soon in the blog. This area needs overhaul. We will tackle some of these issues. I hope you are starting to get a feel for the details this campaign gets into. We are committed to avoiding substance free political rhetoric. Tag lines need details and we intend to provide you substance with stance.
Enjoy your Sunday–we will talk next week. As always–spread the word–digesting and evaluating info for yourself is not going to create change.
God Bless our Country and Our Military!