GOVERNMENT GROWS AS NATIONAL SECURITY SHRINKS
The great irony of the last century is that as the government of the United States has grown, the resources and manpower it has devoted to the most important of its enumerated constitutional roles have dwindled. This is not an abstract sentiment. This is a hard and frightening fact made tangible by recent cuts in the defense budget by the Obama Administration.
“To provide for the common defense” is the one role for which the size and clout of the Federal Government is essential. Defense is the most appropriate, among the limited roles of government, to be addressed by the centralized power of the Commander in Chief. The approach to national defense by Barack Obama and the current Congress effectively turns the constitutional functions of the United States Government on its head.
Cuts to the defense budget are problematic for many reasons. The Budget Control Act of 2011 (BCA) is interpreted by some as requiring a decrease in the rate of growth of the defense budget, but not in the actual dollar figure that will be allocated. In the Heritage Foundation’s “Fact Sheet” of December 6, 2011, it is pointed out that since these numbers fail to account for inflation, that the result will be continuous shrinkage in the overall defense budget.
With military actions on many fronts; Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, as well as smaller operations in Egypt and Yemen, there may be a public misperception that the Obama Administration has increased the funding and scope of the military. The opposite is true. At least 50 major weapons programs have been cut, along with hardware that affects land, air, and sea based military operations. The cuts have reduced nuclear arsenals, strategic missile defense systems, and funding for the replacement of the Nuclear Submarine fleet. They also include termination of the Air Force’s CSAR-X Helicopter program, the complete shutdown of the F-22 Raptor production line, and the end of the Reliable Replacement Warhead program. Programs reduced since the beginning of the Obama Administration include the Airborne Laser program, the Aircraft Carrier build schedule, the USN Mobile Landing Platform, and the Navy CG-Z Cruiser.
Another possible misperception is that the 2012 Defense Budget is just another annual round of trimming away obsolete programs and inefficiencies, while funding leaner, more modern technologies, as would typically occur under the direction of the Pentagon. The new military budget, however, looks more like an effort to permanently curtail funding for the research and development that is required to actually meet the ends of lean, efficient, high-tech weaponry and battle ready personnel.
In real numbers the new defense budget could shrink by 12% from $704 billion to $648 billion. These cuts are not projected future reductions, but are “front loaded” which means that troop readiness, research and development , and the replacement and modernization of weapons systems will be immediately affected. The Heritage Foundation’s “Fact Sheet” projects a stunning decrease of 25% in the defense budget for FY 2013, from that of FY 2011.
The Obama Administration’s approach to National Defense is inscrutable in a world where nations controlled by unstable and ruthless regimes, like North Korea and Iran, have the potential to send nuclear warheads into nearby countries, or far flung continents, within a matter of minutes. It is breathtaking to realize that as the type and numbers of existential dangers to The United States of America expand, that our military capabilities are contracting. It feels to most Americans like a deliberate effort to minimize the once fearsome reputation of the United States Military, and put forth an image that is more amenable to the soft, socialist, militarily ineffectual countries of the European Union.
Ronald Reagan said, “Of the four wars in my lifetime, none came about because the U.S. was too strong.” Peace through Strength was more than a truism to Ronald Reagan, it was a policy. Through the 1980’s, as Ronald Reagan wrangled the federal budget back into control, he was able to shrink the overall size of the government in relation to its limited constitutional roles. With modest increases in the funding of military programs and operations, Reagan was able to take command of the international scene with strong military and defense capabilities. The enemies of The United States were aware that a robust U.S. Military, along with the implementation of ingenious weapons defense systems, were a top priority of Ronald Reagan. Strength, as a perception, was actualized as a deterrent. The mere existence of a strong military won the Cold War.
The Obama Administration is re-writing the Constitution pertaining to its role in the “common defense.” If America is to be recognizable as the same impressive, militarily superior, constitutional republic that won the Cold War, it is essential that the defense portion of the federal budget be prioritized over social spending and entitlements. Peace through strength requires a proportionally funded National Defense.
By Marjorie Haun 2/3/2012