Obama has also promised to do all he can to protect Israel from the threat of Iran, but if he has his way, the budget for cooperative missile defense programs that do just that will be halved.
The gap between the administration’s stated policies and its plans to implement them is growing considerably. In Washington, like everywhere else, how money is spent is indicative of what is truly important to those spending it.
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), ranking member of the Armed Services Committee, noted this in a highly critical opening statement at a February hearing: “Perhaps most concerning, in light of the administration’s own identification of the Asia-Pacific region as the focus of U.S. defense strategy, this budget would require the Navy to reduce shipbuilding by 28 percent.”
And there are many other aspects of Obama’s military budget that vie for the title “most concerning.”
One is that the proposition of cutting defense to help the economy may actually do more to hurt it. Not all cuts are savings.
States such as Florida — a critical election-year battleground — depend on military spending for tens of thousands of jobs.
According to Marion Blakey, president of the Aerospace Industries Association, the defense cuts Obama plans will put roughly 350,000 Americans out of work, and if he cuts the additional $500 billion he threatens, as many as 1 million people could lose jobs.
Thankfully, the president’s budget is merely a suggestion to Congress, which controls the country’s purse strings, and a budget battle is brewing. McCain foreshadowed the fight.
“The administration has not led,” he said. “For the sake of our national security, Congress should.”
McCain is right, and if Congress fails to do so, perilous times are ahead.
Rebeccah Heinrichs is an adjunct fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.
Vice President Joe Biden waits to conduct a mock swearing-in ceremony with Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, in the Capitol's Old Senate Chamber, December 2, 2014. Schatz was sworn in to serve the remainder of his term since he was appointed to the seat after Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, passed away.