President Misses Chance to Cut Pentagon
By Jim Cason on 09/22/2011 @ 10:30 AM
This week, President Barack Obama sent Congress a specific proposal to cut $3.2 trillion from the federal budget deficit over the next ten years. My colleague Ruth Flower and others will no doubt do a deeper analysis, but my first reaction was disappointment that the president didn't propose significant new cuts in Pentagon spending.
The White House fact sheet on the plan suggest that there could be cuts in Pentagon spending of up to $1.1 trillion as a result of "the drawdown of troops in Afghanistan and transition from a military to a civilian-led mission in Iraq." Yet as Gordan Adams has pointed out, these savings aren't real.
Of course, we at FCNL hope that the US will abandon the failed war strategies in Afghanistan and Iraq and replace them with a much more significant investment in proven strategies based on diplomacy, development and international cooperation. But as Adams points out, so far the administration hasn't articulated a clear plan for ending the war in Afghanistan.
More fundamentally, the president's plan does not include any additional significant cuts in Pentagon spending. Please do read the Gordon Adams blog post because, although it is a little detail oriented, he points out that the president is not proposing any new cuts in core Pentagon spending. So the president doesn't propose reducing the US nuclear arsenal, or reducing the number of overseas US military bases, or cancelling the F-35 fighter jet, or any of the other very specific recommendations that the Sustainable Defense Task Force made to cut core Pentagon spending by $1 trillion over the next ten years.
The good news is this is an active debate right now. Congress is considering how to cut the federal budget deficit and cuts in the Pentagon spending are on the table. The deficit commission of course will be one place for this debate, but every member of Congress will get a chance to weigh in on this discussion. I hope everyone has written at least one letter to each of their members of Congress in the last month calling for at least $1 trillion in cuts to core Pentagon spending. Another way you can act is by writing a letter to the editor.