In 2011, a divided Congress passed the Budget Control Act that mandated a reduction in the federal budget. The act was passed to avert the imminent shutdown of the federal government.
The mandated budget cuts directly affected the military, forcing them to reduce size, weapons, equipment and personnel on a yearly basis. The Republican controlled House at the time opposed cutting military spending, but House Speaker John Boehner betrayed his fellow Republicans, the American people and our military defenses by surrendering to Senate and White House Democrats.
The Budget Control Act of 2011 is still in effect and is still forcing the reduction of America’s military defenses. It is forcing the Army to cut 40,000 troops within the next two years, leaving their defense capabilities at risk.
Army leaders having been testifying before Congress for the past couple of months, warning them of the dangers of allowing the military budget cuts to continue. Army Secretary John McHugh and Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno submitted written testimony stating:
“This ongoing budgetary unpredictability is neither militarily nor fiscally responsible. … Even as demand for Army forces is growing, budget cuts are forcing us to reduce end strength to dangerously low levels. We face an ‘ends’ and ‘means’ mismatch between requirements and resources available.”
Some members of Congress are starting to realize that it’s not just our military strength and defenses that are being placed at risk from the budget cuts, but the economies of their states are also being hurt by the reduction of Army personnel.
Fort Huachuca in Arizona is slated to lose 114 soldiers or 5% of their Army personnel. Rep. Martha McSally (R-AZ) is a retired Air Force colonel and A-10 Thunderbolt pilot. She has been fighting to stop the budget cuts from further decreasing our military strength and personnel. She stated:
“Our military budget decisions need to be driven by strategy and the best way to defend American lives and our interests, not a meat-cleaver approach to budgeting. I’ve repeatedly called for a reversal of the across-the-board cuts established in 2011 and will continue to work with my colleagues on solutions that ensure our national defense and the safety and security of our troops overseas.”
Army bases in Alaska are scheduled to lose 2,700 troops over the next two years. Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-AK) is frustrated over the mandated loss of Army personnel, saying:
“Along with thousands of Alaskans, I find this decision devastating far beyond what it means to our state economy, but what it means to America’s defense.”
Teresa Tomlinson, the Independent Mayor of Columbus, Georgia, said that losing 3,402 troops from nearby Fort Benning will be like losing a major corporation to her city. Sen. Johnny Jackson, (R-GA) has demanded answers from the Army on the announced personnel cuts, saying:
“I have talked in great detail with [Army] Secretary [John] McHugh today and will continue to fight to see to it that we preserve every soldier in Georgia that we can.”
So why was the military included in the mandated budget caps and reductions in the first place? I firmly believe that the Democrats did it knowing that in time the forced reduction to our military would become the excuse to remove the budget caps, thus allowing for increased spending once again. They have no qualms in placing America at risk if it means they get what they want in the end.
To support that idea, I point to the fact the Barack Obama has vowed to veto any budget bill that keeps the spending caps and mandated reductions in place. He didn’t say it applied to just the military budget but to the entire budget. If Republicans want to preserve our military strength and personnel, they have to free up spending caps across the board for everyone. In other words, Obama and the Democrats intentionally placed America’s defense capability at risk so they can get their checkbooks back and further break the bank with their out of control spending.