Bad Decisions Imperil National Security

Bad Decisions Imperil National Security

The U.S. military is facing unique challenges in fulfilling its mission to deter the growing threats from China, Russia, Iran and North Korea. The problems are not the fault of the servicemembers, but from the politicians, some in elective office and, also, some in uniform who have forgotten that their oath is to the Constitution and not to progressive ideology.

During the Obama presidency, the armed services were deprived of crucial funds, the aftereffects of which can still be seen today.  Some officers were promoted more for their demographics and political loyalty than for their capabilities and leadership qualities. But perhaps the worst promotion of all was appointing General Mark Milley as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, selected by President Trump, a move the former President has admitted was a terrible error.

When President Biden appointed Lloyd Austin as Defense Secretary, the two combined to incompetently impose unprecedented debacles on the services, including the incompetent execution of the withdrawal from Afghanistan, the institution of woke dictates that have demoralized current servicemembers, and created a recruitment crisis.

Many Members of Congress have been so outraged that they passed a bill to reduce Austin’s salary to a mere one dollar.

Milley, now retired, and Austin are not alone in their politicized agenda.  Earlier in 2023, Rep. Mike Rogers, chair of the House Armed Services Committee, and Rep. Jim Banks, Chair of the House Committee on military personnel, demanded to know what Austin would do about Kelisa Wing, the “chief diversity, equity and inclusion officer” in the Department of Defense Education Activity office, who has made who has made repeated comments exhibiting overt racial bias against whites.

The upshot is that Washington has spent vast sums on other priorities at the expense of its most important duty, protecting the nation.

Earlier this year, Adam Kredo, writing for the Washington Free Beacon, reported that  “The Biden administration wants to enact sharp budget cuts to the U.S. Navy that would force it to prematurely retire almost a dozen ships and take offline critical missile systems that serve as a primary deterrent to Chinese aggression. President Joe Biden’s 2024 budget proposal would deal a massive blow to the already strained American Navy—the White House wants to prematurely retire eight ships and two combat vessels. By taking these ships out of action, the Navy would lose more than 600 vertical launch missile systems—a missile capability that serves as the primary deterrent to Chinese military attacks in the Pacific, according to congressional research provided to the Washington Free Beacon. ‘The Biden Administration’s defense budget would hollow out our fleet and scrap Navy radars and missile systems we desperately need to deter China,’ Sen. Roger Wicker (R., Miss.), the Senate Armed Services Committee’s ranking member, told the Free Beacon. ‘Prematurely retiring our ships sends exactly the wrong signal to China as they continue to build their own Navy at a historic pace. Biden’s budget would decrease the total number of active Navy ships, retiring at least 11 ships while only requesting the construction of nine new vessels. The Navy currently has 294 battle force ships, far short of the 355 it is required to have by law. Biden’s budget would further reduce this number, according to information about the White House’s 2023 budget proposal codified by Wicker’s office.” The policy wholly ignores the reality that China has the world’s largest navy, and it is growing still larger.

Already underfunded by the eight years of the Obama presidency, Biden’s defense budgets have repeatedly failed to keep up with inflation. Adjusted for inflation, Biden’s proposed defense budget would produce a 5% cut.  It is difficult to see the rationale for that, as foreign threats have grown exponentially. Military spending amounts to a mere 12% of the federal budget, and only 3.1% of GDP, projected to decline to   2.8% in the next ten years. In 1960, it was almost 9% of GDP. In 1969, it amounted to 52% of the federal budget.

Frank Vernuccio serves as editor-in-chief of the New York Analysis of Policy and Government

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