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Pentagon to House GOP: No Thanks To The Extra Budget We Didn’t Ask For

May 11, 2012

Anybody listening?

You know how Republicans used to be all “listen to the generals – they know what’s best”? Apparently that only applies when they want to spend more money, not less.

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta slammed a House panel on Thursday for adding billions of dollars to President Obama’s defense budget, including money for a new East Coast missile defense site that the military says is unnecessary.

Just hours after the House Armed Services Committee approved its $642 billion spending blueprint, Panetta and Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said the panel’s additions ignored the careful strategic review that was the basis for the 2013 budget proposal. They warned that if the Pentagon is prevented from retiring aging ships and aircraft or reducing the size of the force, it might have to cut training or equipment.

“If members try to restore their favorite programs without regard to an overall strategy, the cuts will have to come from areas that could impact overall readiness.” Panetta told reporters. “There is no free lunch here. Every dollar that is added will have to be offset by cuts in national security.” (Army Times – emphasis mine)

So the Pentagon spent time and effort carefully and strategically creating a plan for spending and operations that the generals view best for the future of our national security. But because some GOP congressmen care more about their own pet projects, the whole thing could be thrown into imbalance and disarray. That’s nice.

Not only is the GOP out of step with the Military on Defense appropriations, they are also out of step with the American public.

While politicians, insiders and experts may be divided over how much the government should spend on the nation’s defense, there’s a surprising consensus among the public about what should be done: They want to cut spending far more deeply than either the Obama administration or the Republicans.

That’s according to the results of an innovative, new, nationwide survey by three nonprofit groups, the Center for Public integrity, the Program for Public Consultation and the Stimson Center. Not only does the public want deep cuts, it wants those cuts to encompass spending in virtually every military domain — air power, sea power, ground forces, nuclear weapons, and missile defenses.

According to the survey, in which respondents were told about the size of the budget as well as shown expert arguments for and against spending cuts, two-thirds of Republicans and nine in 10 Democrats supported making immediate cuts — a position at odds with the leaderships of both political parties. (iWatch News – emphasis mine)

Overwhelming Support For Immediate Cuts

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