Media reports today indicate that national security spending could be cut by as much as $700 billion as part of a deal on the debt limit — almost twice the amount originally proposed by President Barack Obama.
The Center for Security Policy believes such cuts are antithetical to the time-tested practice President Ronald Reagan called "Peace through Strength." It is the height of irresponsibility to commit to reductions of that magnitude without a proper analysis of how they would be apportioned and to what effect.
That would be true in a world less perilous than today's; it will be even more true if, as has been the case in the past, massive Pentagon defunding of this kind invites aggression by the myriad dangerous foes whose emergence will make tomorrow's even more perilous.
President Obama's own secretary of defense, Robert Gates, warned that $400 billion slashed from Pentagon funding over the next 12 years could result in "in a hollowing out of the force from a lack of proper training, maintenance and equipment and manpower." That being the case, it is safe to say that $700 billion in cuts over the same time period would be simply disastrous — significantly diminishing America's ability to defend itself, while emboldening its enemies.
Treating investments in national defense as indistinguishable from lower priority types of government spending invites otherwise avoidable wars — whose costs in national treasure and, more importantly, in lives needlessly lost would make the problem of today's national debt pale by comparison.
America's deficit is surely a cause for concern. But it cannot be safely alleviated by actions that have the effect of undercutting the national security and jeopardizing the safety of the American people.
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