The Obama Edge
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|Daniel Halper||February 24th 2012|
â€œWe will be forced to accept greater risk as a nation,â€ Major General Sid Shachnow (retired) says. Shachnow goes on toâ€”optimisticallyâ€”note that this might be fine â€œ[s]ince we have no peer competitors.â€ But concedes he is not able to determine what this might mean for â€œachieving victoryâ€ in the future. The primary criticism from the former Air Force brass is the way the cuts are being madeâ€”without consideration to mission, only to the bottom-line of the budget. â€œThe budget for our national defense programs should be based on the amount of resources required to achieve national security objectives established through the usual processes,â€ writes Major General Robert D. Eaglet (retired), formerly of the Air Force. â€œOur national security is too important to constrain it to whatever might be achievable within some arbitrary reduced budget target.â€
Lieutenant General Charles May (retired), also formerly of the Air Force, shares a similar criticism: â€œWe all understand that strategy should come first but it is obvious that budget changes are being made first and some public pronouncements are being made to justify these changes. But coherence is lacking, preventing a thorough and in-depth analysis of the impact.â€ And the Navy, too, will face severe consequences. Navy Rear Admiral Terence E. McKnight notes the shrinking save of the Navy and writes, â€œWith the reductions in ships and manpower the Navy will be stretched to the limits and major mission areas and overseas commitments will have to be eliminated.â€McKnight writes: â€œThe Navy will not have the forces to protect the high seas as in years past. . . . The Navy will no longer be able project power in such regions as the Caribbean, Mediterranean, or possibly the Middle East. . . . No matter what doctrine is implemented in the future, there will simply not be enough ships to cover the current commitments.â€
Even the Coast Guard threatens to be severely constrained by these cuts. â€œThe extent of possible reductions in Coast Guard funding remains undetermined, but would nevertheless seriously impact a traditionally underfunded agency in many areas, causing significant reductions in services to the public,â€ Rear Admiral James Olson (retired) warns. The Marines, if Major General Larry S. Taylor (retired) is any indication, are most concerned about â€œshortages of spare parts for maintenance and ammunition for training.â€
Daniel Halper writes for The Weekly Standard, from where this article was adapted.