- Category: Volume 85 (Fall 2013 - Spring 2014)
- Published: 05 March 2014
- Written by JASMINE RAMOS STAFF WRITER
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel proposed budget cuts that will downsize the military to its smallest size in 74 years, closing military bases and other military-wide savings on Feb. 24.
In this plan, which Congress can change, the active-duty Army would shrink from its current 522,000 soldiers to between 440,000 to 450,000. That would be almost 100,00 soldiers gone, the smallest number just before the U.S entered World War II. This would be providing the Pentagon with $26 billion on top of the $496 billion it will be receive due to the budget deal passed two months ago.
Criminal Justice Professor John Comiskey, and a member of the U.S. Coast Guard Reserve, said “2014 does not need pre-WWII personnel numbers. Technology has reduced the need for masses of troops to defend national interest.”
Another part of this proposal is the elimination of the Air Force’s fleet of A-20 aircraft and U-2 spy planes, and reductions in the size of the Army National Guard.
There has been speculation that the money being saved from this cut, could go towards welfare across the country. Former Vice President Dick Cheney does not agree with said plan. When being interviewed on Fox New’s “Hannity”, he believes Obama “would rather spend the money on food stamps than he would on strong military or support the troops.”
Many governors from both U.S political parties plan to talk to Obama about preventing such cuts to the National Guard units.
“In downsizing the military, we want to make sure that reserve and National Guard is protected in our country,” Connecticut Democratic Governor Dannel Malloy said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
Republican Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker very much agreed with Mallo’s take on the subject. “I think there is common agreement amongst all 50 governors that we shouldn’t go back to pre-9/11 standards when it comes to the National Guard,” he said.
In an interview with “The Steve Malzberg Show,” former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nation, John Bolton said that Congress must debate on not only the budget, but on what direction Obama is taking this country in.
“We’ve already cut $1 trillion from the defense budget in the last five years, and these cuts . . . will leave us not only weaker in terms of capabilities, we’re reducing the capacity of the United States to deter and dissuade adversaries from making threats toward us in the first place” he said.
When asked whether or not the fact that both political parties are up in arms with this proposal is a sign on if this should go on futher Comiskey said, “The National Guards are state agencies that are subsidized by the federal government because the National Guards can be federalized to serve under the Department of Defense. States ability to maintain their National Guard’s capacity is at risk. Keep in mind that National Guards also provide state level aid for natural disasters [for example,] Superstorm Sandy.”
Dr. Christopher DeRosa, an associate professor of history,said, “The United States spends about 20 percent of its budget on military costs. That’s a drain on the country’s economic flexibility and health, a vital dimension of national security. A nation can fall into a trap of trying to make up in military muscle what it is losing in economic dynamism, and end up diminishing its national security rather than improving it.”
Hagel said during his speech, “We are repositioning to focus on the strategic challenges and opportunities that will define our future: new technologies, new centers of power and a world that is growing more volatile, more unpredictable and in some instances more threatening to the United States”
Janaya Lewinski, a freshman political science major, believes that either way the proposal goes, it has its cnosequences. “ It’s a double edge sword. Downsize and something bad happens, certain people catch the blame. Downsize and the country does not need its emergency reserves, no ones mad.”
Hagel outlined his proposal a week before Obama is to submit his 2015 budget plan to Congress.
IMAGE TAKEN from defense.gov