In writing before about the Obama budgets I admit, like any honest writer, I can be subject to a particular way of looking at things. In fairness, I decided to take another look at one of the departmental budgets, the Department of Defense, to see if my opinion was too narrow-minded. This time our information will rely on some observations from another source.
Our source is The Unified Security Budget report compiled by an independent task force. After reading the report I discovered and determined the following;
- The Obama administration’s claim that ending operations in Iraq would lead to significant deficit reductions is false.
- Any reductions in OCO spending that could have led to deficit reduction are re-distributed to other funding projects.
- Some of this re-allocation is wasteful and jeopardizes our National Security.
- The Obama Administration is hiding funding for some of his pet projects in the Department of Defense’s budget.
- There have been some worthwhile changes in the Department of Defense and Homeland Security, which proves that even an inept president like Barak Obama can do some things right.
The USB report also makes some assumptions and assessments that I disagree with. The dissenting opinions I have are shared by experts in the fields of National Security and Federal Budgets. These shared opinions can be readily found on the internet so I see no use in supplying numerous links to support my position.
One of the first assessments I disagree with can be found in the executive summary. The USB author stated when commenting on the demise of Osama bin Laden:
“The 150,000 U.S. troops amassed in neighboring countries at the time had remarkably little to do with it. The decade of war the United States launched in response to the 9/11 attacks, at the cost of a trillion-plus dollars and many thousands of lives, has failed to accomplish a goal that was finally achieved at a tiny fraction of these costs, through a coordinated action of investigative work, diplomacy, and minimal military force.”
While it is true that a surgical strike was responsible for finally killing bin Laden, I would argue that the intelligence that finally led to his location and a place for the Navy Seals to deploy from would not have been possible without ‘boots on the ground’ in Afghanistan. Nor does the entire ‘war on terror’ reside in one person. But that subject deserves a separate discussion.
The plan for the reallocation of funds from the savings from the OCO (Overseas Contingency Operations), or war in Iraq, was to preventive (defensive) measures; namely the Department of State and the Department of Homeland Security. Those represent legitimate shifts in funding, but the shifts will only enhance waste and poor accountability which is already in abundance.
One investment of note in the report (page 4) shows:
“The exception to this rule is spending on alternative energy. The Defense Department is focusing increasing attention on climate change as a security threat.”
The amount of funding for this ‘security threat ’is $3.2 Billion.
You cannot be serious! First of all, any funding for research and development for alternative energy should be listed under The Department of Energy, where the other alternative energy funding is supposed to be. This expenditure is simply hiding the expenditure of funds from the public.
The reasons for this expense are more lame that the funding itself;
“The concentration of extreme weather events this year underscores their concerns.”
“And a faltering economic recovery affirms the need for job-creating investment.”
Any job creation by the government is at taxpayers’ expense, so taking money from the taxpayer and spending it is nothing less than the redistribution of wealth. You are taking money that we would have spent in the place of our choosing and spent it in a place of your choosing.
Facing annual deficits of $1.3 Trillion any government expenses should be obvious to the public if there is to be any serious discussion on deficit reduction.
Wow: “a faltering economic recovery.” And that from an independent report!
Any claims by the Obama administration of serious cuts to the Defense budget suffered damage as indicated in the report on page 8:
“But the proposal to cut $78 billion over five years would still leave the Pentagon with a 5 percent increase in spending for 2012 over the amount budgeted for 2011. So how was this framed as a cut?”
“Robert Gates characterized the effect of the Commission’s proposal as potentially “catastrophic.” Yet this catastrophe would leave the Pentagon with more inflation-adjusted dollars to spend in its regular budget than it had during any of the Bush years, or on average during the Cold War.”
“The following week, Obama laid out his thoughts on deficit reduction. “Over the last two years,” he said, “Secretary Gates has courageously taken on wasteful spending [in the defense budget], saving $400 billion in current and future spending. I believe we can do that again.””
The report goes on to say:
“That statement contains reasons for hope but also concern.”
That is not exactly the words I would have chosen to describe this little fairytale, but suffice it to say by quoting the report, bull:
“These savings, if they materialize, will achieve not deficit reduction as promised,”
A chart of the Trade-Offs, or reallocation of funds, can be found on page 9. While most of these itemized trade-offs swap national security for more government administrative job creation and international giveaways, three of these swaps are worth noting:
$1.3 billion – Maintain existing levels of annual aid to Egypt’s military or support Egypt’s burgeoning democracy through economic and humanitarian assistance.
I would question the value of either one of these outlays and think serious thought should be given to eliminating this expense altogether.
$20 billion – Allow the Pentagon to reinvest the waste and inefficiencies it finds back into its own budget or increase the government’s investment in renewable energy and energy efficiency to a level that would achieve the Obama administration’s stated climate security goals.
How can you count on saving $20 Billion from waste when you cannot even detail where the waste is? And if you can detail it, why hasn’t it been eliminated? Truth is they can’t and this report illustrates this fact.
I see no justifiable reason to use $20 Billion to fund any renewable energy development especially when it is tied to Obama’s ‘climate security goals,’ especially when it would cut our defense budget by that amount.
A fact of government is this; once a set amount of funding is given the stated source of the funding almost never comes from savings. In other words, if the government grants this $20 Billion to be spent and the DOD doesn’t find $20 Billion in waste, the awarded funding will not be reduced. Say they find $1 Billion in waste after the $20 Billion has been authorized where will the other $19 Billion come from?
3. $3.6 billion – Maintain spending on R&D and procurement for ineffective and unproven missile defense systems. Or Restore the Obama administration’s original appropriation for the Global Health Initiative, providing 5 million children access to treatment for malaria this year.
This is another Obama socialistic initiative that takes from the U.S. and gives it away abroad. There is no denying there could be/or is a need to fight malaria worldwide, but at the sacrifice of national defense? If the U.S. is debilitated by a foreign enemy how much assistance will the U.S. be able to deliver to those in need? Our nation’s goodwill should never compromise our nation’s security.
One of the major shifts in funding will be from an offensive military position to a passive or political position embodied in the form of the State Department. Increased funding is certainly needed in this department since many addition duties and responsibilities have been added to the State Department.
One of those new duties is to pick up the pieces after a conflict, as in Iraq. A country which I feel we left too early and with too little long range foresight.
To quote the rest of the line from the report (page 17):
“We are concentrating our resources and developing our capacity, in other words, to help pick up the pieces after a conflict, rather than to prevent conflict. The capacity and the skill sets are not the same.”
One of The State Department’s original functions is to prevent military conflicts, not fix things after the fact. And the report suggests this is a dangerous position, relegating such duties to an ill equipped department that has limited resources or expertise to carry them out.
“Handing over Iraq to the State Department is risky strategy that may or may not succeed in helping the Iraqi people achieve some measure of stability.”
The war in Iraq will always be controversial, but now that we are there, have accomplished relative peace in the region, and has sparked infant form of democracy, leaving in haste is a mistake. Beside the fact Iraq owes us big time, now that we are there, we should stay.
Before you scream no, ask yourself this; is Iraq a more strategic location than Japan or the Philippines at this time in the world? Of course it is, so why not close those other locations and stay in Iraq?
Now that bin Laden is dead, we would be better served to leave Afghanistan and keep a force in Iraq. Afghanistan will not change for perhaps 100’s of years, with Iraq we are in sight of a full-fledge democracy in the major hotspot in the world.
The USB report echoes similar concerns:
“It is past time for the United States to concentrate on developing a robust architecture for constructive U.S. engagement in helping to prevent future conflict.”
“This is not where we seem to be headed. In its budget request the administration left the security balance between its base budgets for offense, defense, and prevention unchanged. Congress appears determined to make this balance worse.”
This administration seems to think its o.k. to jeopardize the security of this country in pursuit of his foolish green jobs agenda. You would think the President of the United States would at least have the courage to tell the American people the truth about matters of budget, but it seems such is not the case.
President Obama also continues to operate under the delusion that the nation of Islam is a religion of peace and non-aggression and he is willing to risk national security because of it. I am not.
More to follow.