Cutting Spending at the Expense of Defense?

Olivia Detato

Once again Congress is faced with approving a budget for military spending for the upcoming fiscal year. The National Defense Authorization Act that was passed for the 2014 fiscal year was backed by bipartisan support but has since faced various criticisms. The National Defense Authorization Act established government agencies within the military, but its budget must be reapproved yearly. The main point of dissention for the previous year was the budget, and again the problem is the same.

Since the onset of the Obama administration, military reform has been at the forefront of debate. Interestingly enough, a major facet of President Obama’s 2008 campaign was for a smaller military presence in the Middle East and lower defense spending. Currently, military spending comprises 18 percent of the national budget, which is a significantly smaller amount than that spent on Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.

However, at this point in time, it is hard for anyone to disagree with the fact that government spending on the military is out of control. Policy leaders need to approve a balanced budget for the upcoming fiscal year, which would mean cutting spending. As the national debt continues to climb exponentially, it is imperative that a balanced budget be reached soon. That being said, it is very easy to cut government spending on the military without cutting national defense.

Military spending has doubled in the past ten years, and with the national debt spiraling out of control under the Obama administration, something must be done. Again, cutting spending does not necessarily mean cutting defense.

Many on the left contend that military spending needs to be substantially reduced, although they often forget the fact that President Obama began pulling troops out of the Middle East in 2010 but has never reduced the military budget.

The removal of troops from the Middle East should have resulted in at least a 10 percent reduction in spending. I take issue with the fact that many in the Obama administration have habitually supported cutting government defense. Iran continues to actively pursue the development of nuclear weapons.

Additionally, Russia and North Korea both have access to nuclear weapons. In a world where Al-Qaeda is still at large, it is imperative that the United States maintain its strong military. It is still very likely that another attack will eventually ensue after the death of Al-Qaeda leader, Osama bin Laden, in 2011.

The policy of “compromise and open dialogue” often purported by the Obama administration is far from realistic when it comes to keeping this country safe. While the United States is no longer threatened by a world superpower, as during the Cold War, it is in fact battling an ideological war against radical Islamists.

Currently, resources are not being allocated efficiently. The United States military does not need to be an international policeman. Not only has stationing troops internationally been extremely costly, it has also resulted in a great loss of life. Rather, the United States needs to allocate resources and intelligence towards keeping Al-Qaeda and extremist groups at bay, which is very possible through a balanced budget.

Contact Olivia Detato at [email protected]