President Obama on Wednesday announced $400 billion in defense cuts between now and 2023. But in reality, defense budgets have already been cut, are being cut now, and will be cut even further in the future. And it’s happening at the expense of national security.
He specifically referenced $400 billion in defense “savings” found to date by Secretary of Defense Robert Gates as the effort he’d like to copy and apply to deficit reduction. Of this money identified by Secretary Gates, only $100 billion is technically considered “savings” resulting from efficiency initiatives and reforms at the Pentagon. The remaining $300 billion in defense cuts the President would like to emulate resulted from significant cuts through the cancelation or delaying of over 50 major weapons programs.
Last year, the Obama administration, Secretary of Defense, and Congress began reshaping the U.S. military by changing the direction of defense investments and canceling programs with a total lifetime value of over $300 billion (if seen through completion). The list of defense cuts includes a combat search and rescue helicopter, the F-22 fifth generation fighter, the Army’s future combat systems (primarily a ground vehicle program), the multiple-kill vehicle for missile defense, a bomber for the Air Force, the VH-71 presidential helicopter, a transformational satellite program, and the second airborne laser aircraft. In addition, the Administration decided to extend the construction of an aircraft carrier by an extra year from four to five, reduce the number of ground-based midcourse defense interceptors from 44 to 30, and indefinitely delay the Navy’s next generation cruiser.
The current 2011 defense budget and next year’s defense budget aren’t being spared the axe, either.