Senator Warns Against Disastrous Defense Cuts
12:55 PM, Jun 14, 2012 • By PATRICK CHRISTY
Senator Kelly Ayotte, a Republican from New Hampshire, took to the Senate floor—along with Senators John McCain and John Thune—to warn against looming Department of Defense cuts.
Ayotte, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, states that spending cuts mandated under current law would dramatically undermine U.S. security. That is because, after previously implementing three rounds of defense cuts, President Obama’s fiscal year 2013 budget proposal slashes $487 billion from Pentagon spending over the next decade—and that’s without incorporating current law, which mandates an additional $500 billion in military cuts under the so-called “sequester.” As Senator Ayotte notes, this represents “the biggest national security threat you have never heard of.”
The senator’s comments echo the warnings of civilian and military leaders. Earlier this month, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta stated that sequestration defense cuts would be “disastrous for our national defense.” Similarly, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin Dempsey has stated that if sequestration is implemented, “We would not any longer be a global power,” forcing the military toreduce the overall size and capabilities of each military branch:
The prospects of American military decline come at a time when the military capabilities of rising powers, most notably China, are increasing. Beijing’s military budget is expected to expand by 11.2 percent over last year. From 2000 to 2011, China’s official military budget grew at an average rate of 11.8 percent, although military experts believe official numbers are grossly understated.
America’s long-term spending problems must be dealt with, but as Ayotte states, it should not come at the expense of national defense:
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