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Warning Against Rapid Military Drawdown

2:01 PM, Aug 11, 2011 • By DANIEL HALPER
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House Budget chair Paul Ryan, along with House Committee on Armed Services chair Buck McKeon and Bill Young, chairman of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense, have written a letter to Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta and OMB director Jack Lew, urging the Obama administration officials not to take a math-based approach to determining our national security strategy.

“Each of you has recently commented that the Administration believes funding for the Department of Defense should be reduced by somewhere between $330 billion and $420 billion over the next ten years,” the Republican congressmen write. “This would be an unprecedented drawdown in defense while U.S. forces are committed to contingency operations in Afghanistan and Libya, and possibly still in Iraq. More troubling than the lack of any historical precedent, however, is that this decision to reduce defense spending—first announced by the President in April—has preceded any substantial analysis of the future roles, missions, and capabilities we want our military to perform.”

Since we have not seen the outcome of the Administration’s strategic review, it is imperative that Members of Congress, and particularly members of our committees, obtain a better understanding of the impact of these reductions on the Defense Department and its ability to meet its mission.

The congressmen go on to ask Panetta and Lew for an “update on the status of and preliminary conclusions form the DOD comprehensive review and the budgetary consequences flowing there from,” for “clarification” for the budget caps to military spending that would occur if the supercommittee’s recommendations were not accepted, and for the consequences of what would happen if the sequestration is triggered.

“Former Secretary Gates correctly described such a budget-first approach as ‘math, not strategy,’” the congressmen write.

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