Exclusive: Are Cuts in Defense Spending the Best Way to Cut Government Costs?

by PRESIDENTIAL POLICY: DOES IT MAKE THE GRADE?, JAMES JAY CARAFANO, PHD February 3, 2010
Without question, the big news in national security and foreign policy should have been the President’s State of Union address. Before the speech, the Heritage Foundation  outlined at least five priorities from Iran to homeland security that the President should have highlighted. Unfortunately, national security barely rated a mention in Obama’s remarks.
 
The most newsworthy item was the president’s decision to freeze discretionary spending, but exempting defense and homeland security. Left unsaid, however, was that the White House has no intent in increasing defense spending. Overall, this year’s defense spending won’t go up by much more than the cost of inflation. On the other had, the President is cutting the core defense budget. That started last year with the FY2010 budget. Even without a budget freeze, Obama’s cuts to defense will grow in the out years. The Congressional Budget Office projects that the average Pentagon budget for the period covering fiscal years 2011 through 2028 will be $50 billion less in real dollars than its current estimate for this fiscal year. In short, the White House is cutting the defense budget, both in real dollar terms and as a percent of the economy.
 
Rather than the president’s address the big national security news of the week was the administration’s admission that it is rethinking plans to try terrorists in New York City. This was the result of out cry from the mayor, local leaders, and members of Congress. Apparently, the White House did not confer with anyone before it made the decision to move the trials from the detention facilities at GITMO to the Big Apple. Security, cost, and disruptions to the city were all raised as causes of concern. The Obama White House has now asked Attorney General Eric Holder’s Justice Department to look for an alternative site to hold the federal trial of 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and his co-conspirators. As the political support for the controversial decision to hold the trial in New York City evaporated, the Obama administration is scrambling to find an alternative location for the federal trial.
 

FamilySecurityMatters.org Contributing Editor James Jay Carafano, Ph.D., is a leading expert in defense affaires, intelligence, military operations and strategy, and homeland security


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