The Hill — National security spending could be cut by as much as $700 billion in a deal to raise the debt limit, defense sources said.
That’s almost twice the amount President Obama originally proposed.
Obama directed the Defense Department and other national-security agencies to slash $400 billion by 2023. But in the closed-door talks to raise the debt ceiling, larger Pentagon funding cuts have been seriously discussed, several sources said, putting the number between $600 billion and $700 billion over a decade.
A final decision has yet to be made, but the sources said negotiators have not ruled out making deeper cuts than Obama planned.
I think it is a given that the defense budget will face serious cuts in the coming years. We’re still deeply involved on multiple fronts, and the sense of most folks in the service is that wartime is the new normal. But there’s diminishing support at home for continued foreign adventures, and as is normal in our history, that manifests itself in cuts to the DoD.
Further, the political left of our country has always thought of the DoD budget as a handy place to take money from to fund “social” programs that they support.
But even if we were to cease all overseas campaigns, and gut the DoD budget, that wouldn’t make a statistically significant dent in our nation’s deficit spending.
There is no way you can make the proposed cuts in the DoD budget just by “trimming fat” or looking for “wasteful spending.” The cuts will go far beyond trimming fat, and instead, cutting muscle, and probably even bone. Not only will major weapon system acquisitions be on the table, but large cuts in the services end strength would be needed to meet the putative goal.
If that’s the choice of the American people, so be it. But I would hope they would make that as an informed decision. Large cuts in the force structure of our services have tended to have unforeseen consequences. Or rather, consequences that many military professionals foresaw, but the public and the political class chose not to recognize.