Future Cuts Transform a Superpower into a Regional Power
Executive Summary, September 23, 2011
We believe potential cuts to the military pose a serious threat that would break the back of our armed forces while slowing our economic recovery and doing little to resolve our debt crisis. These cuts would destroy jobs and stall the economy, they could force America to return to the draft, and we would incur more casualties as we defend our freedom. Future cuts could come in the form of a sequestration trigger or if President Obama chooses to cut the military further.
Americans have been loud and clear in demanding an end to our debt driven financial crisis and Congress has responded by putting everything on the table-‐ including funding America’s military. $465 billion in cuts to the military budget are already on track for the next ten years. In the near term, these cuts will force us to root out waste, eliminate inefficiencies, and re-‐prioritize projects. These cuts are tough and will force the military to shrink to force levels not seen in over a decade. Deeper cuts to our military, which has already endured the largest share of cuts in government spending, would be irresponsible. As the examples below illustrate, some in Washington are contemplating changes to our military that Americans will find unacceptable.
Future Cuts: Vital Missions at Risk
Hundreds of billions in additional cuts would not only force our military to give up on developing new weapons systems, we would also have to give up much of what we already have and forego fixing the rest.
The Navy will likely mothball more than 60 ships, including two carrier battle groups, while we give up nearly a third of Army Maneuver Battalions and Air Force fighters, a quarter of our bombers, and jeopardize our ability to defend America against a nuclear attack. As a service, the Marine Corps will be broken – unable to be the expeditionary force in ready, upon which we have so often relied. America has struggled to defend our vital interests with a hollow force before. Many Americans remember how a hollow force in the post–Vietnam Carter era of the late 1970’s led to the Desert One fiasco. Vital allies, like Taiwan and Israel, could be left undefended against the rise of competitors like China or enemies like Iran. American freedom depends on protecting vital interests around the world. With a hollow force akin to the Carter era, defending our freedom will be harder and cost more in terms of both blood and treasure.
Future Cuts: Breaking Faith with Our All–Volunteer Military
Our military cannot absorb deeper cuts without breaking the promises Americans have made to those who have fought so hard for so long. At a time when our military and their families have made sacrifices for a decade, future cuts could force health care and retirement to be dramatically reduced. With fewer troops in the military, deployments will be longer and more frequent. At the same time, the threats to America will not be reduced. Broken promises and long deployments will cause many of our troops to vote with their feet and leave the force. Our all-‐volunteer military could become unsustainable.
Future Cuts: Destroying Jobs and Stalling the Economy
America’s military does more than defend freedom against those who attack us directly. They also secure vital lanes of commerce around the world. Innovative defense technologies and the production of weapons systems here in America provide millions of good jobs across the country. Hundreds of billion dollars more in cuts will force major manufacturing operations, like shipyards, to close. Bases around the country will be shut down. 200,000 Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, and Marines will be out of work as well as hundreds of thousands of civilians. GDP could shrink by .34% and unemployment could rise to 10%.
“To try to break the back of the recession on the backs of the military means who will have our back the next time we’re attacked?” – CHAIRMAN HOWARD P. “BUCK” MCKEON
Read the full report: Assessment of Impacts of Budget Cuts (PDF, 14 pages, 890k)