Don’t give the Pentagon the pink slip

Petty Officer 3rd Class Joshua Keim/U.S. Navy

Petty Officer 2nd Class Matthew Burger, a visit, board, search and seizure team member aboard the guided-missile destroyer USS Dewey (DDG 105), leads his team across the missile deck toward the bridge during a joint-training exercise with U.S. Coast Guardsmen in the Red Sea on Jan. 14, 2012. The Dewey is deployed to the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility conducting maritime security operations.

Article Highlights

  • Much more work needs to be done to help the military recover from already ruinous cuts @meaglen

    Tweet This

  • Obama gives the pink slip to 100,000 active duty personnel, and that's just the beginning

    Tweet This

  • Defense sequestration cuts would eliminate more than 1 million American jobs

    Tweet This

Tonight, President Obama spoke at length about revitalizing American manufacturing and betting on American workers.  Citing the courage and determination of America’s service members, the President argued that America can soon get back on its feet.  Despite this soaring rhetoric however, the President’s message is truly frustrating—and hypocritical.  The administration’s policies are directly contributing to unemployment and the decline of American industry, and what is more, they are putting our men and women in uniform at risk by denying them the cutting edge technology they need.

The President is already giving the pink slip to 100,000 active duty personnel.  These are soldiers and Marines who are returning home from combat only to find that the government that they risked their lives to defend no longer wishes to employ them.  And these cuts are only the beginning.

"This hurts our national security but more importantly, it hurts our men and women putting their lives on the line for all of us."--Mackenzie Eaglen

The sequestration cuts triggered by the failure of the Super Committee would eliminate more than one million jobs across America as production lines shut down and the defense industrial base falls into decay.  The cuts from sequestration alone would raise national unemployment by .6%. 

It gets worse.  The sequestration cuts would not just end jobs—they would gut research, development, and procurement of vital next-generation programs that the military relies upon to maintain technological dominance on the battlefield.  Since the Second World War, America has maintained a simple contract with its armed forces: America will send you into battle when necessary to protect the nation’s vital interests, but when you go to war, you will do so with the finest equipment and training possible. 

Over the past few years, the Obama administration has been all too quick to say to the military, “Maybe you don’t need quite the best equipment. Maybe you can get by with older planes, ships, and tanks.”  This hurts our national security but more importantly, it hurts our men and women putting their lives on the line for all of us.   This would be irresponsible for any President, but it rings especially hypocritical for one who puts such emphasis on everyday hardworking Americans. 

The future does not have to be like this.  President Obama can maintain America’s contract with its military and help keep American jobs by working to undo the disastrous sequestration cuts and infusing much-needed capital into the defense budget.  More work—much more work—needs to be done in order to help the military recover from already ruinous reductions, but as the President himself said, “America remains the one indispensible nation in the world.”  Let us resolve to keep it that way.

Mackenzie Eaglen is a resident fellow at AEI

Also Visit
AEIdeas Blog The American Magazine
About the Author

 

Mackenzie
Eaglen
  • Mackenzie Eaglen has worked on defense issues in the U.S. Congress, both House and Senate, and at the Pentagon in the Office of the Secretary of Defense and on the Joint Staff. She specializes in defense strategy, budget, military readiness and the defense industrial base. In 2010, Ms. Eaglen served as a staff member of the congressionally mandated Quadrennial Defense Review Independent Panel, a bipartisan, blue-ribbon commission established to assess the Pentagon's major defense strategy. A prolific writer on defense related issues, she has also testified before Congress.


     


    Follow Mackenzie Eaglen on Twitter.

  • Phone: (202) 862-7183
    Email: mackenzie.eaglen@aei.org
  • Assistant Info

    Name: Charles Morrison
    Phone: (202) 862-5945
    Email: charles.morrison@aei.org

What's new on AEI

image The Census Bureau and Obamacare: Dumb decision? Yes. Conspiracy? No.
image A 'three-state solution' for Middle East peace
image Give the CBO long-range tools
image The coming collapse of India's communists
AEI on Facebook
Events Calendar
  • 14
    MON
  • 15
    TUE
  • 16
    WED
  • 17
    THU
  • 18
    FRI
Wednesday, April 16, 2014 | 10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.
Calling treason by its name: A conversation with Liam Fox

Join us at AEI as the Right Honorable Liam Fox sits down with Marc Thiessen to discuss and debate whether America’s intelligence agencies have infringed on the personal privacy of US citizens.

Thursday, April 17, 2014 | 4:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
The curmudgeon's guide to getting ahead

How can young people succeed in workplaces dominated by curmudgeons who are judging their every move? At this AEI book event, bestselling author and social scientist Charles Murray will offer indispensable advice for navigating the workplace, getting ahead, and living a fulfilling life.

Event Registration is Closed
No events scheduled this day.
No events scheduled this day.
No events scheduled this day.
No events scheduled this day.
No events scheduled this day.
No events scheduled this day.