Paul Ryan knows that reckless spending hurts national security

Reuters

Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan gestures as he speaks to supporters during a campaign event in Derry, N.H. on Sept. 29, 2012

Article Highlights

  • The vice presidential debate will offer a clear choice when it comes to America’s national defense. @MEaglen

    Tweet This

  • To date, the president’s defense cuts have killed or delayed key modernization plans from each branch of service.

    Tweet This

  • The nation agreed that when those in uniform are sent into combat, they will fight as the most effective force possible.

    Tweet This

Tonight's vice presidential debate will offer a clear choice when it comes to America's national defense. Vice President Joe Biden and the Obama administration have overseen hundreds of billions in military spending cuts while in office—before sequestration (automatic additional budget cuts) are set to take effect early next year.

To date, the president's defense budget cuts have killed or indefinitely delayed key modernization plans from each branch of service: the Air Force's F-22 Raptor, new Army networked vehicles and unmanned systems, the Marine Corps's Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle, and the Navy's new cruiser and ballistic missile submarine to name a few.

During last week's presidential candidate debate, Obama proudly claimed to be responsible for deep defense cuts throughout his time in office because they allowed the administration to focus education and training. He mentioned specifically the cancellation of a U.S. Air Force aircraft program. Expect Vice President Biden to follow in his footsteps tonight as the foundation is laid to take ever more defense dollars in a second Obama term and divert them to other federal spending priorities such as transportation, basic research, food stamps, and student loans; not debt reduction.

This approach stands in stark contrast with Republican Vice Presidential candidate Paul Ryan's "Path to Prosperity," the budget Ryan crafted as chairman of the House Budget Committee. While Ryan's 2013 budget only provided an incremental improvement over the Obama administration's military numbers—it added roughly 0.7 percent to the Defense Department topline—it did offer America a plausible path forward to reduce its growing burden of debt.

Ryan has a sober-eyed understanding that domestic spending, particularly on entitlements, is crowding out other federal priorities like providing for the common defense. As America borrows more from China in order to pay for unsustainable spending, our military will increasingly be asked to contribute disproportionately to debt reduction or other new spending. 

For most of the past century, the American public has maintained an unwritten but nearly sacred covenant with the men and women of the military. The nation has agreed that when those in uniform are sent into combat on our behalf, they will fight as the most sophisticated, powerful, and effective force possible. Technological superiority and advanced training ensure that when our sons and daughters or friends and neighbors go to war, they have every tool possible to get the mission done and come home safely and quickly.

This bond is rapidly eroding amidst as deeper defense cuts loom. If cuts like the past three years continue to key modernization programs, American forces will someday find themselves outgunned and overwhelmed in battle. And, by then, it will be too late to reverse course.

Voters want to hear specifics of each candidates' plans, not just attacks on the other guy's proposals. Tonight, they may just start to wonder if the only plan in town is Paul Ryan's.

Mackenzie Eaglen is a resident fellow in the Marilyn Ware Center for Security Studies.

Also Visit
AEIdeas Blog The American Magazine
About the Author

 

Mackenzie
Eaglen

What's new on AEI

AEI Election Watch 2014: What will happen and why it matters
image A nation divided by marriage
image Teaching reform
image Socialist party pushing $20 minimum wage defends $13-an-hour job listing
AEI on Facebook
Events Calendar
  • 27
    MON
  • 28
    TUE
  • 29
    WED
  • 30
    THU
  • 31
    FRI
Monday, October 27, 2014 | 10:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
State income taxes and the Supreme Court: Maryland Comptroller v. Wynne

Please join AEI for a panel discussion exploring these and other questions about this crucial case.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014 | 9:30 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.
For richer, for poorer: How family structures economic success in America

Join Lerman, Wilcox, and a group of distinguished scholars and commentators for the release of Lerman and Wilcox’s report, which examines the relationships among and policy implications of marriage, family structure, and economic success in America.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014 | 5:30 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
The 7 deadly virtues: 18 conservative writers on why the virtuous life is funny as hell

Please join AEI for a book forum moderated by Last and featuring five of these leading conservative voices. By the time the forum is over, attendees may be on their way to discovering an entirely different — and better — moral universe.

Thursday, October 30, 2014 | 2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.
A nuclear deal with Iran? Weighing the possibilities

Join us, as experts discuss their predictions for whether the United States will strike a nuclear deal with Iran ahead of the November 24 deadline, and the repercussions of the possible outcomes.

Thursday, October 30, 2014 | 5:00 p.m. – 6:15 p.m.
The forgotten depression — 1921: The crash that cured itself

Please join Author James Grant and AEI senior economists for a discussion about Grant's book, "The Forgotten Depression: 1921: The Crash That Cured Itself" (Simon & Schuster, 2014).

No events scheduled this day.
No events scheduled this day.
No events scheduled this day.
No events scheduled today.
No events scheduled this day.