The Obama administration has announced plans for a cheaper, slimmed down military, eliminating its ability to fight two major wars simultaneously.
President Obama insists that his new strategy will allow U.S. forces to fight terrorism and confront new threats from Iran and China, according to CNN.
“Over the next ten years, the growth in the defense budget will slow. But the fact of the matter is…it will still grow because we have global responsibilities that demand our leadership,” Obama said during a visit to the Pentagon.
He cited the fact that the U.S. military budget is larger than the next ten countries combined, and insisted that the nation would be able to remain strong and secure despite the downsize.
He said that “the tide of the war is receding,” referring to the end of the U.S. military role in Iraq and plans to withdraw from Afghanistan, according to CNN.
Obama’s strategy focuses on China and Iran, promising to keep strategically critical seal lanes open and successfully combat missile, electronic, cyber and other threats.
The plan will include budget cuts of about $489 billion in defense over the next 10 years. Factors leading to the cuts include judgments about how to contain a growing cost of military health care, pay and retirement benefits. The cutbacks in Marine Corps and Army are expected to begin in 2015.
In addition, the new plan will strengthen U.S. military presence in the Asian-Pacific region and invest in NATO and other international partnerships. Obama’s plan will also shift military spending away from a combat troop presence in the Middle East to intelligence gathering, surveillance and counter-terrorism.
Republicans immediately disagreed with the Commander in Chief, calling the plans a retreat from the reality of America’s global responsibility. Rep. Buck McKeon of California, GOP chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, says Obama’s massive cuts to the military revoke the guarantee that America will support our allies, defend our interests ad defy our opponents. He thinks that if America steps back, someone else will step forward.
Obama defended his plan, saying that because of scarce resources, Congress should modernize the military along with the rest of the government.
“Some will no doubt say the spending reductions are too big, others will say they’re too small,” Obama said. “I would encourage all of us to remember what President Eisenhower once said, that each proposal must be weighed in the light of a broader consideration.”