Rep. Buck McKeon (R-CA), chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, has been attacking President Obama for wanting to reduce military spending. Earlier this month, the President announced nearly $400 billion in security spending cuts over the next 12 years and McKeon is not happy. However, it’s unclear why.
McKeon, along with other right wing war hawks criticizing Obama’s proposal, doesn’t really have any specific reasons as to why the United States should continue senseless spending on the military. (Here are a few good reasons why defense spending should be cut, and how it can be done.)
Take for example, his op-ed today in USA Today. McKeon says Obama’s proposal is “dangerous,” carves “out critical capabilities,” “will weaken our nation,” “leave us vulnerable to attack,” and will “intensify the stresses on our troops while eliminating the resources available to them.” But he doesn’t say how. Not once does McKeon offer any evidence to back these claims up (he also tries to use Defense Secretary Robert Gates for cover, but not only is Gates leaving the top DOD post, he signaled last week that he’s on board with Obama’s cuts.)
So what else does McKeon have? Lack of planning:
President Obama’s announcement earlier this month on Pentagon cuts was nothing short of shocking. It came after little consultation with his Defense Department. There appears to have been no consideration of threats, of deterrence, of logistics, or capabilities — or even the effect such cuts would have on our three wars, our troops, or our national security.
Obama’s plan may have come with little consulting because, as the President said in his speech, the specific military spending cuts will be the result of consulting with the Defense Department. “We’re going to have to conduct a fundamental review of America’s missions, capabilities, and our role in a changing world,” Obama said, “And I will make specific decisions about spending after it’s complete.”
So in the end, McKeon doesn’t have any real reason why military spending shouldn’t be reduced. His argument seems to be: just because. Meanwhile, President Obama today announced he would nominate CIA Director Leon Panetta to succeed Gates. As one expert noted, Panetta moving to DOD “probably means bigger cuts to the Defense budget…Panetta will be more interested in getting along with the White House, which must find ways of cutting the deficit.” Maybe McKeon is a little nervous. Why? Perhaps in the future, he’ll lay out the specifics.