Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey said in February that he fully supports the Pentagon’s new budget, which incorporates $487 billion in cuts over 10 years, saying it will “maintain our military’s decisive edge and help sustain America’s global leadership.” Dempsey also said the corresponding strategy has “real buy-in” among top U.S. military leaders.
Despite the military’s support for President Obama’s DOD budget, the House GOP decided in its budget released last week to roll back those cuts, claiming the current levels are not sufficient to protect America’s national security.
Today at a “policy summit” hosted by the National Journal, managing editor Kristin Roberts asked the GOP’s budget guy Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) why the Republicans went “against the advice of the generals.” Ryan’s response? They were lying:
ROBERTS: Why did the committee choose to go against the advice of the generals?
RYAN: We don’t think the generals are giving us their true advice. We don’t think the generals believe that their budget is really the right budget. I believe that the president’s budget by virtue of the fact that when he released his budget number of about $500 billion, the number was announced at the same time they announced the beginning of their strategy review of the Pentagon’s budget. So what we get from the Pentagon is more of a budget driven strategy, not a strategy driven budget.
“You don’t believe the generals?” Roberts later wondered, asking Ryan to explain. However, the House Budget Committee chairman dodged, throwing out general baseless platitudes like Obama’s military budget “hollows out defense.” Watch the clip:
In addition to increasing military spending, the GOP’s budget will also cut foreign affairs spending. In response, more than 70 retired military officers wrote to Congress arguing that it should not implement those cuts. It’s likely then that Ryan thinks they’re lying too.
CNN reports the Pentagon’s response:
“The Secretary of Defense has been very clear with the military leadership in this department that they should provide independent military advice and be as straightforward as possible with members of Congress,” said Pentagon spokesman George Little. “That is a solemn obligation. We value Congress’s oversight role and the secretary expects honest, straightforward input from our military leadership and he believes that’s precisely what they do on a military basis time and time and time again.”