I remember it as if it were right now, the moment when the House Armed Services Committee GOP members met with Speaker John Boehner regarding the sequestration. We all had concerns about supporting the Budget Control Act because it was placing huge responsibility on the so-called “Super Committee” that would find the requisite spending cuts. If the committee did not, then automatic cuts would be enacted, especially against the major function of the federal government, providing for the common defense. We all know the Super Committee failed, as Washington DC does when it comes to truly cutting wasteful spending, and those massive deadly cuts to our defense kicked in.
Speaker Boehner told us the sequester would never happen. Sadly, I believed him. I voted for the Budget Control Act of 2011 and to this day wish that I had not. We’d already seen the Defense Department subjected to budget cuts; now even more were to come. And today we have the progressive socialist left, the Democrats, demanding they will not support a budget if there are increases in defense spending but not for their pet domestic programs.
As well, the Democrats are placing our men and women in uniform, our national security, second to their ideological agenda of getting amnesty for illegal immigrants. Seriously, there are folks who wish these people to be in the majority in the U.S. House and Senate?
Here’s a simple fact that should disturb all Americans. In the past year there were 21 military deaths due to hostile combat engagements. In the same time frame, there were 80 military deaths due to training accidents. What we’re seeing is our military members losing their lives due to a lack of training and maintenance.
We’ve shared with you, ad nauseam, the issues with combat readiness, such as 50 percent of our combat aviation fleet being non-mission capable (NMC). We all know about the disturbing number of naval ship mishaps, due to the stress of deployments and lack of training certifications of crews…not to mention the excessive duty hours resulting from massive personnel cuts.
Perhaps there are few of you who understand that we have a smaller Army now than we had prior to 9-11.
Yes, I know, many of you are going to say we spend too much on our military. Y’all are gonna tell me about the millions of dollars missing in the DoD, Yes, I got it and I always supported an audit of our Department of Defense.
However, ask yourself, how is it that we’ve had a military undergo the stress and strains of the sequester but the only cuts to personnel and resources have been against our frontline men and women in uniform? We’re cutting the heart and soul of our force, yet we constantly see a growth of the defense bureaucracy, along with an even more bloated defense procurement and acquisition system. We have more military contractors and defense civilian employees, but we’ve seen a degradation of our fighting force…fewer Army combat brigades, fewer Marine combat battalions, fewer navy surface vessels, and the oldest/smallest combat aviation fleet in U.S. Air Force history.
What’s happening with our Defense Department is perverse. What’s happening in our Congress is appalling. How can we have an effective defense strategy when they have no idea as to its funding? How can we have an effective national military strategy when it’s based on the dollars given, and not the threats we face? Why are members of Congress paid for the incompetence of not being able to present a budget, their most basic job, and fund our government…our military? And why do we accept the liberal progressive insanity of placing the welfare nanny-state expansion over the men and women in uniform who keep us safe…not to mention they prioritize illegal immigrants over our unformed service members.
It sickens me that there are those who see our national defense, those willing to make the last full measure of devotion, as bill payers for this legislative incompetence. I learned my lesson as a freshman Member of Congress: never trust a doggone politician when it comes to our military. I will never make that mistake again. None of us should.
Our troops should never have to sit in limbo wondering if they will be resourced. While the folks on Capitol Hill dither, our adversaries march on developing their capability to match, and in some cases, overmatch our military capability and capacity.
Those 80 who lost their lives in training related incidents…it did not have to be so.
[Learn more about Allen West’s vision for this nation in his book Guardian of the Republic: An American Ronin’s Journey to Faith, Family and Freedom]