Congressmen launch “Defending Our Defenders” to stop defense cuts

While the economy may be driving the 2012 election cycle, a couple of Congressmen have hit the campaign trail to raise the awareness about the impending half-a-trillion dollar cuts that Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said would hinder America’s national security.

Congressmen Duncan Hunter Jr. (R-CA) and Randy Forbes (R-VA) both serve on the House Armed Services Readiness Subcommittee that is tackling the enormous defense spending cuts set for January 1, 2013.

Defending Our Defenders,” town hall-style events embarked on a seven-city tour to military rich communities hoping residents will acknowledge the regional impact that $500,000 billion in cuts would bring to their cities.

“San Diego is rich in military history and tradition,” explained Rep. Hunter, a member of the House Armed Services Committee and a Middle East War veteran at the San Diego meeting. “The Navy and the Marine Corps have a longstanding relationship with San Diego and their presence is a major part of our regional economy and identity. With the shift in defense strategy to the Pacific, San Diego will remain a strategic asset with its network of resources, infrastructure and technology.”

Hunter pointed out that the proposed defense cuts will continue to affect San Diego for the next 10 years and no branch of the armed services will escape unscathed. “There will be reductions in strength, meaning a smaller Marine Corps and Army.”

In fact, Hunter stressed the U.S. will be forced to control the international waters with a much smaller Navy. And a smaller Navy adversely affects the Naval shipyards in San Diego that employs countless civilian workers.

Local San Diego statistics show there are approximately 300,000 jobs directly or indirectly tied to defense industry.

“If these cuts go through, we are going to be dangerously close to where we cannot guarantee our national security. An economic tidal wave will hit San Diego and the rest of the country and we could lose as many as one million jobs nationwide,” according to Rep. Forbes.

As for the Golden State, the massive military cuts are estimated to end 125,789 jobs and remove $10.79 billion in state revenues California desperately relies on to cover its bills.

“This is something that ought to be in every Congressional debate, as we go into the November election. I think it’s a fair thing to say, ‘Where do you stand on defense cuts, and what’s your proposal to stop them?’” said Rep. Forbes regarding the consequences from scaling back America’s national defense.

The half-empty Shiley Theater at the University of San Diego concerned Republican Congressman Hunter. “This tells me that people don’t understand the gravity of the situation.”

Hunter also lambasted local media for leaving early, and voiced his disappointment that neither San Diego mayoral candidates bothered to show up and learn more about the impending financial set back the city will face next year. One candidate Rep. Bob Filner (D-CA) has served on numerous veteran committees in DC during his tenure as a Democrat.

Forbes told the roughly 100 attendees that he didn’t understand why Americans don’t care about the Middle East Wars and encouraged the audience to begin a dialog in their neighborhoods.

However, critics point to the size and scope of U.S. military compared to the rest of the world and told the Congressmen that America’s constant need to rule the world needs to come to an end.

The following is an overview of the proposed armed services cuts:


China Poised to Outpace us in the Pacific

As America draws down the Navy, China continues to improve the quantity and quality of its fleet:

• Outnumbered 2 to 1: By 2020 the Peoples Republic of China (PRC) will have 75 submarines, while our Pacific submarine force will number less than half that at 32.

• Outgunned by 50 percent: China’s anti-ship cruise missiles out-range us by nearly 50 percent, 185km to 124km. Meanwhile the PRC is developing an anti-ship ballistic missile that can strike our carriers far from the coast.

• Cuts set to take effect next January would force a reduction in the fleet to just 230 ships, according to Congressional testimony and public statements from Navy leadership.

• Last year, “the Navy was only able to source an average of 59 percent of the Combatant Commanders’ requirements. Without question, the Fleet is operating now at an unsustainable level,” according to Nov 2011 HASC Testimony of VADM Clingan, Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Operations, Plans and Strategy.

Retiring the Royal Navy

The Navy has proposed scrapping seven cruisers well before the end of their service lives. The battle force missile capacity of these ships is more than double that of the entire United Kingdom Royal Navy surface fleet.


Unable to Fulfill Warfighter Demand

Given its current commitments in Afghanistan, the Marine Corps would be unable to meet combatant commander timelines necessary for success in a second major contingency operation, according to 2011 testimony from the Deputy Commandant of the Marine Corps GEN Dunford.


Pink Slipping 13 percent of Our Warfighters

Roughly 200,000 active duty service members will have to leave service. This would be the equivalent of eliminating the entire Marine Corps.

Slashing the National Guard

80-100,000 of these cuts could come from the Army National Guard. This would cripple states’ ability to respond to a natural disaster or terrorist attack, and severely limit the Army and Marine Corps’ flexibility to respond to a major contingency overseas.


Ceding our pre-eminence in the skies

In just ten years, the United States has gone from a position of dominant air superiority over the Chinese in a conflict over the Taiwan Strait, according to a study by the RAND Corporation, to a place where the same organization says the United States ‘can no longer be confident in winning’ an air war against China. Over that same period, the Air Force cancelled the F-22, retired 235 legacy fighters early, and is now proposing retiring another 123 combat aircraft.

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© Copyright 2012 Kimberly Dvorak All Rights Reserved.

About thekdreport

Investigative journalist

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