The 2013 Defense Department budget presented by the Obama administration cuts military spending by $487 billion over 10 years, which translates into eliminating six Air Force fighter squadrons, cutting 16 ships from the Navy, and reducing the Army and Marine Corps by 80,000 to 100,000 troops over five years. Our erroneous thinking is that future wars will be fought with more high technology weapons and fewer troops. The problem is we could lose highly qualified military personnel because of the cutbacks in the size of our military and changes to their benefits. The end result could mean we will have a plethora of high technology weapon systems available, but lack the quantity and quality of non-commissioned and commissioned military leaders to employ the equipment.
The plan calls for delay of the next generation ballistic missile submarine, slows down the procurement of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter and amphibious assault ships, and might reduce our nuclear arsenal.
Another $600 billion in defense cuts could be enacted if Congress does not act to change current laws.
The theory behind all of these cuts is the U.S. will not be involved in large scale protracted wars in the future, but will employ more special operations forces and more technically advanced weapons systems. The strategy calls for attempting to stabilize
the Asia-Pacific and Middle East regions.
Unfortunately, in my view, our military strategy might be faulty. Let’s look at a few countries who could be potential adversaries.
China, a hard line Communist country, has a multi-million man army and a large air force. It is upgrading its missile systems and developing anti-ship missiles that could threaten U.S. naval forces. It is in the process of deploying two aircraft carriers and building up its submarine fleet. China seeks to dominate Southeast Asia and wants to annex Taiwan. It is a close ally of North Korea.
North Korea has a million man army, continues to expand its missile capabilities, and has test fired long range missiles over Japan into the Pacific. It poses a threat to South Korea, and maintains a goal of uniting Korea under its domain. It has nuclear weapons and continues to sell nuclear and missile technology to a number of countries, including Iran.
Iran is another bellicose nation which threatens the Middle East region with an aggressive attitude and the potential development of nuclear weapons. It has missile systems capable of hitting targets in other Arab countries, Israel and Western Europe. Iran has acquired some submarines and is building up its navy. It has a close relationship with Venezuela and might want to establish a naval base in that country.
Venezuela, under Chavez, threatens Columbia and other South American and Central American countries. Chavez is friendly with Castro of Cuba, and has developed a military relationship with Russia. He has purchased a significant quantity of arms from Russia and has allowed Russian warships to use Venezuelan port facilities.
Russia is a Communist country that could still threaten world peace. Russia typically lines up with China and North Korea on world military, economic and trade policies, and it supports Iran’s nuclear program. Russia is upgrading its land military forces with the latest weaponry and is refurbishing its navy.
It should be noted that two countries who started WWII, Germany and Japan, had a long history of worshiping and using military power to expand their sphere of influence in the world. They were not hesitant to commit murder and barbaric atrocities to people they subjugated, and in Germany’s case, their own citizens, covering the religious, political and intellectual spectrum. As has been the situation since the end of WWII, the U.S. should continue to station a modest number of troops in Germany and Japan to deter resumption of any Fascist/militaristic direction in these countries.
Another concern for the U.S. is the potential rise of radical Islamists in a number of countries in North Africa and the Middle East, including Tunisia, Libya and Egypt. As the totalitarian governments in the region fail, they could be replaced with Islamic forces who might implement Sharia law and who could be antagonistic and possibly adversarial to the U.S.
The world is fraught with danger to the U.S. and other democratic nations, and the weakening of the U.S. military with the proposed budget cuts could embolden potential adversaries to expand militarily in their respective regions. History should have taught us that disarmament programs implemented after prior wars contributed to unrest in the world and facilitated new wars.
We need to maintain a strong military posture to protect our national security and promote peace in the world by deterring potential adversaries from launching military adventures.
Donald A. Moskowitz
Former PO2 and LT, U.S. Navy
Don Moskowitz is a well known prolific writer on subjects of the nation and the world that spark his interest. Retiring from the US Navy in 1967 as a Lieutenant, he often writes on military and political maters he is very active in the Londonderry American Legion. A long career in corporate management he retired after developing a successful business with multiple locations in southern New Hampshire.
He lives in Londonderry, New Hampshire with his wife Betty, they have three children and four grandchildren.