May 11, 2016
The Senate today marks up its version of the National Defense Authorization Act, the defense budgeting bill. The full House of Representatives is expected to consider their version of the bill next week.
Justin Johnson, a defense budget expert at the Heritage Foundation, warns that U.S. military might has been decimated by budget cuts totaling 25 percent over the last 5 years. “It will take years to rebuild our armed forces to the level needed to defeat growing global threats,” he said. “We must start making the necessary investments now.”
“America cannot simply ‘stand pat,’” he said. “We now have the smallest Army since World War II, and the Administration wants to cut another 30,000 Army troops over the next two years. The Air Force is the smallest since its creation in the 1940s, and the Navy is the smallest we’ve had since 1916.”
“The military as a whole is smaller than it was on 9/11. Our forces are spread too thin, and more and more of them are unfit for deployment. It’s a recipe for defeat.”
The House version of the bill would begin to reverse the worrisome trends, Johnson said. It would increase Army and Marine troop levels and invest in additional ships for the Navy and additional aircraft for the Air Force.
“It will take years to rebuild the U.S. military,” Johnson said, “but that’s exactly what Congress and the Administration should be focused on. The must budget wisely today to ensure our military is ready for the missions of tomorrow.”