McKeon Differs with White House on Defense Policy

May 6, 2011
Defense Drumbeat

Yesterday, the Armed Services Committee Chairman Buck McKeon (R-CA) spoke before the Heritage Foundation, outlining his vision for a robust defense force meant to meet current and future national security challenges. This vision stands in contrast to the Obama Administration’s proposal to cut $400 billion dollars from the defense budget over the next 12 years, while simultaneously expanding our military commitments around the world.

This divide between McKeon and the White House was noticed clearly by Defense News who stated that “the battle lines over the U.S. defense budget debate became clearer this week.”

Increasing America’s involvement into three wars - Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya – then proposing to cut defense is not a viable strategy, according to McKeon.

In the Defense News article “McKeon Opposes White House Defense Policy,” McKeon references the numerous other commitments the U.S. has, in addition to America’s three wars as reasons not to cut defense:

“McKeon pointed to piracy, cybersecurity, humanitarian assistance, protecting space assets and deterring aggression from rising powers as areas where the military's roles are growing.”

Not to be forgotten is the U.S. Navy’s current assistance to the Japanese in earthquake recovery, as well as the past Haitian earthquake recovery last year.

Should the U.S. be cutting defense spending in this constantly changing and shifting security climate? Defense News provides some insight to this question:

While commending President Barack Obama for the successful operation to kill Osama bin Laden, McKeon said the president's leadership in other areas has been scarce….

"It's my sense that White House defense decisions are putting this great republic on the fast track for decline," McKeon said.

As he sees it, Obama's call to cut defense spending is part of a larger foreign policy trend, which McKeon does not like.

Chairman McKeon believes we should be investing and equipping a modernized military force focused on today’s and tomorrow’s challenges in the most efficient and effective way possible. The American taxpayers deserve no less in light of  current fiscal pressures facing the U.S. government, but Chairman McKeon believes “any savings identified in the defense budget should go back into defense” in order to meet those numerous national security challenges we face.

The text of the Heritage Foundation speech as well as video from the event can be found online.

112th Congress