Military Analysts Weigh In on President's New Defense Strategy

Jan 10, 2012
Defense Drumbeat

Washington -- After the President released his new defense strategy last week, it did not take long for military analysts, editorial boards and members of the House Armed Services Committee to recognize the danger in a strategy that retreats from world leadership at a time of uncertainty and makes America less safe. Fox Special Report analyzed the President’s proposal along with the Washington Post Editorial Board, NBC Nightly News and several analysts. Excerpts are below:

Fox Special Report: McKeon – Massive cuts after a conflict is repeating mistakes of the past


“President Obama’s defense strategy rests on shaky assumptions” – “hardly seems responsible,”  Washington Post Editorial Board
“Even if that works, the judgment that such operations can be ruled out for the next decade strikes us as at odds with the reality of a Middle East in revolution, an increasingly belligerent Iran and a North Korea undergoing an unpredictable leadership transition — to name just the most obvious threats.

According to Deputy Defense Secretary Ashton Carter, under Mr. Obama’s plan 'you have over the next four years a reduction in total defense spending as rapid as any we experienced after Vietnam or after the Cold War.' Both those drawdowns are now almost universally regarded as having been unsustainable and shortsighted.

In fact, he has vowed to veto any bill that is limited to repealing the Pentagon sequestration. He seems to be trying to bluff Republicans into accepting other spending reductions or tax increases. But for the commander in chief to toy with measures that would materially damage U.S. national security hardly seems responsible.”

 Repeating a mistake by downsizing the Army again," Robert Scales 
(Robert H. Scales, a retired Army major general, is a former commandant of the U.S. Army War College).

“So, here we go again. The Obama administration will reduce its long-service, professional land force to pay for something called 'Air Sea Battle,' a strategy that seeks to buy more ships and planes in order to confront China with technology rather than people. This strategy shows a degree of a-historicism that exceeds that of any post-World War II administration. So much for remembering “the lessons of the past.

Here’s what the lessons of the past 70 years really teach us: We cannot pick our enemies; our enemies will pick us. They will, as they have always done in the past, cede to us dominance in the air, on sea and in space because they do not have the ability to fight us there. Our enemies have observed us closely in Iraq and Afghanistan, and they have learned the lessons taught by Mao Zedong, Ho Chi Minh and Saddam Hussein: America’s greatest vulnerability is dead Americans. So our future enemy will seek to fight us on the ground, where we have traditionally been poorly prepared.”

“It tells your adversaries… It’s time for mischief…”  
“I’m uneasy about recognizing up front that we are not going to retain that capability [fighting two wars], Because it tells your adversaries, they’re tied up in a place like Korea, it’s time for mischief…”  Gen. Barry McCaffrey (ret.)

“I’m not convinced we can do what we need to do with that small an army.”
On the President’s Proposal, “It means we're going to have to do what we need to do to defend this very large country with far fewer people… We are about ready to have an army that's smaller than the army was in Vietnam when I was fighting there. I’m not convinced we can do what we need to do with that small an army.”

“Despite what we want to do -- and that is keep the guard and reserve so they don't have to make constant trips over the ocean, we're going to continue to call them because we won't have enough people on active duty to take care of the little spots we have to take care of in the future,”
- Col. Jack Jacobs (ret., Medal of Honor Recipient)

112th Congress