The White House also opposes...
... provisions in the defense spending bill that would limit the military’s ability to transfer or retire “unneeded aircraft,” including Northrop Grumman’s RQ-4 Global Hawk.
... the Appropriations Committee’s decision to de-fund MEADS. The Pentagon has said it doesn’t plan to buy the missile-defense system, but it also doesn’t want to break an agreement with its partners on the project -- Germany and Italy.
... the committee’s decision to reverse the Pentagon’s proposed TRICARE fee hikes. The hikes “are essential for DOD to successfully address rising personnel costs,” the White House says.
The White House “strongly opposes” the House Appropriations Committee’s FY 2013 defense spending bill. The bill, which the committee passed last month, would set DOD’s base budget at $519 billion -- about $3 billion above what the Pentagon requested.
The Obama administration’s main problem with the bill is that it lines up with Paul Ryan’s budget plan, which has been approved by the House. That plan “fails the test of balance, fairness and shared responsibility by giving millionaires and billionaires a tax cut,” says an OMB statement outlining the administration’s objections.
With the war in Iraq over, the military involvement in Afghanistan winding down and federal spending squeezed by mounting debt, Obama has proposed reducing the defense budget by 4.9 percent from this year’s level.
"The question that this strategy answers is what kind of military will we need after the long wars of the last decade are over," the president told reporters. "Yes, our military will be leaner, but the world must know: The United States is going to maintain our military superiority with armed forces that are agile, flexible and ready for the full range of contingencies and threats."
But I’d encourage all of us to remember what President Eisenhower once said -- that “each proposal must be weighed in the light of a broader consideration: the need to maintain balance in and among national programs.” After a decade of war, and as we rebuild the source of our strength -- at home and abroad -- it’s time to restore that balance.
I think it’s important for all Americans to remember, over the past 10 years, since 9/11, our defense budget grew at an extraordinary pace. Over the next 10 years, the growth in the defense budget will slow, but the fact of the matter is this: It will still grow, because we have global responsibilities that demand our leadership. In fact, the defense budget will still be larger than it was toward the end of the Bush administration. And I firmly believe, and I think the American people understand, that we can keep our military strong and our nation secure with a defense budget that continues to be larger than roughly the next 10 countries combined.
At the same time, we have to renew our economic strength here at home, which is the foundation of our strength around the world. And that includes putting our fiscal house in order. To that end, the Budget Control Act passed by Congress last year -- with the support of Republicans and Democrats alike -- mandates reductions in federal spending, including defense spending. I’ve insisted that we do that responsibly. The security of our nation and the lives of our men and women in uniform depend on it.
Since President Obama took office, more than 50 major weapons programs at a value of more than $300 billion were cut or delayed. On top of this, the Administration told the military to cut almost $600 billion more over the next 15 years. And that’s before any cuts under the Budget Control Act take place.
We can't simply lop off 25 percent off the defense budget overnight. We have to think about all the obligations we have to our current troops who are in the field, and making sure they're properly equipped and safe. We've got to make sure that we are meeting our commitments for those veterans who are coming home. We've got to make sure that -- in some cases, we've got outdated equipment that needs to be replaced. And so I'm committed to reducing the defense budget, but as Commander-in-Chief, one of the things that we have to do is make sure that we do it in a thoughtful way that's guided by our security and our strategic needs.
Major reductions coming in the size of the Army and Marine Corps as part of agreement with congressional Republicans to cut $487 billion in military spending over a decade.
Building our economy is part of our national security. So my plan would take about half of the money that we're no longer spending on war, let's use it to put people back to work rebuilding our roads, our runways, our ports, laying broadband lines into rural communities, updating our wireless networks.
This effort is particularly important when it comes to our national defense, since waste and inefficiency there detracts from our efforts to focus resources on serving our men and women in uniform, and to invest in the future capabilities we need.
Today’s announcement by Secretary Gates is another step forward in the reform efforts he has undertaken to reduce excess overhead costs, cut waste, and reform the way the Pentagon does business. The funds saved will help us sustain the current force structure and make needed investments in modernization in a fiscally responsible way.
The President and his administration, along with the First Lady and Dr. Jill Biden, have secured commitments from private sector companies to hire unemployed veterans and worked to make sure returning servicemembers can find work when they come home. The President also took executive actions to help match veterans with potential employers, streamline the job search for returning servicemembers, and is working to provide veterans and their families better access to job training. Recently, the President announced his Veterans Jobs Corps initiative, which will put veterans back to work on a range of projects that benefit from the skills they developed in the military.