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Cutting The Defense Budget….And Our Throats


Bookmark and Share    Hurray!   During this period of troubling economic times, with increasingly poor economic indicators and concerns over deficit spending, President Obama’s new administration has proposed their first budget cuts.

Out of all the  cuts that can be made, these proposed budget reduction measures are proposed in of all places, our defense budget

These proposed cuts came from one of the administrations few Republicans, the Secretary of Defense. The same Defense Secretary that was given the job by former President Bush.

I saw President Obama’s decision to keep Secretary Gates on, as a wise decision. I saw the perceived acceptance of continuity in the advice given in regards to our national defense as a prudent decision.

It is probably part of the reason why President Obama has not changed our approach to the war in Iraq. The advice and leadership of Secretary Gates has amounted to President Obama’s continuation of the Bush policy in Iraq and the time schedule set in motion by Secretary Gates under the direction of former President Bush. That is a bit ironic since President Obama campaigned on changing the Bush policy in Iraq and pulling out of there as soon as possible.

Yet the latest advice of Secretary Gates is a bit concerning.

He is the only cabinet official to have suggested budget cuts, at this point in time, but I am not sure that the defense of our nation is where I want the budget cut.

I am also not sure that I agree with the specific proposed reduction of national defense monies regarding the specific proposal he made.

Secretary Gates wants to cut back on air born laser anti missile development and technology or ABL.

Now, unless my short-term memory fails me, North Korea  just fired off a rocket that scared the bejeezus out of the international community. The damn thing flew over Japan, an ally of ours, and an enemy to the crazed regime running the show in North Korea.

The North Koreans said they were putting a satellite up into orbit. That explanation didn’t really satisfy the powers that be. First of all, U.S. intelligence sees no evidence of a new satellite up there. Secondly with the scientific capabilities that North Korea possess, the only working technology that they could possible place into orbit is a transistor radio. And it would be an AM one at that.

So all this suggests nothing but ominous intentions on their behalf. They could be using their new found ability to raise much needed money for their faltering economy by selling this rocket to another upstanding, humanitarian minded nation like maybe Iran. Such a move will not exactly be an advance for the cause of peace in the world. Of course North Korea could intend to use it for transportation. They could want to transport a missile that is armed with the nuclear capabilities that they claimed to have stopped trying to obtain.

Either way, the fact that they fired a missile that can strike too many vulnerable American allies as well as the United States itself, makes me wonder how wise it is to reduce government spending by eliminating a technology that could shoot down the next Taepodong-2 multistage rocket.

According to Gates, his proposed budget is “the product of a holistic assessment of capabilities, requirements, risks and needs for the purpose of shifting this department in a different strategic direction.”

As for the laser technology that could be used to shoot down a future Taepodong-2 rocket, Gates stated “the ABL program has significant affordability and technology problems, and the program’s proposed operational role is highly questionable.”

That assessment and the decision to go through with halting use and study of the technology is beyond disappointing. In my view it is distressing.

ABL-like technology was first popularized back in the 80’s when President Ronald Reagan initiated studies for the military implementation of what he called a Strategic Defensive Initiative.

Back then, the left tried to ridicule Reagan for this pursuit. They tried to trivialize it by calling it Star Wars and defining it is imaginary capabilities dreamed up by a doddering old fool.

But while doing that, Ronald Reagan used SDI to win the Cold War and he used it to eventually bring about the collapse of the “evil empire”.

The last leader of the former Soviet Union, Mikhail Gorbachev knew that his country could not spare enough of its own money to study SDI and try to compensate for America’s use of such potential technology.  So in arms negotiations with Reagan, Gorbachev agreed to eliminate all of the Soviet empire’s nuclear arsenal if the United States promised to drop SDI.

Reagan said no.

He felt that that SDI was a new approach to the threat of nuclear weapons. It was a defensive tool and as such it posed no threat to anyone. The only offense it could be to our enemies would be the fact that, if it worked, it would render the missiles aimed at us, ineffective.  Since it was not a threat to anyone, Reagan refused to negotiate it away.

The move proved to make it impossible for the Soviet Union to continue its arms race and it ultimately led to the transformation of a new Russia.

Years later SDI technology has continued to prove itself to be quite valuable and its continued development increases our ability to shoot down potential threats to America or allies.

The recent activities of North Korea and their promise to retaliate if the world community places any sanctions against them, helps to demonstrate the need for our increased use of, and study of,  the type of technology that the Defense Secretary is proposing to abandon.

As President Obama returns homes from his tour of Europe and surprise visit to Iraq, I am more convinced than ever that we need to increase funding for capabilities such as ABL.  After President Obama went abroad and promised to stop flexing America’s muscle in favor of going along with what the rest of the world wants, I believe that the ability to shoot down missiles aimed at us will become increasingly crucial to our security.

I believe that President Obama’s policies will do little to discourage our enemies from becoming bullies in their own right. His policies will do little to convince places like North Korea to stop their pursuit of nuclear capabilities or the need to produce rocket systems that can reach America.

His policies will help to increase the need for us to shoot such rockets down. Yet the means to do so is now being scrapped.

So I am glad to finally see our government attempt to cut the budget and to rid itself of a program but this is not the government program to cut.

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