In 1992, after the first gulf war, President Bush downsized the Army to 525,000, the number of soldiers required to fight two wars simultaneously. In 1993, President Clinton decided to reduce the Army to around 475,000 to obtain a “peace dividend.”
After 9/11, the Army was woefully short of the manpower to fight the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. Soldiers were faced with back-to-back combat tours with only a one-year break in between.
President Obama is leading us into that same scenario. His defense proposal cuts the Army and the Marines by around 100,000 troops. In my opinion, these large cuts are irresponsible even with his new defense plan.
Nothing is more important than our national security, and worldwide threats still exist. Yet the president thinks playing nice with our adversaries (like Russia) and making huge cuts in defense is a sound strategy for the future.
Obama is also proposing major changes to military retirement and health care benefits. He wants to align them more with the private sector. When was the last time someone in the private sector dodged bullets or IEDs on their way to work?
It is not surprising that Congressman Joe Wison, R-S.C., chairman of the House Armed Services Personnel Subcommittee, and other Republicans are opposing these large cuts and major changes to benefits. While I applaud Sen. Patty Murray’s work with Veterans Affairs, I would suggest all military members look at who has primarily supported them over the years and vote accordingly.