The FY2015 Obama Defense Budget

The Obama administration’s proposed FY2015 budget for the Department of Defense is deeply troubling. At a time when threats to the United States’ and our allies’ security are proliferating rather than receding, the cuts recently announced ensure we will meet this uncertainty with a smaller force and aging material. This will limit U.S. options in future crises, increase the risks borne by our young men and women in uniform when deployed, and undermine the position of strength that underpins American diplomatic efforts.

Although the Pentagon’s spiraling personnel costs and wasteful procurement programs need to be addressed, such reforms must be part of a broader, strategy-driven process. Unfortunately, this budget is based on the arrogant assumption we can accurately predict which threats and crises we will face in the future. History shows this has never been the case, and future adversaries will challenge us where we are least prepared.

As Ronald Reagan once said, “Of the four wars in my lifetime, none came about because the U.S. was too strong.” Combined with precipitous withdrawals from ongoing conflicts and the refusal to enforce declared redlines, this budget risks furthering the growing perception that America is abdicating its traditional global leadership role and standing by as an assortment of hostile powers and non-state actors fill the void.

A central component of JINSA’s mission is to advocate on behalf of a strong U.S. defense posture, and we hope the Obama administration and Congress will work to reorient and significantly upgrade this budget so that the United States will maintain the capacity to properly protect its security and interests abroad.