Last week U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel announced a major cut back in U.S. Armed forces just days before Russia put “troops” into the Crimea making it clear Russia will be an influence in the Ukraine. This action is consistent with the Obama administration’s “lead from behind” foreign policy approach.
Most Americans agree that we don’t want or need another war and the truth is that troops on the ground is less an issue than ever before because of the huge advancement in technology. The general belief is that the real threat to our country is from extremist groups both inside and outside of our borders. This logic aside we are doing a great disservice to our country by lowering the standards for our military.
When you limit the pay increases of the armed forces, lessen housing allowances and reduce food subsides you drive out the cream of the services to private industry. Those left in the military frequently stay because they have no other place to go. They are also inclined to be less technically savvy and that is where the future of the military is going to sink or swim.
Secretary Hagel is in sync with the administrations “lead from behind” approach to our foreign policy. While it is true we can look forward to Obama leaving in 2017 the negative affects of wide spread cuts could be long lasting and present large cost increases when we try to reverse this Obama policy.
There is a hope that if the conservative elements in this country take over the U.S. Senate and retain control in the U.S. House of Representatives this year they could block any action on the reductions Secretary Hagel is proposing. It should be noted that on the CBS TV network show “Face The Nation” reporters/panel members speculated based on their conversations with the Pentagon that the actual cut back would probably end up at 280,000 troops, a small fraction of the population in a country of 360 million citizens. Bottom line we need to stop the reduction in the housing and food subsidies and eliminate the constraint on pay raises. I believe the country would support some reduction in troops with the understanding that technology and a strike force military make sense. What we don’t want is to send a signal to the world that we are going to remain in a position of “leading from behind.”