August 17, 2011
At the risk of sounding like a broken record, yesterday during a joint press conference in Washington, Secretaries of Defense and State said entitlement program spending is putting America is at risk. With entitlement programs consuming more than 60 percent of the federal budget, America cannot afford delays in reforms that would inevitably add to the pressure to shortchange national security funding.
The new debt super-committee, enacted as part of this month’s debt deal, is charged with reducing the deficit by $1.2 trillion over the 10 years. Failure to achieve these savings would automatically trigger defense spending cuts with “devastating effects” for national defense, as Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta once again argued.
The Heritage Foundation’s Mackenzie Eaglen explains that the draconian cuts to our armed forces would result in a military ill-equipped to sustain its mission at home and around the world.
Secretary Panetta said any additional defense cuts—on top of the hundreds of billions over the past several years and hundreds of billions over the next 10 years—would result in a hollow force. The term “hollow force” describes the situation when readiness declines because the military does not have enough funding to provide trained and ready forces, support ongoing operations, and modernize simultaneously.
Like a freshly painted house with no plumbing or wiring inside, the military may appear functional, but in reality it would be too poorly trained and equipped to be reliable without incurring excessive and unnecessary risk.
Heritage has a plan to balance the budget and fix America’s entitlement programs without raising taxes or gutting military spending. Check out Saving the American Dream: Heritage’s plan to Fix the Debt, Cut Spending, and Restore Prosperity.