Despite many Libertarian-leaning Republicans as well as more than a few in the Tea Party who embrace a non-interventionist sentiment, even those who seek a smaller federal government are admitting that an eviscerated Armed Forces is sorely in need of rebuilding. As reported by the government oriented The Hill news portal on April 5, 2015, two of the most prominent voices to keep America free of foreign military entanglements have come to realize the Pentagon is past due beefing up.
As reported, Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) offered an amendment last month to the GOP’s proposed budget that would have increased military spending to $696 billion, the same amount endorsed by both G.W. Bush’s and Obama’s former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates. As the Bluegrass Senator told The Hill, he’s not bending to the political winds but instead making the point that increased defense spending shouldn’t add to the deficit due to his added proviso to cut foreign aid.
Sen. Paul isn’t the only non-interventionist realizing the poor state of readiness of America’s fighting forces. Judson Phillips, founder of Tea Party Nation was quoted as saying, “There is a lot more sentiment even among fiscal hawks for more defense spending because we’ve realized just how badly Obama has gutted the military.”
As reported by DoD News on April 1, 2015, the head honchos for both the Marine Corps and the Navy paint a bleak picture if and when our Sea Services are ordered into a shooting war. Not only effecting the wet side of the Pentagon, the Military Times notes on April 2, 2015, that the combat readiness of the U.S. Army is at “historically low levels,” and our Air Force has stated in an official release on Mar. 27, 2015, that the fly boys are “currently less than 50 percent ready.”
With frank talk and worries of sugar-coating obviously not a priority of the Service Chiefs, little was held back. Perhaps best summing up the situation of all the Branches was the opinion of the Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Jonathan W. Greenert when he said of the White House ordered cuts in troop strength, equipment and training, “In real terms, this means longer timelines to achieve victory, more military and civilian lives lost, and potentially less credibility to deter adversaries and assure allies.”
Besides the massive overall Obama-mandated cuts to manpower, updated modern equipment, repair parts and training, the yearly pay raises are already cut, despite federal law supposedly protecting military pay. Per law, all military pay increases must based upon the formula utilized the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) formula tying military pay to changes in private sector pay growth.
As Military.com noted earlier this year, our troops and federal civilian employees “would receive a 1.3 percent raise, slightly more than the 1 percent bump they received the past two years. The increase is well below the 2.3 percent estimated increase in private-sector wage growth, which it’s supposed to match by law.”
The White House has already proposed limited pay raises for troops through 2020, despite Congress being Constitutionally mandated to set the rate each year as part of the budget process. Obama’s spending plan calls for a raise of 1.3 percent for both Fiscal Years 2016 and 2017, 1.5 percent in Fiscal Years 2018 and 2019, and 1.8 percent in 2020. Defending his presidential privilege of dispensing of the BLS formula in cases of economic emergency, Obama recently wrote to the Congress:
As our country continues to recover from serious economic conditions affecting the general welfare, however, we must maintain efforts to keep our Nation on a sustainable fiscal course. This effort requires tough choices, especially in light of budget constraints faced by Federal agencies.