Three Republican members of the House Armed Services Committee, in addition to the chairman, Buck McKeon, have put out statements critical of the new round of Obama defense cuts—Todd Akin, Randy Forbes, and Rob Wittman.
TODD AKIN Akin Concerned By Proposed Defense Cuts, Prepared for Hearings on Impact on Navy & Marine Corps WASHINGTON, DC – Congressman Todd Akin, Chairman of the Seapower & Expeditionary Forces Subcommittee and member of the House Budget Committee, released the following statement in response to Secretary of Defense Robert Gates’ “efficiency” proposals: “I appreciate Secretary Gates’ effort to find inefficiencies and waste in the DOD budget. Congress and the Administration must work together to ensure that every single tax dollar is spent wisely. There are certainly wasteful and inefficient parts of the DOD that should be cut. At the same time, I find it stunning that the Obama Administration thinks cutting almost $80 billion from our defense budget while we are at war is a responsible course of action. I have a number of concerns about the specifics as well as the overall priorities this action reveals. If Secretary Gates wants Congress to even consider supporting any of these proposals, he must personally ensure that Congress receives the information we need, rather than stiff-arming the Congress as has been the norm for the last few years. “First, I think this announcement shows the liberal priorities of this Administration. The only department undertaking a serious budget cutting exercise is the Department of Defense. Where are the similar reviews at any other executive department? Our military is at war, and our military is the only department asked to seriously tighten its budget? “Second, President Obama’s budget shop has already shown an interest in “harvesting” even the reinvested savings and applying them outside the Department of Defense, rather than letting the military use these funds for other priorities as Secretary Gates has proposed. I am worried that Gates will propose these cuts, walk out the door, and leave the military with a constricting budget and little political support to oppose an even larger cut. “Third, many of these cuts seem to have been decided upon in a vacuum, ignoring the strategic situation our nation is in, and the capabilities we need to fight and win today and tomorrow. For example, do we as a nation think that the Marine Corps should be able to get from ships to the shore in a battle? If so, cutting the EFV is absurd. If the President and the Secretary of Defense want to get rid of the Marine Corps, they should come out and say that directly. “While my concerns are significant, and these proposals will require serious oversight from the Armed Services Committee, I do think elements of the reinvestments make sense. In particular, buying more F/A-18’s to fill the gap created by the JSF delays makes a lot of sense and is something that I have championed for years. These Super Hornets will help address the Navy’s strike fighter shortfall and are a great deal for taxpayers. I look forward to hearings on every aspect of this proposal.” RANDY FORBES Forbes Statement on Gates’ Announcement to Slash $78 Billion of Defense Budget for Social Programs Congressman J. Randy Forbes (VA-04) released the following statement today after Secretary of Defense Robert Gates announced that $78 billion of the defense budget will be slashed to fund social programs elsewhere in the President’s budget, despite the fact that Gates said earlier this year that all defense cuts would be reordered within the Department of Defense: “In the last month, increasingly concerning reports regarding China’s military buildup have surfaced. These include news of China’s development of the DF-21D, a second missile system that is capable of taking out our aircraft carriers, rumors of Chinese plans for double-digit expansion of its defense spending, and reports that China is moving closer to having an operational carrier at some point this year. In 2009, shortly after the Pentagon announced it would discontinue the F-22 program, Secretary Gates predicted that China would not have a stealth fighter by 2020. Yet, this week photos have surfaced of a Chinese stealth fighter participating in high speed taxi tests, a precursor to initial test flights, that according to some, rivals the F-22 and is decisively superior to the F-35. “How disturbing is it, then, that within the very same week, our own Administration under the leadership of President Obama and Secretary Gates has announced the continued dismantling of the greatest military the world has ever known. If Secretary Gates’ plans and predictions with these defense cuts are as accurate as his Chinese stealth fighter forecasts, Americans ought to be concerned for our national security. “Even more appalling, though, is the fact that the Administration is not being honest with the threat we face with China or where our defense dollars are going. Last August when Secretary Gates announced his plans to cut $100 billion of the defense budget, he said, ‘Unlike budget cutting efforts of the past, the services will be able to keep the savings they generate to reinvest in higher-priority warfighting and modernization programs.’ At best, this was naivety; at worst, dishonesty.” Congressman Forbes is Chairman of the House Armed Services Readiness Subcommittee. ROB WITTMAN Congress Wittman Statement on Secretary Gates’ Proposed Cuts to Defense Spending WASHINGTON, DC – Congressman Rob Wittman (VA-01) released the following statement in reaction to today’s briefing by Defense Secretary Robert Gates on the department’s fiscal year 2012 budget request. Secretary Gates outlined the department’s $553 billion fiscal year 2012 budget proposal and revealed steps that the department will take to reduce spending by $150 billion over the next five years. In addition to the $100 billion efficiencies initiative the Secretary launched last year, today’s announcement reflects an additional $78 billion in cuts from the Five Year Defense Plan submitted in 2010. “There is no question that efficiencies and savings should and can be found across the federal government and that tough decisions have to be made,” Wittman said. “It is critical that any savings achieved through the efficiencies initiative be reinvested in force structure and modernization and not returned to the General Treasury to be used to fund non-Defense programs. As the Chairman of the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, I will carefully weigh the proposed cuts and budget request to ensure that our nation’s strategic needs and critical missions are not compromised. I will demand that Secretary Gates work cooperatively and transparently with Congress as budget decisions of such magnitude are made.” Congressman Rob Wittman represents the First District of Virginia. He was elected to his second full term in November 2010 and serves on the Natural Resources Committee and the Armed Services Committee.