Editors’ Note: In an effort to foster a more open and honest American dialog, Breitbart convened “The Uninvited” panel at CPAC 2013. This post is a part of a series continuing that dialog with the Breitbart News readers.
While participating in the Breitbart News “Uninvited” panel at CPAC, the Lexington Institute’s Dan Goure claimed that our military has been gutted, is spread too thin, and is strained to the utmost.
Goure framed these observations around the fact that “the U.S. government has one dominant, overwhelming first responsibility–which is to protect and defend the Constitution, the country, the American people.”
He said carrying out this “responsibility” requires “a military that is… large, well-trained, well-equipped, [and] able to deploy as needed.” Goure contends that starting with the Clinton administration and continuing under the current administration, the government has made drastic cuts to our military while increasing the demand upon it.
We have… abused and misused this military for more than twenty years. Under the Clinton administration we cut the size of the Armed Forces, essentially in half, but we increased the utilization of it. Measured in all kinds of operations… from Somalia to counter-piracy to Latin America to drug trades… [we] have a military half the size it was, doing four times the work. This is an eight fold increase in the wear, tear, and abuse on the military.
He said the strain this has placed on our military is most visible now as our men and women in uniform return from battlefields in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Goure said there must be a correction in this sphere because the U.S. has interests, and enemies, abroad. He highlighted financial interests that must be kept solvent, oil supplies that must move without interruption, and growing threats like North Korea, among others, that must be kept in check.
To protect and preserve us and our place in this world, the military needs to be “well-funded, large, well-trained, and well-equipped. [And] none of those things is possible on the current funding profile.”
Goure claimed that if we don’t correct the path we’re on, the problem won’t simply be that we can’t deploy where and when we need to. He claimed that in the future “people will die. Our sons and daughters will die.”
In follow-up comments to Breitbart News on March 19, Goure added: “A hollow force, when overextended and overused, will break and generally do so at the worst time–when it is sent to war.”
He stressed that there is a better way to reduce the Defense Department’s budget than relying on indiscriminate sequester cuts “by reforming the archaic defense acquisition system.” Goure claimed, “Simply eliminating unnecessary and too costly regulations and specifications would cut administrative costs by 20% or around $80 billion a year–nearly $30 billion more than sequestration–without touching military capabilities or manpower.”