Early in his administration, President Obama pledged to cut the
federal deficit in half. But his recent budget proposal, to say Obama
has not kept his promise is an understatement.
Determined to keep Americans drowning in debt, Obama proposes to
accelerate federal spending $3.8 trillion in 2013 to $5.8 trillion in
2022, a whopping increase of 53 percent. By spending more than $45
trillion in the next 10 years, the most generous accounting would
assume $6.7 trillion would be added to the federal deficit, bringing
debt-to-GDP ratio who a crushing 76.5 percent.
The slow ending of the Afghanistan war gave the Obama Administration
room for an $800 billion Washington-style accounting gimmick, where
borrowed money that would not have been used is counted as saved. In
terms of actual cuts in defense spending, Obama is shifting the focus
from what is known to work in missile defense to developing futuristic
missile intercepts which will require years of experimenting at great
expense to taxpayers while a vulnerable America waits.
It has become obvious that America faces increasing nuclear threats
from hostile regimes like Iran and North Korea. In June, Iran
announced it was planning to triple its capacity to produce 20 percent
enriched uranium, which can easily be converted to weapons-grade
material. This week, Iranian President Ahmadinejad plans a major
announcement for Iran's advancement in its atomic program, a move to
show how increased U.N. sanctions have failed to halt Iran's technical
Our first line of defense against short and intermediate-range
airborne attacks is the Standard Missile 3 (SM-3), which can intercept
enemy missiles while in flight. Their proven track record is why they
are also essential to the NATO effort in Europe to defend against
missiles from hostile nations.
Yet, despite the SM-3's impressive performance history and expanding
capabilities that will ultimately protect our homeland from a
long-range missile attack, President Obama has all but turned his back
on the missile. In his newly released budget, the President cuts
funding for the newest evolution of SM-3 (known as IB), which will
result in 52 percent fewer missiles while commanders in theater have
consistently complained about shortages. The President's $300 million
reduction may also slow production, which could make the new missile
delivery date of 2015 very difficult to meet.
The timing couldn't be worse considering U.S. Defense Secretary Leon
Panetta predicted last month that Iran would be capable of launching a
nuclear missile at the U.S. as soon as 2014.
But President Obama's short-sightedness doesn't end there. At the same
time the President chopped funding for the first missile that will be
able to protect us against an ICBM attack, he chose to pour $224
million into a sophisticated and tedious missile program that is on
The missile, known as IIB, is but a back-of-the napkin concept that
will not be ready for deployment until 2020, at the earliest. In a
bipartisan move this past December, Congress virtually eliminated the
2012 budget for the program. The message was clear: we have more
urgent budget priorities and current threats demand we deploy a
missile to protect the continental United States much sooner than
Apparently, President Obama did not receive that message from
Congress. After spending millions on development, Obama has
unilaterally decided to shift resources toward more complex future
missile variants -- a process notorious for being obscenely over budget
and off schedule -- while rejecting the Congress' more sensible approach
to fiscal responsibility and a more robust national defense.
President Obama's decisions on missile defense will create a
multiple-year window where a country such as Iran could strike before
our new SM-3s are in place. By reversing course, not only would
taxpayer dollars be used more effectively, America will be properly
protected from enemies well into the future.
J. Kenneth Blackwell is a fomer Ohio Treasurer and Secretary of State.
He is a member of the Brd. of Directors of the Club for Growth.
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