The Pen­tagon’s pivot to nowhere

The Washington Times Daily - - Politics - BY JAMES JAY CARAFANO

Trans­la­tion: They’re not sure where the troops will come from, but they’ll just grab a few and as­sign them there for six months at a time. It’s like a game of three-card monte. In­deed, rather than add ca­pa­bil­ity, these new mis­sions will only place greater strain on a smaller force.

In fact, the new de­fense strat­egy may leave the Pen­tagon un­able to meet ex­ist­ing treaty obli­ga­tions. The war plan for North Korea (OPLAN 5027) calls for de­ploy­ing 690,000 U.S. ground troops, 160 ships and 2,000 air­craft within 90 days. If we draw down troops to the lev­els en­vi­sioned by Mr. Obama, that de­ploy­ment would tap out just about the en­tire Army and Ma­rine Corps.

Un­der the Obama draw­down, the U.S. can pivot to Asia only by tak­ing much greater se­cu­rity risks else­where.

The only way to pivot to Asia with­out in­cur­ring un­ac­cept­able risk is to make sure that, as we pivot, we stay ahead of China in all the do­mains of com­pe­ti­tion. That means beef­ing up our as­sets in space, cy­berspace, mis­sile de­fense and nu­clear weaponry.

Amer­ica can’t pivot pru­dently on the cheap. Even De­fense Sec­re­tary Leon E. Panetta re­cently ac­knowl­edged that 75 per­cent of the planned bud­get cuts will erode vi­tal mil­i­tary ca­pa­bil­i­ties — ships, planes and peo­ple.

Nor is it nec­es­sary to make Hob­son’s choices. In 2011, the Her­itage Foun­da­tion laid out a long-term pro­posal that would bal­ance the bud­get in 10 years and sig­nif­i­cantly re­duce the fed­eral debt with­out rais­ing taxes. This plan, called “Sav­ing the Amer­i­can Dream,” would fully fund de­fense for decades.

We achieve these goals by mak­ing large, re­spon­si­ble re­duc­tions in non-de­fense spend­ing and re­plac­ing our highly com­plex tax code with a far sim­pler, growth-pro­mot­ing sys­tem of tax­a­tion.

This na­tion can re­turn to pros­per­ity, and gov­ern­ment can meet its obli­ga­tion to pro­vide for the com­mon de­fense. In­deed, with rea­son­able de­fense bud­gets, the Pen­tagon won’t have to pivot to­ward Asia — be­cause there would be enough de­fense to go around.

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