The Pentagon’s pivot to nowhere
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.