“… I will cut tens of billions of dollars in wasteful spending. I will cut investments in unproven missile defense systems. I will not weaponize space. I will slow our development of future combat systems."
“I will institute an independent defense priorities board to ensure that the Quadrennial Review is not used to justify unnecessary defense spending."
“Third, I will set a goal for a world without nuclear weapons. To seek that goal, I will not develop nuclear weapons; I will seek a global ban on the production of fissile material; and I will negotiate with Russia to take our ICBMs off hair-trigger alert, and to achieve deep cuts in our nuclear arsenal.” – President Barack Hussein Obama
A revisit of that quote and everyone should be clear on what the President intends when he tells the Joint Chiefs to cut their fiscal year 2010 budget request (fiscal year 2010 begins October 1, 2009) by 55 billion dollars. There are only a few places where the defense budget can be cut. Personnel costs are fixed. The only way to reduce that cost is to slow promotions, reduce the size of the force (something that many argue effectively needs to grow) or reduce pay, benefits or the services provided to active duty families. For example, as I mentioned last week, the Congressional Budget Office proposal to have active duty military family members pay for their healthcare. The cuts, when they come, will be in the areas dangerous to the Armed Forces, much the same as they were under the Carter and Clinton Administrations.
If Obama keeps his promise of reducing our nukes and reducing the military budget, one reduction that would be automatic is the size of our forces. If you were in the military, and your Commander And Chief reduced the hardware you are and will be using in the future, would you reenlist when your time is up?
During Bill Clinton's tenure 80% of the pilots refused to reenlist. I don't see very many service personnel reenlisting when Obama takes away most of their hardware.