New Senate Bill Would End Cuts To Troop Levels

| by Robert Fowler
U.S. Marines lined up at sundownU.S. Marines lined up at sundown

Republican Sens. Jerry Moran of Kansas and Roy Blunt of Missouri have proposed legislation that would halt the reduction of troops in the Army and Marine Corps in 2017.

Both senators are members of the Senate Appropriations defense subcommittee, which is currently reviewing the Pentagon’s 2017 budget request, according to The Hill.

The current budget request would cut the number of Army troops by 30,000 and Marines by 2,000. That would be a reduction from 480,000 Army troops to 450,000 and 184,000 Marine troops to just 182,000.

“President Obama’s tenure is marked by across-the-board spending cuts to our military in the face of increasing threats to our national security,” said Moran.

The bill proposed by Moran and Blunt would keep the current number of Army and Marines intact.

“Given the volatile, uncertain, and dangerous developments over the past several years, the readiness of our Armed Forces, particularly land forces in the Active and Reserve Components of the Army and Marine Corps, must not be jeopardized,” Moran continued. “This legislation would help safeguard our nation while global threats demand America’s full vigilance and capabilities.”

Blunt joined his colleague in blasting the troop reduction, pinning the blame on the Obama administration.

“The president’s primary responsibility is to keep Americans safe,” Blunt stated. “Yet the steep defense cuts he has proposed would do just the opposite, undermining our military readiness at a time when we face more threats, coming from more directions, than ever before.”

These comments contradict the fact that all military spending cuts during the Obama administration were passed by both Republicans and Democrats in Congress, according to PBS.

There has also been a philosophical difference between how the Obama administration and the previous George W. Bush administration have approached spending. Over the last eight years, military spending has been shifted to modernizing weapon systems and growing special operations forces such as the Navy SEAL team.

The Obama administration has opted to invest in military capabilities that will allow for surgical strikes against terrorists and foreign threats instead of keeping troops fully stocked for an invasion.

This has impacted how much of the defense budget is allocated to the army. While previous defense budgets have divided spending by equal thirds among the Army, Air Force and Navy, over the last eight years this has changed.

In the 2017 defense budget, the Army would receive only 29 percent of spending while the Navy would receive 36 percent and the Air Force 35 percent, according to Slate Magazine.

Sources: The Hill, PBS, Slate / Photo Credit: U.S. Department of Agriculture / Flickr

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