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The 2011 Budget Control Act Essay

2958 words - 12 pages

While still at war in Afghanistan, the Obama administration proposed plans to cut billions in defense spending during the next decade. According to the 2011 Budget Control Act passed by Congress, the Department of Defense (DOD) must reduce spending by 487 billion during the next ten years and 259 billion during the next five years. If sequestration continues, then defense spending will be reduced on average “more than $50 billion each year through fiscal year 2021,” which would make the total cuts equal to almost a trillion over the next decade. After fighting a war, America calls for her peace dividend and makes large reductions to defense spending, which greatly reduces the size and strength of the postwar military. These military drawdowns have caused a disproportionate loss of military capability “and the atrophy of military power in each case had consequences for the nation.” The primary driving forces for these defense reductions appears to be domestic politics. These defense reductions are usually made too quickly and before fully developing a defense budget based on appropriate reassessments to a postwar grand strategy. Drawing down defense forces before properly considering a grand strategy leaves the postwar military overly weakened relative to the strategy and less ready for the next conflict. This paper will conduct a historic study of two postwar drawdown periods, after World War II and post-Cold War, to argue how postwar drawdowns should be based on grand strategy, and failing to do so, leaves the military less prepared. It will review the respective strategic environments, economies, emerging grand strategies and postwar militaries. It will also examine the readiness of those postwar militaries when called upon to conduct the next conflicts or operations. Finally, we will examine today’s strategic environment and emerging postwar military. This paper will not argue that postwar drawdowns should not happen, but rather how reductions should follow a defense budget plan based primarily on a postwar grand strategy and not according to domestic politics.
Grand Strategy and Readiness
Sir B. H. Liddell Hart declared that the “Role of grand strategy – higher strategy – is to co-ordinate and direct all the resources of a nation, or band of nations, towards the attainment of the political object…” He also further believed “grand strategy, too, should regulate the distribution of power between the several services, and between the services and industry.” From this, one would conclude, how grand strategy should form the bases and priorities for not just military spending and structure, but for most of government spending. America’s grand strategy should be incorporated in the National Security Strategy (NSS). NSS includes the developing, applying, and coordinating of the instruments of national power to achieve objectives that contribute to national security. Accordingly, to achieve these objectives, the instruments of...

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