There has been some confusing reporting in the past few days regarding President Barack Obama's plans for the Defense Department budget. Officially, the Office of Management and Budget is claiming that it will increase the budget by 8 percent. But because most of the Iraq and Afghanistan war costs have been funded through supplemental appropriations rather than the regular department budget, total military funding remains a mystery. Mark me down as suspicious. I have been told by sources at the Pentagon that they have been told not to expect full funding of all existing programs. And there is evidence that Obama has been planning to force cuts on our military for some time.
According to The Boston Globe on Nov. 10, 2008, the need for budget cuts at the Pentagon (prepared last year by a Defense Department advisory committee that proposed possible program cuts on the assumption that the DOD would not be appropriated enough money to cover all current defense programs and weapon systems) was the enthusiastic subject of an Obama transition group study back in October:
"'Business as usual is no longer an option,' according to one of the internal briefings prepared in late October for the presidential transition, copies of which were provided to the Globe. 'The current and future fiscal environments facing the department demand bold action.'"
However, Obama gave no hint of these plans (if he has them) during the campaign. At the time, I preserved the Obama-Biden campaign Web site pages on defense policies just in case the day would come when Obama started to cut the defense budget. Here (in part, but it goes on for pages like this) is what Obama's Web site promised during the campaign:
"A Military Under Strain: Currently, our soldiers, seamen, airmen and Marines are deployed around the globe, working valiantly to defend our nation. Yet, these heroes are under-resourced and asked to do too much by a policy that has too often taken their sacrifice for granted. Due to their incredible courage and ingenuity, they persevere, but at incredible cost to themselves and their families.
"Recruitment and Retention Problems: A country of 300 million strong should not struggle to find enough qualified citizens to serve. Recruiting and retention problems have been swept under the rug by an administration that does not understand the value of service to our nation.
Blankley, who had been suffering from stomach cancer, died Saturday night at Sibley Memorial Hospital in Washington, his wife, Lynda Davis, said Sunday.
In his long career as a political operative and pundit, his most visible role was as a spokesman for and adviser to Gingrich from 1990 to 1997. Gingrich became House Speaker when Republicans took control of the U.S. House of Representatives following the 1994 midterm elections.