Army Cuts More Than 500 Majors In Response to Budget Reduction
It’s always disheartening to see the U.S. make cuts to the defense budget. From its Constitutional beginnings, one of the government’s most important reasons for existing is to provide for the national defense. In true, traditional terms, protecting the American people from enemies foreign and domestic is one of the only reasons for the government to exist. Yet we see the military taking extraordinary budget cuts under the Obama administration even as our enemies around the world multiply and grow stronger.
Working towards those budget cuts, the Army this week announced that they would be cutting roughly 550 majors from their ranks by next spring. Vice-Chief of the Army, General John Campbell told reporters Friday that communicating this message to troops in the middle of a war zone was no easy task. These are soldiers, after all, who have sacrificed a great deal to be a part of the country’s war efforts, and now they’re being told they are out of a job.
The primary story, though, isn’t one of a humanitarian nature but one of national defense. It’s natural that the military make some cuts in the aftermath of its budgetary explosion of the last decade, but many wonder if the reductions aren’t going overboard. If Congress isn’t able to put a stop to automatic cuts in the next few years, it is feasible that we could see the Army’s numbers dwindle to a little over 400,000 total troops. At this size, the Army may not be able to wage even a single major campaign over a prolonged period of time.
There are always arguments for cutting defense spending. The U.S. is one of the most secure countries in the world, relying just as much on a couple of vast oceans for protection as it does on its own military. Its political power throughout the world makes it an unattractive target for many, and we are known to have technological weapons that can flatten a country in minutes. At the same time, many of our adversaries are weaker than they have been over the last 100 years.
The problem with the current budget cuts is that they aren’t based on a clear, logical assessment of our current threats. How could they be? We still have fires to put out in Afghanistan. Iraq continues to be threatened by the forward march of ISIS. The situation between Ukraine and Russia may call for U.S. military intervention at some point. North Korea isn’t much of a pertinent threat, but you can’t ignore their saber-rattling altogether. Then there is the ongoing war on terror, a campaign that is more about keeping our heads above water than it is about winning.
We should be doing everything we can to shrink the government down to size, but the military is the last place we should look when it comes to making cuts. It’s easy to get complacent when war is in the background. If we’ve learned anything from history, though, it’s that new threats can pop up in an instant. We need troops to be prepared and ready when that day comes.