Legion: Leave Defense budget alone

Pointing out that the United States has been in this situation before, American Legion National Commander Fang A. Wong and the organization’s National Executive Committee are calling on Congress to leave the country’s defense budget alone.

During its Spring Meetings in Indianapolis this week, the NEC unanimously passed Resolution 1, in which the Legion “demands Congress and the Administration to cease all efforts to reduce the defense budget from its current level.”

“Sixty years ago, America was engaged in a bloody and horrific war on the Korean Peninsula,” Wong told the NEC. “The war did not have to last three years, and it did not have to cost 35,000 American lives. But America was caught off guard. Following World War II, the budget-cutters decided to take the greatest military ever known and gut it. The brave men of Task Force Smith were simply outnumbered and outgunned as they faced down the hordes of North Korean soldiers that overwhelmed them in 1950.”

Now, Wong said, the country is in a similar situation. “We have pulled our forces from Iraq and are in the process of winding down in Afghanistan,” he said. “The president and his Defense Department have already announced some planned reductions in force – reductions that pale in comparison to what happens if Congress and the White House fail to agree on spending cuts and sequestration hits. While many predict that the political survival instincts of our elected leaders will require them to work together, it is a gamble that we cannot afford to lose.”

Wong urged the NEC and every member of the organization to – in this, an election year – get all political candidates to state on the record what they will do to keep the country strong.

Past National Commander/Past National Adjutant Robert W. Spanogle also urged Legionnaires to stay informed. During this year’s national convention in Indianapolis, the National Security Commission will conduct a symposium that will feature a variety of experts speaking on the Defense budget and its impact on the rest of the country. The symposium will take place Aug. 27 from 1-4:30 p.m. in Rooms 205-207 in the Indiana Convention Center.

“I encourage all of you to go back to your departments and tell your members they’re going to miss one great program if they don’t attend,” Spanogle said. “When you leave, you will truly understand the Defense budget.”

For additional coverage of the Spring Meetings, check back on www.legion.org in the coming days.


  1. Why is the home page showing instances of 2-½ years old (stale data? (2013 numbers for instance.)
  2. The remuneration in the way of pay is only one aspect of military service, the benefits are good for veterans, and the military experience and training are also good values. Costs for equipment are high, but interoperability has costs, as well as compartmentalization for security reasons. When the planners decide to purchase a communications system for a new ship, or a new radar, or satcom, both the interoperability and the need not to give the plans to everyone results in three completely separate systems. Using blocks of a system or simply software to allow communications functions to be integrated into a radar for instance would save money, but might precipitate the loss of two or more systems by one failure. Short of the US, and our technology lead, for the most part only our enemies challenge us, and I would like to keep it that way.
  3. Amen to rong01. In fact, the whole military structure needs redefining and reorganizing. Our needs and capabilities need to be matched. After working at many levels for the DOD for 42 yrs, I realized we continued to maintain and pay for an out-moded structure with totally outdated practices at every level. The current level of spending roughly equals all of the other countries combined. This is absolutely mind boggling!
  4. How large should our military force be ? How much to spend on our military capabilities ? The answer rests on the shoulders of our allies and would be allies. When we ask for our counterparts to become part of a team we have the UK and then the others ! The "others" lack the will and commitment to fight a long protracted war. Look at Iraq and Afghanistan and how France , Poland and other nations when they were needed most, walked away and left the U.S. to stand alone. Sorry but with 51% of Americans paying no tax of any kind and with an all volunteer force we simply need to spend money and hope like President Reagan did to end the cold war that we have more money than our enemy's have solders to throw at us.
  5. I am still of the opinion that the large size of our current defense budget is self-defeating. Trying to police the world on our own, we are being bled white and become weak. Prioty should be on pay and benefits of current service personnel and benefits for veterans. Otherwise, we should be asking our allies to step up, while cutting back our own defense expenditures
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