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Legion rips latest round of defense cuts

The leader of the 2.4 million member American Legion says a Pentagon budget proposal unveiled Monday by Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel endangers America’s national security and that downsizing force structure and benefits will lead to an exodus of quality men and women from the Armed Forces.

"Secretary Hagel warned about a ‘hollowed force,’ and The American Legion is concerned that this budget is leading us rapidly in that direction," National Commander Daniel Dellinger said. "Cutting forces to pre-World War II levels makes no sense in a world where countries such as North Korea, Iran and Pakistan could become viable nuclear threats to our very existence. Moreover, we do not know the exact nature of future wars and conflicts. The American Legion believes that we must be prepared for any scenario."

Dellinger called it "unconscionable" that the Pentagon is proposing that members of the military pay for part of their housing allowances out of their own pockets. "Whether it’s cutting commissary subsidies or increasing TRICARE deductibles and co-pays, these benefits are well deserved and available to anyone willing to serve. Military life is much more challenging than private sector careers. The American Legion will continue to call for an end to sequestration and insufficient defense budgets. Providing for the common defense of our nation is a responsibility required by the U.S. Constitution."

American Legion officials said that although the organization opposes the current budget proposal, they appreciate the transparency shown by the secretary of defense and look forward to future discussions.

More in National Security

 

SGT AZ

February 28, 2014 - 5:40pm

Senate Republicans have blocked a Democratic bill that would enrich health, education and job-training programs for the nation's 22 million veterans. And why did Republicans—who "won" the vote because "only" 56 senators voted in favor of moving forward with the bill—decide to block it? Republicans complained that the bill was too expensive. And they were upset that Majority Leader Harry Reid prevented a vote on a GOP amendment cutting the bill and adding sanctions against Iran for its nuclear program. Ah yes, we mustn't be too generous when it comes to the people we ask to defend our country with their lives. Especially not when we're not even able to have a vote on an unrelated piece of legislation, even if that unrelated piece of legislation would make it more likely that we'd send even more veterans to their death, as their Iran sanctions bill would do.

Robert Auger

February 28, 2014 - 11:19am

Some may blame Hagel but the blame lies with the Commander and Chief he and his comrades having been using the military as political porns.

PAUL TENENBAUM

February 28, 2014 - 3:23pm

ISN'T IT THE GOP THAT KEEPS DEMANDING THAT THE ADMINISTRATION LIVE WITHIN ITS MEANS. TTRUE, SEQUESTRATION IS THE EXTREME FORM OF BUDGET CUTTING. ONVINCE THE GOP TO WORK IT OUT SO THAT THE ARMED FORCES ARE EXCLUDED, THIS MEANS THE BUDGET WOULD REQUIRE INCREASE IN DEFENSE SPENDING. WHO WOULD BE NEXT. ONE SOLUTION, LET US INCREASE THE TAXES OF THOSE WHO CHOSE TO CLOSE OUR FACTORIES HERE AND GO TO CHINA, INDIA, MEXICO AND VIETNAM PLUS OTHERS. THESE "GENTLEMEN" GOT AWAY WITH MURDER.

Alan Blake

February 28, 2014 - 9:45am

The num-nuts (old Marine term) have taken over. God help us.

Wade Taylor

February 28, 2014 - 8:40am

There is a lot of fat at the Pentagon but not where Hagel wants to go after--I saw a lot of fraud, waste and inefficiency when on active duty. Look at the cost overrun on the F35 for example. Let those retirees who want to give up their earned benefits do so--most of us earned ours!

Steve Sargent

February 28, 2014 - 8:16am

People complain about the size of the military shrinking but congress is doing the same thing and then complain because it's shrinking. The sequestration, cutback in pay, benefits, VA entitlements, and postponements in retired pay are driving military people away from serving. This is brought to you by your congress and you sit back and say the President is doing it. Congress voted for these reductions and you want to blame the President and Hillary Clinton. Look to your own representatives that YOU voted for.

T Murphey

February 27, 2014 - 4:53pm

I think the cuts Sec. Hegel put forth make sense. Our military is becoming a military of the future. Unmanned weapons are the way wars will and are being fought.

Bobby Big Guns

March 1, 2014 - 9:56am

You are not making any sense. You want machines to do the fighting for you. They can't make the right call to complete a mission with no human factor. It also cost too much money for these unmanned weapons. That is why they are cutting back the Army and benefits to pay for these unmanned weapons dumb ass.

Ed Meyer

February 27, 2014 - 4:50pm

Is it possible that the powers to be in Washington want our country so weak that when, and it will, be needed due to some emergency the draft can be restarted?

Sgt Draft

March 1, 2014 - 9:58am

Yes that is what we need. Start the draft and let everyone which is in politics send their children into battle and then see how they feel.

Harry

March 9, 2014 - 11:20am

I think we are just dreaming on the idea Sgt Draft. I agree, the drat should be brought back. But it is not likely we would see any politicians kids get drafted. They would figure out a way to get them classified as 4-F status, not fit for military service or some other type of exemption. If they did get into war, not likely any of them would see the front lines. They would be in the rear where Mommy and Daddy could keep an eye on them.

Jordynne Olivia Lobo

February 27, 2014 - 4:25pm

Simmer down, gang. First, Hagel proposes to cut army personnel, yet at the same time he also proposes a slow increase in overall defense spending. Do you think that the emphasis in defense has shifted from massed armies to the increasing demands made for cyber defense? China has no means to transport its army to our shores, but over the last two decades China has certainly been vigorously and increasingly prosecuting cyber-attacks on our cyber systems, which includes everything from government and military cyber systems to our computerized power grid management and industrial-technological and finance cyber systems. Perhaps, then, Hagel proposes to reduce army personnel, so that the overall increase in defense spending shifts defense emphasis to cyber systems defense. As the song says, "The Times They Are A-Changing." Back when power was measured in masses of troops, troops were needed. Back when the Industrial Revolution made artillery, armor, and aircraft the locus of military power, artillery, armor, and manned aircraft were needed. But today our entire infrastructure - government, defense, industry, technology, power grid, financial systems - depends entirely on secure cyber revolution systems. So maybe Hagel's proposal puts the meat where the cyber revolution "times a-changing" shows the need for the meat to be put?

Sgt Cyber

March 1, 2014 - 10:05am

What the heck are you talking about with this dribble. Cyber defense does not come from the Defense Budget. It comes from Intel. Total different area for money to be used. You are in the same bunch with unmanned weapons. As the song says, "You are a Dumb Ass". So maybe Hagel's proposal will take the meat off your table?

Wade Taylor

February 28, 2014 - 8:44am

Yep but the more things change the more they stay the same--and those who ignore history are doomed to repeat its mistakes!

CMSGT MOORHEAD RETIRED

February 27, 2014 - 3:47pm

I BELIEVE THESE NUTS THINK WE CAN OVERCOME OUR PAST. MOST OF THEM HAVE NEVER SERVED OR HAD THE HARD SHIPS SUFFERED BY ALL BRANCHES OF OUT MILITARY. OBAMA WOULD LIKE US TO BE SO WEAK THAT WE COULD NEVER SUPPORT OURSELF.UNLES THIS MADNESS IS STOPPED WE ARE WELL ON OUR WAY TO A CIVIL CONFLICT. LET OBAMA SERVE HIS TERM AND THEN GET OUR COUNTRY BACK IN ORDER. WOULD NOT SURPRISE ME IF OBAMA MADE A DECOLARTION AT THE END OF HIS TERM TO STAY IN OFFICE BASED ON A GIVEN SITUATION.

PAUL TENENBAUM

February 28, 2014 - 3:34pm

I AM A KOREAN WAE VETERAN AND DISABLED.I MENTION THIS ONLY BECAUSE THIS MOORHEAD BELIEVES THAT HE HAS MORE ARMY KKNOWLEDGE THAN OTHERS. STUDY YOUR FACTS ABOUT OUR PRESIDENT, AND FRANKLY YOU DO NOT EVEN KNOW WHAT YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT. WHO BROUGHT OUR COUNTRY "OUT OF ORDER"? TAKE A DEEP BREATH AND STUDY HISTORY. WHAT DO YOU CALL MADNESS. HERE YOU SHOULD REVIEW WHAT THE GOOP HAS CAUSED. EVER SINCE THEIR CONSTITUENTS VOTED MICHELLE BACHMAN AND TED CRUZ IN, CONGRESS HAS BECOME THE LOUGHING STOCK IT NOW IS.

jack kennedy, EWCPO, Retired

February 27, 2014 - 9:36pm

CMSGT: I firmly believe it is too late... the reason I say this is that I firmly believe that H. Clinton will be our next Pres... 90% or more of our elected official are crooks.. this I truly believe... I can think of no way we can stop the tearing apart our military, both personnel and equipment... 30yrs, multi combat toured vet - nam .....

Frank Chisam

February 27, 2014 - 3:53pm

Have to say that I agree with the CMSGT Moorhead. Our country is being run by a group of idiots!

Sgt Duke

March 1, 2014 - 11:46am

Have to agree with All of you about this one. They have NO military experience. They are in for the money. The budge is totally out in left field with lets give Millions to study the stars. But yet they want to tear the military apart.

Sgt Duke

March 1, 2014 - 10:10am

Have to agree with All of you about this one. They have NO military experience. They are in for the money. The budget is totally out in left field with lets give Millions to study the stars. But yet they want to tear the military apart.

Ed Levene

February 27, 2014 - 3:45pm

Hagel is a Vietnam Vet and a real ass kisser, so whatever he does its all in the benefit of the Obama regime. We shrink down to WW II levels makes us vulnerable to attacks by other nations that follow the guidelines of the sickle and the hammer, i.e. communists states. And what about the draft that issue does not come into play. Nobody mentions that issue.

Robert M.

February 27, 2014 - 3:30pm

I suspectour military misadventures in Viewnam, Iraq, and now Afghanistan came about because we had the capability to fight wars that shoud not have been fought. And then out politicians decided to fight these wars which should not have been fought. If anyone believe PRC is interested in a conflict with the US they should go down to their local Wal Mart and see all the products made in Chinia which results in billions in US dollars going to China that fund its growth. No, wasting billions of failures like the F-35 (over 10 years in development and still not fully operational and which failed to meet goals) costing $150 million each, 11 navy carrier groups churning the oceans with 30+ ships each beside carriers looking for something to do clearly tells me the Military/Industrial Complex is hard at work tring to scare us into wasting billions more on unneeded defense expenditures.

SGT AZ

February 27, 2014 - 10:19pm

I totally agree. China is not the only one "trading" only one with us, so is Japan, S Korea and most of Asia. The War that is going on right now is and ECONOMIC war. Think about that next time you buy clothes made in Vietnam or refrigerator made in S Korea or a Japanese car. Our manufacturing has all been outsourced to Asia. During WWII our auto industries built the tanks, jeep, planes and etc. Whose going to build these for us if theirs another World War? Toyota? China?

joe cambell

February 27, 2014 - 3:24pm

Please not the (last two wars not paid for) b.s. again

Craig R

February 25, 2014 - 7:39pm

Obama, Hagel's boss, is nuts! China's army (including reserves) is 4.5 times the size of the US (incl. reserves). We have the 9th largest Army in the world which is dwarfed by the PRC, N. Korea, Vietnam, Bangladesh, Iran and Russia's armies, among others. Technology will only get us so far if a real shooting war breaks out where we have to back allies or protect ourselves. Remember. We got flat footed by Japan, Germany and Italy during WWII and the US hasn't won a war since WWII either. Now, our leaders want to further weaken us.

David Dean

February 26, 2014 - 6:18pm

First, where did you get your figures? #1 China, has 2.5 million, #2 U.S., has 1.6 million soldiers (that's hardly 4.5 times). Second, the number of troops alone has little to do with real military strength in modern warfare. Third, the current U.S. military budget is larger than the next ten countries COMBINED! It's 30% of the federal budget and a large part of our total national debt(thanks to the last two wars not paid for). We simply cannot afford to be the only world police even if taxes were returned to the (higher) Reagan levels. Under sequester, BOTH parties agreed to include mandatory military cuts. The question now is where, not if.

Sgt Figures

March 1, 2014 - 10:20am

You do not know what you are talking about! You can't cut your military when they are ALL over the world trying to POLICE countries with war problems. Which you need troops to do the job. The military budget is larger because they are spending Millions on BS stuff. Also we are putting that money into those problem country areas. How do you think they get food and gas to those other countries in need? Yes the wars have not been paid for but there will always be a war somewhere. Taxes is not the answer. The answer is to stop spending it on things we do not need I.E. Unmanned war machines, etc. Sequester was the wrong way to go. The question is find somebody that can fix it, not where or if.

jack kennedy EWCPO retired

February 27, 2014 - 9:49pm

It only takes one radical nation with nuke capability to sling one at our "new, fancy Carrier Group, Army/Marine command.... these weapons do not have to be very accurate... the blast alone will neutralize any and everything for a distance of 20 to 25 miles, making it's effective range 40 to 50 miles... that one missile does a lot of hurt... military and civilian personell 'HAD BETTER WAKE UP".....

Marlene Crumley

February 27, 2014 - 3:52pm

I hope you didn't get your numbers on troop strength from what the Chinese tell us. Our military budget should be cut at the top: the brass. Military contractors should swallow any cost overruns on their initial bids and there should be more oversight. Cuts should not be applied to those who put their lives on the line to ensure our country's safety and security.

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