Legion on DoD cuts: ‘Bad choice either way’

American Legion National Commander James E. Koutz expressed frustration after Wednesday’s announcement from the Pentagon that something has to give – either troop numbers or weapons development – in the face of federal budget cuts brought on by sequestration.

“It’s a bad choice either way,” the leader of the nation’s largest veterans service organization said. “We cannot forfeit our national security at a time of war against terrorism, and our national security depends on superior weapons as well as enough troops to operate them. A weakened military will not solve our nation’s economic problem.”

Automatic cuts imposed to ease the federal deficit – termed “sequestration” – call for the Department of Defense to chop $46 billion out of its budget this year. If sequestration is not lifted or modified, the defense budget would continue to be reduced by $500 billion over the next decade. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel’s prediction of the Pentagon having to make a choice between troop strength or modern weapons was the result of a newly completed DoD planning exercise called the Strategic Choices and Management Review.

In organizational meetings last fall, The American Legion National Executive Committee adopted resolutions opposing cuts to the wartime defense budget as a measure to reverse the federal deficit.


  1. What we need is a clearly defined mission--it is easy to say scrub carriers, but how many? With 11 we can barely meet all the missions and requirements in all corners of the planet. Want to keep China in check in the Pacific? Takes carriers and subs--both very expensive. I wish it was easy to come up with the answer, but it isn't. And, the real big elephant in the backyard is the bureaucracy--how many union jobs are we paying for with tax dollars? Not people in unions, but union employees being paid by us. Unfortunately, in the past, it has been easier to send a Sgt. home than a GS-12.
  2. I disagree. The US spends 42% of what the entire world spends on defense and yet our enemies appear to be guys riding around deserts in Toyota pickup trucks carrying AK-47's. We don't need F-35 fighters costing $400 million each and still not fully operational after Billions spent over 10 years of development. Nor do we need 11 carrier groups churing the oceans looking for something to do. My taxes and out government debt can be directly traced to DoD expenditures -- some good, but most are a waste. We need smart defense spending, not boondoggles like the F-35 fighter and 11 carrier groups doing nothing but churning the oceans.
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