Defense Department officials and military leaders warned in the months leading up to sequestration that the March 1 budget cuts would severely inhibit their readiness capabilities. Two months later, we’re seeing firsthand just how serious they were.
According to Vice Admiral William Burke of the U.S. Navy:
“Due to reduced training and maintenance, almost all of our non-deployed ships and aviation squadrons are soon going to be less than fully mission capable and not certified for major combat operations. That’s about two-thirds of the fleet.”
The Marine Corps is reporting similar readiness issues, with Lieutenant General William Tryon estimating that half of non-deployed units are at “unacceptable” levels of readiness:
“And our crisis response mission is incompatible with tiered readiness. Marines don’t start to get ready when a crisis occurs. We must be ready, we must be forward deployed and we must be prepared to respond immediately.”
We can’t afford for our military to not be ready at a moment’s notice to defend us—especially in a post-9/11 world in which American civilians were killed in a terrorist attack on U.S. soil just last month. As a former Lieutenant Colonel in the Army, I’ll be the first to tell you the Defense Department is not immune to fraud, waste, and abuse.
There are plenty of areas in which spending could be cut without impacting the readiness and morale of our troops! But across the board budget cuts that chip away at the training and equipment available to our troops sets a dangerous precedent. This is precisely why we’ve launched the Allen West Guardian Fund to elect 12 hard-charging conservatives who will fight to keep our defense and national security a top priority in Washington.
Our team will soon begin introducing the candidates we’re supporting in 2014. We’ll also be announcing various events and programs we’re planning to further the dialogue about defending America and our Constitutional values. I look forward to sharing this important information with you in the near future. In the meantime, God bless America.
Lt. Col. Allen B. West, USA (ret)
U.S. Congressman (2011-2013)