Prepared to Cut or Abandon Missile Defense Funding
Obama has consistently opposed America's active pursuit of a missile defense system. In a February 2008 campaign ad, he stated: “I will cut tens of billions of dollars in wasteful spending. I will cut investments in unproven missile defense systems. I will not weaponize space.”
In June 2009, President Obama submitted to Congress a defense budget for fiscal year 2010 that called for cutting $1.4 billion from the Missile Defense Agency.
On September 17, 2009—the 70th anniversary of the day the Soviet Union invaded Poland in 1939—the Obama administration, bowing to intense pressure from Russia, abandoned proposals (forged during the Bush administration) to set up a missile defense shield in Europe. CNS News reported: “The move will resonate in Poland and the Czech Republic, where governments weathered domestic unease and Russian fury by signing agreements with the Bush administration in 2008 to host elements of the system.... The ballistic missile defense (BMD) umbrella was aimed at protecting the U.S. and its allies against potential aggression from Iran ... But the Kremlin characterized the BMD plan as a threat to Russian security and threatened retaliatory steps.”
Heritage Foundation scholar Nile Gardner called the move “an appalling surrender to Russian demands, and the shameful appeasement of an increasingly aggressive regime that is openly flexing its muscle in an effort to intimidate ex-members of the Warsaw Pact.”
Lech Walesa, the former Solidarity leader and Polish ex-president, said: “I can see what kind of policy the Obama administration is pursuing toward this part of Europe. The way we are being approached needs to change.”
Former Czech Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek, whose government signed treaties with the Bush administration to build the system, said: “The Americans are not interested in this territory as they were before. It’s bad news for the Czech Republic.”
According to political analyst and retired military officer Ralph Peters, “Obama got nothing in return. No Russian commitments on Iran's nuclear program. No sovereignty guarantees for Georgia. No restrictions on arms sales to Venezuela.”
Obama Privately Tells Russian President: “After My Election I Have More Flexibility”
On March 26, 2012, President Obama was caught on a hot microphone telling outgoing Russian President Dmitri Medvedev that if his successor, Vladimir Putin, would hive him “space,” he (Obama) would have more flexibility to strike a missile-defense bargain “after my election.” The remarkably revealing exchange went as follows:
Obama: On all these issues, but particularly missile defense, this, this can be solved but it’s important for him [Putin] to give me space.
Medvedev: Yeah, I understand. I understand your message about space. Space for you…
Obama: This is my last election. After my election I have more flexibility.
Medvedev: I understand. I will transmit this information to Vladimir.
Obama Calls for Cuts in Military Generally, and in Nuclear Arsenal Particularly
Said candidate Obama in 2008: “I will slow our development of future combat systems. I will institute an independent Defense Priorities Board to ensure that the Quadrennial Defense Review is not used to justify unnecessary defense spending.... I will set a goal of a world without nuclear weapons. To seek that goal, I will not develop new nuclear weapons. I will seek a global ban on the production of fissile material….”
From the earliest days of his presidency, Obama signaled his intent to slow defense spending (particularly in terms of modernizing and upgrading existing weapons systems); to cut funding for ballistic missile-defense systems; and to adopt a new arms-control deal with the Kremlin that would drastically reduce the nuclear arsenals of the U.S. and Russia alike (as a steppingstone toward Obama’s stated goal of a global ban on all such instruments of war).
In his June 2009 defense budget for fiscal year 2010, Obama proposed limiting the number of F-22 Fighter Jets to 186, well below the 243 that Air Force Chief of Staff General Norton Schwartz had recently recommended as a bare-bones minimum. He also advocated canceling the Army's Future Combat Systems (FCS) program, despite the fact that it was the only program through which the Army could replace most of its tracked vehicles—many of which dated back to the 1970s.
In Obama’s 2010 budget overall, fully 82% of all discretionary program terminations targeted military programs, and 55% of all budget cuts were for military-related items.
Nuclear Arms Reduction Deal with Russia
On April 8, 2010 in Prague, President Obama signed the New START bilateral arms control agreement with Russia, limiting each country's long-range nuclear weapons stockpile to 1,500. (America's existing nuclear weapons arsenal at that time was 5,113.) Constitutional scholar Phyllis Schlafley explored the details of this deal and its implications: “It reads like it was written by the Russians and has nothing good in it for the United States.... The treaty allows Russia to build new and modern weapons to reach New START limits, whereas the United States is locked into reducing its current number. That means Russia will have new and tested weapons, but the U.S. will be stuck with its current, out-of-date, untested warheads.... The fantasy that our abandonment of nuclear weapons will inspire other nations to follow our example is so foolish that it can only be described as nuts.... The treaty does not limit tactical nuclear weapons, leaving Russia with a 10-to-one numeric superiority, which Russia has threatened to use in regional conflicts. We could build more tactical missiles, but there is no chance Obama will do that. New START gives up the verification, on-site inspections and monitoring of production that were requirements of previous treaties.”
Added Schlafley: “Obama has made it clear that his eagerness for a nuclear-zero world also means a world without any defense against nuclear weapons. He has cut spending for missile defenses and killed or mothballed the few innovative programs we have to knock down incoming rockets in their boost phase. Ever since President Reagan announced his Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) in 1983, the Kremlin has tried to ban all U.S. missile defenses. The Kremlin brags that it achieved this goal in New START. This treaty gives Russia a veto over all U.S. defenses against incoming missiles.... Russia explained that ... it will stick with New START 'only if the (U.S.) refrains from developing its missile defense capabilities quantitatively or qualitatively.'”
Under the treaty, both the U.S. and Russia agreed to limits in numbers of warheads, but only America promised to freeze its technology.
After having signed the New START nuclear treaty with Russia, a pact that committed the United States to reducing its arsenal of deployed strategic long-range nuclear weapons to 1,550 by 2018, President Obama further considered reducing that figure (for America only) to as few as 300. Indeed, in February 2012 the White House directed the Defense Department to examine three levels of deployed strategic nuclear warheads: 1,000 to 1,100 warheads; 700 to 800 warheads; and 300 to 400 warheads (a level not seen since 1950). Many American military officials contend that the 1,550 level mandated by New START is the lowest level that can be used to maintain deterrence of a nuclear attack.
America’s nuclear delivery platforms are already among the oldest in the world. For example, the average age of U.S. nuclear delivery platforms is 50 years for the B-52H bomber; 41 years for the Minuteman III; 28 years for the Ohio-class submarine; 21 years for the Trident II D-5 SLBM; and 14 years for the B-2 bomber.
In February 2012, President Obama proposed $487 billion in military spending cuts over a ten-year period. In addition, “sequestration” cuts totaling another $500 billion were scheduled for implementation in January 2013, bringing the total cuts for the decade to nearly $1 trillion. Sequestration alone—i.e., even without the additional $487 billion in cuts—would give the U.S. its smallest number of ground forces since 1940; a Navy fleet of fewer than 230 ships, the smallest level since 1915; and the smallest tactical fighter force the Air Force has ever had. General Martin Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, bluntly told Congress that the sequestration reductions would create a situation of “very high risk” to national security. “[S]equestration,” said Dempsey, “leaves me three places to go to get the money: operations, maintenance and training. That’s the definition of a hollow force.”
Retired Air Force Lt. Gen. Thomas McInerney said, “No sane military leader would condone 300 to 400 warheads for an effective nuclear deterrent strategy.”
Obama Administration Gave British Nuclear Codes to Russia to Help Induce Russia to Sign the New START Treaty
In early February 2011, the website WikiLeaks made public some 1,400 secret U.S. embassy cables which suggested that the U.S. government had covertly agreed to share sensitive information about Britain’s nuclear program—specifically, the serial numbers of every Trident missile the U.S. had supplied to Britain—in exchange for Russian cooperation in signing the New START agreement in April 2010. Although the treaty did not involve Britain, the leaked cables showed that Russia had used the negotiations to demand more information about the UK’s Trident missiles, which are manufactured and maintained in the United States. In 2009 the Obama administration had asked London for permission to supply Moscow with details about the performance of UK missiles, but the UK refused. Britain historically has sought to maintain secrecy regarding its nuclear arsenal because of that arsenal's relatively small size.
Political columnist Thomas Sowell made the following observations about the Obama administration's actions vis a vis the British nuclear secrets: “To betray vital military secrets of this country's oldest, most steadfast and most powerful ally, behind the back of the British government, is something that should set off alarm bells.... Nations that ally themselves with the United States, and who cooperate in many ways to oppose the threat of international terrorism, do so at the risk of their own national safety and even survival. To make America's reciprocal commitments to them contingent on the whims of each new administration is to make other nations have to think twice about allying themselves with the U.S.”
Obama Signals that U.S. May Share Nuclear Defense Secrets with Russia
On January 4, 2012, Bill Gertz reported the following in The Washington Times: “President Obama signaled Congress this week that he is prepared to share U.S. missile defense secrets with Russia.... U.S. officials are planning to provide Moscow with [Standard Missile-3 velocity] data, despite reservations from security officials who say that doing so could compromise the effectiveness of the system by allowing Russian weapons technicians to counter the missile. The weapons are considered some of the most effective high-speed interceptors in the U.S. missile defense arsenal. There are also concerns that Russia could share the secret data with China and rogue states such as Iran and North Korea to help their missile programs defeat U.S. missile defenses. Officials from the State Department and Missile Defense Agency have discussed the idea of providing the SM-3 data to the Russians as part of the so-far fruitless missile-defense talks with Moscow … Their thinking is that if the Russians know the technical data, it will help allay Moscow’s fears that the planned missile defenses in Europe would be used against Russian ICBMs.”
Russia, China, and Others Aim to Expand Their Nuclear Arsenals
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin recently said, “We should not lead anyone to temptation by our weakness. That is why under no circumstances will we give up the strategic deterrence potential and we will strengthen it.” In 2011 alone the Russian government announced that it would be buying 36 strategic ballistic missiles, 2 strategic missile submarines, and 20 strategic cruise missiles, while also upgrading and expanding its ballistic missiles and Independently Targeted Warheads.
The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute reports that both Pakistan and India “continue to develop new ballistic and cruise missile systems capable of delivering nuclear weapons” while “expanding their capacities to produce fissile material for military purposes.”
China is reportedly modernizing every element of its strategic triad for delivering nuclear warheads (submarine-launched ballistic missiles, ground-based ballistic missiles, and weapons launched from big bombers). Moreover, there is speculation that China's nuclear arsenal—commonly believed to consist of about 240 nuclear warheads—may actually include an additional 1,000 to 3,500 nuclear devices hidden in a 5,000-mile network of underground tunnels.
U.S. Air Force General Predicts That China and Russia Will Surpass U.S.
In a May 2015 interview, U.S. Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh III stated: “China and Russia are two good examples of countries who will be fielding capability in the next three to five years, if they stay on track, that is better than what we currently have in many areas.... The fighter aircraft they’re going to field in the next three to five years just have better capability than things we currently have sitting on the ramp.... We are 200,000 people fewer in the active component. That’s 40% less than we were, even in the first Gulf War. It’s a dramatically different Air Force.” Welsh recommended, “We just have to stop this drawdown, and kind of build a red line where are right now in the size of the active force.”
Obama Vetoes Defense Authorization Bill That Does Not Provide for Closure of Guantanamo and Does Not Increase Domestic Spending As Much As the President Wants
On October 5, 2015, the Obama administration announced that President Obama would veto a defense authorization bill if it did not provide for the closure of the Guantanamo Bay detention center. As Ben Shapiro wrote at Breitbart.com: "[Obama] has long had a bug in his ear with regard to Gitmo, which he feels has strengthened terrorists’ feelings about the evils of the United States. Given his recent moves to parlay with the Cuban dictatorship as well, Obama may want to hand Gitmo in totality back to the Cuban government. The fact that Obama would be willing to dramatically cut America’s military funding, even as Russia takes over Ukraine and Syria, as Iran gears up for a big regional military push, as China continues its aggressive behavior in the South China Sea, demonstrates Obama’s top priority is doing leftist work, not protecting the United States."
On October 22, Obama did in fact veto the $612 billion defense policy bill. And he did it ceremoniously, inviting reporters and photographers to the Oval Office to watch him sign the veto. “Obama says he opposes the bill because it uses creative budget maneuvers to boost defense spending by $38 billion without increasing domestic spending. Obama wants higher spending for both,” reported ABC News, which also noted that the President was upset that the bill would make it more difficult for him to close the Guantanamo Bay detention facility. Breitbart.com noted: "The president’s veto threat has been criticized by Republicans as an effort to hold military spending hostage to his domestic spending priorities, 'economic security' having nothing to do with the business of national defense. Even friendly media outlets are characterizing Obama’s veto as a 'rebuke' to Republicans."
"The Army’s latest headcount shows that nearly 2,600 soldiers departed active service in March without being replaced, an action that plunges manning to its lowest level since before World War II. During the past year the size of the active force has been reduced by 16,548 soldiers, the rough equivalent of three brigades. Endstrength for March was 479,172 soldiers, which is 154 fewer troopers than were on active duty when the Army halted the post-Cold War drawdown in 1999 with 479,424 soldiers, the smallest force since 1940, when the active component numbered 269,023 soldiers.... Without congressional or Defense Department intervention, the drawdown will continue for two more years, with endstrength hitting 460,000 soldiers in 2017, and 450,000 in 2018.
"The latest official demographics from the Defense Manpower Data Center shows that in addition to the 479,172 soldiers who were on active duty April 1, the Army’s reserve forces totaled 548,024 soldiers, for a total force of 1,027,196 soldiers. The drawdown master plan calls for a Total Army of 980,000 soldiers on Sept. 30, 2018.
"DMDC statistics show that 348,463 soldiers were in service with the Army National Guard on April 1, and 199,561 with the Army Reserve."
Obama Fails to Mention D-Day Anniversary on June 6, 2016
The blog Weasel Zippers posted a list of the public statements on President Obama's schedule spanning June 4 to June 6, 2016. He addressed such topics as zoning designations for "tribal communities," the death of boxing legend Muhammad Ali, the Islamic holiday of Ramadan, and the 35th anniversary of the first HIV/AIDS case in America. But he said nothing about the 72nd anniversary of the D-Day invasion during World War II. Neither, noted Weasel Zippers, did Obama issue a statement "on the death of the 9 soldiers from Fort Hood who were tragically lost in flooding in Texas last week."
Obama to Seek End-Run Around Congress to End Nuclear Testing
"President Obama has decided to seek a new United Nations Security Council resolution that would call for an end to nuclear testing, a move that leading lawmakers are calling an end run around Congress. Top administration officials, including Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, briefed lawmakers and congressional staffers this week about President Obama’s decision to push for the U.N. action this September, to coincide with the 20th anniversary of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, which was adopted in September 1996 but was never ratified by the Senate. National Security Council spokesperson Ned Price told me that the administration still would like to see the Senate ratify the test ban treaty but is 'looking at possible action in the UN Security Council that would call on states not to test and support the CTBT’s objectives. We will continue to explore ways to achieve this goal, being careful to protect the Senate’s constitutional role.' The administration did not consult Congress before making the decision, and leading Republicans, including those who opposed Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran, are irate that the White House plans another major national security move without their advice or consent."