Defense spending has fluctuated greatly between World War II and today. Spending increased from post-WWII levels and into the Korean War, then decreased during the 1970’s. It rose during Reagan’s time in office, declined when Clinton was president, rose again under Bush, and has been cut substantially again under Obama.
The Republican Party believes strongly in an increased military defense budget. In 2000 the party spoke out in defense of raising this budget, citing the fact that the administration had cut defense spending to its lowest percentage of gross domestic product since 1939. Republican views on military spending include the belief that raising this budget is the only way to “restore the health of a defense industry weakened by a combination of neglect and misguided policies.” Republicans also believe that this lowered budget has been a large contributor to the lower morale among members of the armed forces. In its call to action for a higher budget for defense, Republicans noted that “the US military faces growing problems in readiness, morale, and its ability to prepare for the threats of the future,” and that these problems arose as the military budgets were cut.
Democrats Vs. Republicans on Military Spending
Post 9/11, many contractors were brought in to aid the antiterrorist initiatives in America. Democrats not only oppose these contractors’ involvement in the defense system, but oppose their use of the defense budget. While these contractors only make up 29 percent of the defense personnel, they account for 49 percent of the budget usage. For this reason, Democrats believe that more accountability needs to be developed, and that contractors’ use of the budget needs to be strictly monitored.
The Obama administration has proposed a sequestration, which is defined as “severe, automatic, across-the-board cuts in defense spending” over the next decade. The Republican Party adamantly opposes these cuts, stating, “would be a disaster for national security, imperiling the safety of our servicemen and women, accelerating the decline of our nation’s defense industrial base, and resulting in the layoff of more than 1 million skilled workers.” This sequestration would leave America with the smallest ground force it has seen since 1940, the smallest number of ships it has seen since 1915, and the smallest Air Force in history. Due to the growing treats worldwide to national security, Republicans believe that these cuts would be incredibly poorly timed and dangerous.
Furthermore, this isn’t an action that everyone believes can be easily reversed. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor states that, even with a Republican majority in Congress, they would need bipartisan support to revoke the sequestration. “I don’t see a path where you’re going to get bipartisan relief on BCA caps,” Cantor said, referring to the spending caps enacted in 2011. “There needs to be bipartisan agreement even though there’s a Republican majority in Congress.” Meanwhile, John McCain believes that it needs to be reversed, and that therefore the Party will find a way. “We have to fix it, I promise you that we will make it [fixing sequestration] our highest priority,” McCain said in a forum in late 2014.
Republicans on Biodefense
Republicans believe in developing biodefense systems as a means to combat bioterrorism. They also wish to see an increase in a bioterrorism defense budget for this same purpose. They support former President Bush’s Project BioShield, believing it “provides new tools to improve medical countermeasures protecting Americans against a chemical, biological, radiological, or nuclear attack; putting in place major new biodefense capabilities; creating the Container Security Initiative to screen cargo for the US; and deploying missile defenses to defend the US and its friends and allies.” Republicans view each of these defense capabilities as vital to the protection of this country.
Republicans and Nuclear Weapons
The Republican Party believes that maintaining some number of nuclear weapons is necessary, but they hope to keep this number as low as possible. They believe this should be done at an executive level, stating that a president should “reevaluate America’s nuclear force posture and pursue the lowest possible number consistent with our national security. We can safely eliminate thousands more of these horrific weapons. We should do so.” Republicans also hope to see the United States reduce the risk of accidental launch, by working together with other nuclear nations to remove as many weapons as possible from high-alert, hair-trigger status.
Chris Christie vs. Rand Paul on Military Spending
Chris Christie has been taking criticism for not supporting higher defense spending. Rand Paul has suggested cutting spending elsewhere to afford raising the defense budget. Christie believes that this is illogical and lashed out against Christie and Washington politicians as a whole, stating “so if Senator Paul wants to start looking at where he’s going to cut spending to afford defense, maybe he should start looking at cutting the pork barrel spending that he brings home to Kentucky, at $1.51 for every $1.00 and not look at New Jersey, where we get $0.61 for every $1.00. So maybe Senator Paul could — could, you know, deal with that when he’s trying to deal with the reduction of spending on the federal side. But I doubt he would, because most Washington politicians only care about bringing home the bacon so that they can get reelected.” Paul lashed back, asking, “this is the king of bacon talking about bacon. You know, we have two military bases in Kentucky. And is Governor Christie recommending that we shut down our military bases?” Many, including Paul, believe that Christie is making a mistake by fighting his own party on this issue, and that it will hurt his chances in future elections.
- Republican Party on Defense – On The Issues
- Americans Remain Divided on Military Spending – Gallup
- Republicans Will Have A Hard Time Reversing Military Sequestration – International Business Times
- The Republican Party and the Defense Budget Problem – Washington Monthly
- Republican Views on Military Spending
- Democratic Views on Defense Spending
- Republican Views On The Military
- Republican Views on National Defense
- Democratic Views On Military Spending
- Republican Views on National Security
- Democratic Views on the Military
- Republican Views On Homeland Security
- Democratic Views on National Security
- Democratic Views On Homeland Security