November 5, 2013

U.S. defenses have not been invested in for two decades. Many naval ships like the one pictured may not be maintained properly.

Last summer, after suffering a multitude of mechanical and maintenance issues, the USS Essex failed to complete two missions. The aging U.S. naval vessel had not received proper maintenance for sometime. Rather than investigate why maintenance hadn’t been applied, the Navy dismissed the ship’s commanding officer, Capt. Chuck Litchfield.

This incident brings to question how well the Obama administration is maintaining our nation’s defenses, Heritage Foundation national security expert James Carafano argues. While the specific incident was likely caused by a combination of human error and mechanical failure, it’s indicative of the overall deterioration of our national defenses.

America hasn’t been this unprepared since the Carter administration, Carafano writes in the Washington Examiner. He relates a story from more than three decades ago:

Capt. Tom Shanahan didn’t need a full crew. At least, that’s what the Pentagon told him . . . In fact, the Navy simply didn’t have enough sailors to go around. It was 1979, and Washington was cashing its Vietnam peace dividend, come what may.

A 30 year-veteran, Shanahan knew that when politicians look for a place to shave expenses, “the military is the easiest thing to cut, especially coming out of a war.” But he also saw the results of that impulse first hand.

When it came time to fill out his readiness report, Shanahan felt honor-bound to report his ship wasn’t ready for service—even though it might get him a black mark among the brass.

Today, the Obama administration is exhibiting the same disregard for defense readiness that we saw during the Carter administration.

From day one, the Obama administration has neglected our country’s defenses by pushing deep cuts to defense, Carafano argues. And since the administration won’t act, it’s up to Congress to reverse the administration’s disastrous stewardship of the armed forces.

Since national defense is a key constitutional obligation of the federal government, do you think it ought to be given higher priority by our lawmakers?

Comments (19)

Cliff Thomas - November 6, 2013

Yes we must always maintain a strong Military. The constitution says this is one the few things we fund know that is supposed to funded and all these other departments are just a waste of taxpayer money.

Clarence Jones - November 6, 2013

Yes, we should be maintaining our defense strength today, more than ever…with all the turmoil in the world and with Obama at our helm, he has caused a lot of trouble and loss of image for our country…we need to be well prepared at all times to defend our country…this is not a time to weaken our defense/military!!!

Nancy - November 6, 2013

Just one more job failure by the administration for which it should be impeached.

Judy Bess - November 6, 2013

This is very troubling and yet not surprising, considering the misguided goals of this administration.

David Reed - November 6, 2013

Absolutely, of all constitutional obligations the federal government has national defense should be given the higest priority. If we cannot maintain our sovereignty as a nation all else pails by comparison.

Phil Collins - November 6, 2013

Congress must override Obama’s effort to make us a third world country! History shows us that “Peace through Strength” is a valid posture. It seems to be human nature to attack a weak (or perceived weak) entity in a position of power. We will be tumbled if this perception is not corrected. We had to rebuild after Carter and Clinton and we can do it again!!! Does anyone see a pattern?

David Simeoli - November 6, 2013

Where do WE allow the abuse’s towards the laws of our Constitution to end… after we are decimated by an unprovoked attack? When we are up to our eye balls with illegals? Or perhaps when people have to go to jail because they choose to put food on their table to feed their family instead of paying a fine/tax towards a useless and cost prohibitive Obama care that has NOTHING to do with health care and everything to do with consolidating all power to the Executive branch and control over Americans. Really? Are we going to just talk about this at the water cooler like we would discuss some trivial topic? America is in Peril and it seems no one is raising en eyebrow or calling out these criminals for what they are doing. I don’t give a fling leap how corrupt these people are, WE HAVE A DUTY TO THIS, THE GREATEST OF ALL NATIONS SINCE THE WORLD BEGAN! Are we gonna let these Communists in sheep’s clothing (RINO’S, main stream Dems and Reps) continue to TRASH America OR are we going to make a bold statement and take a stand? Legally we must pummel our representatives both local and Fed with calls, emails, texts and petitions. If the Feds do not honor the Constitution, we must ask our State reps where they stand with succession from the Union. If our States don’t pull together to make a statement and a stand, I fear we will all be sheep for the slaughter by a hell bent, corrupt Marxist Regime that us as their subjects and no better than worker ants, to be used, miss abused or put to death if UN-cooperative

Ron Tiedje - November 6, 2013

The number 1 job of our federal government per our constitution is to maintain our safety. Not paying attention to our military readiness should never be acceptable. However, this administration feels they only need to pay attention to the constitution when it is beneficial to them. They do the same when it comes to listening to the American people.

Steven Johns - November 6, 2013

National defense is a key constitutional obligation of the federal government. It ought to be given higher priority by our lawmakers. Sequestration should not cut defense deeply while leaving entitlements and discretionary spending which are not constitutional obligations less affected.

donna - November 6, 2013

National defense is EXACTLY what Obama and Congress should be engaged in, and we at real risk when that is not happening. Many misguided attempts to “protect” Americans, such as invasive scans at the airports which take so many man-hours and accomplish so little, instead of more high-profile military action.

Carol Shannon - November 7, 2013

One of the first things on Obama’s agenda when he entered office, among other things, was to weaken the defense of the US; and what better way to do it than to defund the Military. And guess who’s letting him get away with it – our elected officials in Congress! Obama should be impeached!

Holly Chapo - November 7, 2013

It needs to be given the highest priority since it is the first responsibility of the executive branch. But since this president dislikes America, dislikes the military, appeases Muslim extremists, is totally clueless about the very serious threats to our security, fashions himself a messiah above the fray, what can we expect? He needs to be impeached but who will do that? God help this country. God protect us from the low information voters.

Marjorie Taylor - November 7, 2013

It should have top priority since it is the constitutional duty of the federal government. We need elected officials who really will uphold the constitution and stick to the enumerated powers given to the federal government.

Werner - November 7, 2013

This is very troubling and yet not surprising, considering the misguided goals of this administration.

Frank Grochowski - November 7, 2013

Above all else we need to maintain our defense strength. Without our military everything else is at risk, we will be just another third world country. I’m a 25 year Navy veteran and I lived through the Carter years and never want to go through that again. China is publishing plans in their newspapers about nuclear strikes on the U.S.. Has this EVER happened with ANY OTHER PRESIDENT.? We are the laughing stock of the world. Ronnie were are you now that we need you?

Susan A. - November 7, 2013

I have the misfortune of working with a lot of Democrats/liberals in my office and they make many comments regarding how conservatives only want to fund things like our military, instead of wanting to heavily fund the “wonderful” programs like (Un) Affordable Care Act, food stamps, support illegal immigrants, etc. I can only shake my head in disbelief and ask them, “Well, when the U.S. is taken over by a hostile enemy country, in debt to another country so much that that country now rules us, or we’re blown off the face of the Earth because we can’t defend our homeland, what good are all of the heavily-funded liberal programs going to do for anyone then??” I cannot believe anyone living in our great country doesn’t understand the huge importance of a strong military!

Charles - November 9, 2013

Just another impeachable offence!!

Sandra Lapadot - November 9, 2013

It is more critical today than ever that our defenses be maintained in the very strongest possible condition. The entire world is arming themselves and we sit here like dumb ducks “HOPIN

If the president wants us weak, theN it’s up to our representatives to prevent that. Get up off your duffs, Washington, and protect our beloved country!!! WE DEMAND IT!!!

Don - November 11, 2013

Absolutley! But we also must be aware of the screening of prospective military promotion candidates regarding their attitude toward using force against civilians; especially with regard to our Second Amendment rights.

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