November 5, 2013
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?