The Progressive Fix

The Strange Republican Cuts to National Security

As a progressive who strongly believes in a “whole of government” approach to ensuring the nation’s security, I cheered when the Obama administration’s 2010 National Security Strategy included this paragraph:

To succeed, we must update, balance, and integrate all of the tools of American power and work with our allies and partners to do the same. Our military must maintain its conventional superiority … We must invest in diplomacy and development capabilities and institutions in a way that complements and reinforces our global partners. Our intelligence capabilities must continuously evolve to identify and characterize conventional and asymmetric threats and provide timely insight. And we must integrate our approach to homeland security with our broader national security approach.

That attitude goes a long way to rectifying the wrongs of the Bush administration’s philosophy, one that saw too many problems as nails, and too many solutions as a hammer. The results were obvious: squandered resources, an exhausted military, lost international credibility, and, ultimately, less security.

It’s clear that Republicans still haven’t gotten this message. In this year’s continuing resolution, they’ve voted to cut some of those whole-of-government resources that are vital to strengthening our security. Here’s a list of cuts, taken from the just-passed continuing resolution, and compiled by my friends at the Truman National Security Project that fundamentally weakens our crucial non-military national security tools:

House Republican Cuts to National Security Priorities

in 2/19 Continuing Resolution for FY2011

Compiled from: Program cuts in the FY2011 Continuing Resolution, 2/14/2011, House Appropriations Committee. Analysis of HR1. 2/15/2011, Senate Appropriations Committee. Checked against Statement by Congressman Rogers on HR1, 2/19/2011, House Appropriations Committee for amendments which passed. Cuts are to FY2010 Enacted.

Contact: David Solimini, Communications Director. or 757-876-0295.

National Security & Ongoing Wars

·         National Security Council. Cut the President’s principle advisors on national security issues by $600,000. [Program cuts in the FY2011 Continuing Resolution]

·         Counterinsurgency funding. Cut USAID by $121m (9% cut), which will halt new civilian programs in Afghanistan and Pakistan that are necessary for the counterinsurgency strategy to work. These programs were called for by US military commanders. [Analysis of HR1].

·         Iraq transition, Afghanistan/Pakistan operations. Cut State Department operations by $1.2b (12%), meaning the transition from military to civilian responsibility in Iraq, and State operations in Afghanistan and Pakistan, will be put in jeopardy. [Analysis of HR1].

·         Border Security. Cut funding for border fencing and border protection technology, as well as its related infrastructure, by $350m. [Program cuts in the FY2011 Continuing Resolution]

·         Democracy promotion. Cut the Millennium Challenge Corporation, which provides assistance to countries which meet government improvement goals, by $315m. Cut Development Assistance by $746m. [Program cuts in the FY2011 Continuing Resolution]

·         International First Responders. Cut, by $103m, the Civilian Stabilization Initiative, which trains civilians to reconstruct and stabilize war torn, disaster ridden, and unstable countries, to prevent future conflict. Cut International Disaster Assistance by $415m, and the Complex Crisis Fund by $50. [Program cuts in the FY2011 Continuing Resolution]

·         Starvation Prevention/Weak State Stabilization. Cut Food For Peace, which delivers bags of food stamped “USA” to the people of weak and failing states, by $687. Program details. [Program cuts in the FY2011 Continuing Resolution].

Terrorism Prevention

·         Transportation security. Cut transit security grants by more than 66 percent. In the last 7 years, there were over 1,300 terrorist attacks on trains, subways, and busses, killing or injuring over 18,000 people. [Analysis of HR1.] Also cut: Transportation Security Administration Threat Assessment funding by $9m. [Program cuts in the FY2011 Continuing Resolution]

·         Port security & Container Screening. Cut port security grants by 66 percent. [Analysis of HR1.] Also cut $61m in international container inspections. Container shipping is the most likely way a weapon of mass destruction could be brought into the country. [Program cuts in the FY2011 Continuing Resolution]

Nuclear Terrorism

·         Domestic Nuclear Attack Prevention. Cut, by $31m, the office which detects attempts to import, possess, store, develop, or transport nuclear or radiological material for use against the Nation. [Analysis of HR1] [Program cuts in the FY2011 Continuing Resolution] [Program details]

·         Nuclear materials security. Cut nuclear non-proliferation funding by $97m. This will prevent the US from removing hundreds of pounds of highly enriched uranium, which terrorists could use to build nuclear devices, from unsecure facilities in several countries around the world. [Analysis of HR1]

·         Weapons of Mass Destruction Training. Cut, by 51 percent, funding for first responder weapons of mass destruction training, which means that more than 46,000 first responders will not being trained in FY 2011. [Analysis of HR1]

Veterans Benefits

·         Homeless veterans. Terminated the Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing Program, the aim of which is to end veteran homelessness in 5 years. There were more than 130,000 homeless veterans in 2009. The VASH program provided housing vouchers for them. [Analysis of HR1] [Local Story, CT]

·         Veterans long term care. Cut Long Term Care facilities at the Department of Veterans Affairs by $15m. [Program info.] [Program cuts in the FY2011 Continuing Resolution]

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