Cuts being proposed in the defense budget “will be the greatest tragedy of the Obama administration,” former congressional Rep. Duncan L. Hunter said Tuesday in launching a new super PAC and national association dedicated to America’s security and national defense.
Hunter, father of the current East County congressman and former chair of the House Armed Services Committee, made his comments at a press conference overlooking the USS Midway in San Diego, as he launched the groups, Fight 4 America.
Fight 4 America’s national board of directors includes Air Force veteran Will Bennett, Marine Corps veterans Shawn Bryan and Joe “Doc” Worley, Army Veteran and West Point graduate Thomas D. Dyer and political consultant Ed Rollins, who served as President Ronald Reagan’s national campaign director.
“Those of us who served believe it is our duty to inform the public about the dangers posed to our nation and to the men and women currently serving, if these massive defense cuts become a reality,” Bryan said.
Marine and Army units are set to absorb the largest cuts as the government seeks to trim $487 billion from the defense budget over the next decade, reports Bloomberg News.
The Navy and Air Force are slated for some cuts, but far fewer than the other branches, as the Department of Defense focuses more on the Pacific Rim and the Middle East, the service also reported.
Nevertheless, according to a release, Hunter said Navy ships could be reduced “to the point that China will become dominant in the Western Pacific.” Fight 4 America also argues that proposed reductions in defense spending could mean the nation has:
- The smallest ground force since 1940.
- A fleet of fewer than 230 ships, the smallest level since 1915.
- The smallest tactical fighter force in Air Force history.
But Bloomberg reported in another story Monday that last year the U.S. spent five times the amount China did on defense.
The report added that the U.S. made significant defense cuts in “prior post-war periods ... 40 percent in the six years after Korea and 28 percent in the decade after Vietnam” but said President Obama, though he is calling for austerity in next year's defense budget, also is making a push in later years for the military to ”receive 1.9 percent increases.”
Hunter formerly represented the 52nd Congressional District; his son Duncan D. Hunter succeeded him and also serves on the House Armed Services Committee.
The SuperPac will actively engage in the 2012 presidential election nationally and in targeted swing states, according to its news release. The group has produced three TV commercials.
One ad has a narrator explaining the impact of defense cuts on a backdrop of the stars and stripes being lowered and replaced with a white flag.
A second ad focuses on President Obama’s off-the-cuff comment to Russian President Dmitry Medvedev that he would have more flexibility on the contentious missile defense shield after the November general election.
The third explains the threat from Iran and North Korea and says now is not the time to reduce defense spending.
Spokesman Tony Manolatos said Fight 4 America expects to be around long after the November election—seeking to hold the president and Congress accountable for the nation's defense.
Automatic cuts in defense spending could begin in January if certain budgetary targets aren't met, part of agreements between the president and congressional leaders last year to avert a government shutdown.
Last week, the House passed a $642 billion National Defense Authorization Act that was $8 billion more than the agreed amount. The House version .
Months of talks remain, however, before the legislation will be sent to the White House for Obama's signature. The Senate began discussing the defense budget Monday.
City News Service contributed to this report.