Saturday, April 16, 2011

President Obama, the Budget, and the DOD

Kori Schake of Foreign Policy suggests that President Obama’s call for cutbacks in defense spending will do more harm than good for the country. Specifically, he notes that defense is the one area targeted more than any other in the president’s budget proposals. With this in mind, it is his belief that the real purpose and importance of the DOD has been overlooked and underappreciated:

"The White House seems not to realize the Department of Defense does not exist to produce budget reports. It exists to protect and advance our national interests, to fight and win the nation's wars, to deter threats from potential adversaries, to train the military forces of friendly countries so they are better able to control the territory of their countries, to kill terrorists that pose a danger to America and its allies around the world. That the president doesn't seem to realize what DOD actually does really is bad for the country"

Mr. Schake’s points are valid and hold merit, but fail to consider that national security and defense do not solely rest with the DOD. All too often the State Department is overlooked. This is an issue we touched on in class this past week. Diplomats have the ability to improve the security of the United States and President Obama has called for increased funding for the State Department.

Much like the DOD, the State Department exists to further our national interests and even solve international conflicts, although through different means than the military. Even Secretary Gates and Admiral Mullen have expressed a need for increased State Department funding. I would argue that President Obama does realize what the DOD actually does, but also understands that there are other avenues to explore in the quest for national security.

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