This morning, President Obama landed in Mansfield, Ohio at an Air National Guard base he wants closed, according to his latest budget. The White House seemed unaware that the C-27 aircraft was even on its chopping block.
It’s not the first time the president has been confused about what defense cuts are in his budget.
In a July 15 interview during his trip to the military-heavy Hampton Roads area of swing-state Virginia:
Q: Do you support another BRAC closing bases, possibly hurting Hampton Roads?
President Obama: “You know, I don’t think now is the time for BRAC, we just went through some base closings and the strategy that we have does not call for that.”
From his own budget, page 81 (emphasis mine):
Reassesses Base Structure.The force structure that emerges from the new defense strategy will require a properly aligned infrastructure from which to operate, deploy, and train. The Budget requests the authority for DOD to commence two additional rounds of base realignment and closure (BRAC) and to establish an independent Commission that will provide an objective, thorough, and non-partisan review and analysis of DOD’s recommendations. While this is a difficult process, additional rounds of BRAC will enable DOD to align infrastructure to meet the needs of a leaner, more agile, and flexible force.
Two rounds of BRAC is what his budget calls for. Laying aside whether each individual cut has merit, shouldn’t he at least know which ones he’s advocating in his own budget? Or, is this just an attempt to ignore what’s in his budget when it doesn’t please the crowd he happens to be addressing?
The aircraft at issue in Ohio is identified by name in the president’s budget at WhiteHouse.gov, bullet-pointed under “Funding Highlights” on the first page of the Department of Defense section: (emphasis mine)
Reprioritizes investments in weapons programs to reflect the new strategy, provide service members with state of the art equipment, and maintain the industrial base. This includes making investments in high-priority programs, such as unmanned surveillance aircraft and upgraded tactical vehicles, while terminating unnecessary and lower-priority programs such as the C-27 airlift aircraft and a new weather satellite and maintaining programs such as the Joint Strike Fighter at a reduced level.
President Obama has now promised to find a “mission” for the air base in Mansfield that does not involve the C-27J, according to ABC’s Ann Compton.
“As part of national security strategy, the president has supported cuts,” press secretary Jay Carney told reporters on Air Force One as it landed at the threatened guard base in Mansfield, Ohio. “There is a redundancy in terms of the aircraft that this National Guard air base is home to, but the president is committed to finding another mission for the National Guard unit at this particular air base.”
He could also reread his 2013 budget and figure out whether he believes in the defense cuts he’s proposed instead of flying around like some military Münchausen-by-proxy parent promising to save communities from the cuts he wants to implement.