Obama budget to cut missile-defense spending

posted at 2:01 pm on April 8, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

A rogue state with nuclear weapons has repeatedly threatened war against the US and its regional allies via missile attack.  North Korea even moved its missiles to the coast, and may be accelerating another nuclear-weapons test.  What could send a signal of resolve in a crisis like this?

How about a budget cut to missile defense?

The Pentagon will request $9.16 billion for missile defense programs for the 2014 fiscal year that begins Oct. 1, about $550 million less than this year’s $9.71 billion, according to internal budget figures obtained by Bloomberg News.

The missile defense proposal scheduled to be released April 10 is part of a $526.6 billion defense budget President Barack Obama will propose, according to government officials familiar with the budget plan who asked not to be named discussing it in advance. …

The administration’s reduced request comes despite heightened concerns about North Korean threats to attack U.S. bases in South Korea, Japan and Guam.

Funny about that, huh? That sends a message, but not necessarily one of resolve.  With the present Korean crisis being acute since at least January, the White House can’t claim to have been surprised by it so badly that concerns over North Korea’s missiles missed a budget cycle.

Bloomberg reminds readers that Congress can add more money to the effort, but don’t bet on it.  Last year, the Democrat-controlled Senate canceled an increase in funding for new interceptor sites because, er, the environment may have been harmed:

The request is subject to congressional scrutiny and could be increased in areas lawmakers decide to give greater emphasis, such as the ground-based system of missile interceptors based in Alaska and California to protect the U.S. Last year, House members added money to start construction of a site on the East Coast. The Senate removed the funds, asking the Pentagon to conduct an environmental impact study instead.

Nuclear missiles can be harmful for the environment, too.  Small wonder that Pyongyang didn’t take us very seriously.  Fox News reports on a postponed missile test and the message that sent, while the White House insisted yesterday that they weren’t bowing to North Korea. Maybe we were just bowing to the environment.


The Hill reported that the postponement was directly related to concerns over Pyongyang’s reaction:

The Pentagon has decided to delay the test of an intercontinental ballistic missile originally planned for this week, amid rising tensions with North Korea, reports said.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel decided to postpone the test of the Minuteman 3 missile at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, over fears that the launch could worsen relations with Pyongyang, a senior defense official told the Associated Press, which first reported the delay.

It’s probably not a bad idea to hold off on this, but let’s not pretend a postponement is unrelated to North Korea. The issue of missile defense is very much related to North Korea, and budget cuts in the middle of this crisis make zero sense, politically, diplomatically, or militarily. Talk about bad timing.

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Obama budget to cut missile-defense spending

Well, if Poland and the Czech Republic don’t need it, then neither do we.

Doughboy on April 8, 2013 at 2:02 PM

Hello hand basket… It’s me hell….

sandee on April 8, 2013 at 2:04 PM

With the present Korean crisis being acute since at least January, the White House can’t claim to have been surprised by it so badly that concerns over North Korea’s missiles missed a budget cycle.

Er. *This* administration?

Yes. It is entirely possible that they haven’t been paying attention.

Or it’s just another measure by this admin to weaken the US (both literally and figuratively) in the eyes of the international community.

Whichever.

kim roy on April 8, 2013 at 2:05 PM

Last year, the Democrat-controlled Senate canceled an increase in funding for new interceptor sites because, er, the environment may have been harmed:

Because nuclear missiles never harm the environment.

Good Lord but this guy is trying to weaken America.

rbj on April 8, 2013 at 2:06 PM

Kind of makes you wonder who the real Looney Tunes are, doesn’t it? Let’s see now, we’re being threatened with nuclear annihilation, let’s kill our missile defense programs to ensure that they succeed. Failure is very bad for one’s ego you know!

Boats48 on April 8, 2013 at 2:06 PM

I know this won’t be popular but a 6 percent cut in the missile defense budget is beyond the pale?

I would prefer a 6 percent cut across the board and not just missile defense. But this kind of thinking is why it seems we can’t ever cut anything because there are always sacred cows.

Bitter Clinger on April 8, 2013 at 2:07 PM

Will the country find enough senses to acquaintance the guy with boiled rope before he ruins what’s left of the USA? At some point, when it’s either that or the business end of a Nork missile or an Islamic nuke, I won’t care whether the court or the vigilante mob ordered the rope, or what the historic significance of that rope is.

Archivarix on April 8, 2013 at 2:08 PM

I don’t think Obama has considered this:

About the time he and his family settle into a cozy retirement in Hawaii, the North Koreans will have a nuclear warhead on a missile capable of reaching the islands.

For a person who uses the slogan “Forward”, Obama sure doesn’t plan ahead very well.

MichaelGabriel on April 8, 2013 at 2:10 PM

Ed, come on. We can’t cut 500 million from a $9.71 billion budget?

How could that possibly weaken our ability to deal with North Korea?

Are we seriously saying that because we can’t build missile interceptors on the EAST COAST, North Korea won’t take us seriously?

The B-2 bombers flying over their heads is nothing, but the $500 million from the budget shows that we’re cowards.

“Don’t worry about those bombers Kim-whatever. We just heard they cut $500 million from the missile defense budget. No interceptors on the east coast. We’re safe”.

Come on.

segasagez on April 8, 2013 at 2:12 PM

MichaelGabriel on April 8, 2013 at 2:10 PM

Life can get complicated soooo fast, can’t it?

a capella on April 8, 2013 at 2:15 PM

I know this won’t be popular but a 6 percent cut in the missile defense budget is beyond the pale?

I would prefer a 6 percent cut across the board and not just missile defense. But this kind of thinking is why it seems we can’t ever cut anything because there are always sacred cows.

Bitter Clinger on April 8, 2013 at 2:07 PM

If there was that 6% *across the board* then probably no one would complain because that would infer a certain amount of seriousness about finances. People are just taking note of what it is and what doesn’t get cut.

kim roy on April 8, 2013 at 2:15 PM

It depends on other cuts: if every program at the pentagon is getting a 9 % haircut, then it’s not a targeted thing. If it’s only the missile program? Yeah, something is rotten in the state of denmark.

That said, when it comes to cuts I’d rather cut stuff like propaganda stating Christians are terrorist threats and emails to the SPLC. That’s a cut I could gladly get behind.

Vanceone on April 8, 2013 at 2:17 PM

I haven’t perused the budget to see what got cut from MDA, but its quite possible that the cut is not really a cut, but an indication that development (R&D) of existing programs is nearing completion and the systems are nearing deployment.

In other words, we’ve got our stuff from the engineer and architect, now we need to pay the builder.

BobMbx on April 8, 2013 at 2:23 PM

Idiot

cmsinaz on April 8, 2013 at 2:23 PM

Oh, I see Obama is on TV again….no, wait, thats Falsa Doom.

BobMbx on April 8, 2013 at 2:24 PM

Doesn’t matter. Between launch and the time a Barry Missile Response Study Group could react it would be last month’s news.

Limerick on April 8, 2013 at 2:26 PM

If there was that 6% *across the board* then probably no one would complain because that would infer a certain amount of seriousness about finances. People are just taking note of what it is and what doesn’t get cut.

kim roy on April 8, 2013 at 2:15 PM

That’s a fair point. I just get the sense sometimes that our side wants the defense budget to be sacrosanct and that can’t be totally true. And for the record, I would rather eliminate the Depts. of Education and Energy plus the EPS (to name a few) before cutting any military spending since those functions serve no Constitutional role whatsoever.

Bitter Clinger on April 8, 2013 at 2:27 PM

*EPS s/b EPA

Bitter Clinger on April 8, 2013 at 2:28 PM

Is this what he calls toning down the rhetoric?

jake49 on April 8, 2013 at 2:29 PM

Obama budget to cut missile-defense spending…

How about a budget cut to missile defense?

…I guess in “The New World Order”…we won’t need to defend anything!

KOOLAID2 on April 8, 2013 at 2:31 PM

OTOH, they are increasing spending for military-officers-with-giant-hats defense.

/

Ward Cleaver on April 8, 2013 at 2:41 PM

Well, he already said ~ ‘We can absorb a few nukes in our cities. No biggie.’.

As long as he isn’t in one of them that gets hit, he doesn’t care.

LegendHasIt on April 8, 2013 at 2:42 PM

…budget cuts in the middle of this crisis make zero sense, politically, diplomatically, or militarily. Talk about bad timing.

This assumes Oblamer actually has some concern about the political, diplomatic or military consequences. He just doesn’t care. What happens to a bunch of Koreans, Japanese and US GIs on the other side of the world is inconsequential. He needs the money to keep funding his green (Red) agenda, and campaign to make the 2nd Amendment irrelevant.

Dexter_Alarius on April 8, 2013 at 2:49 PM

That’s a fair point. I just get the sense sometimes that our side wants the defense budget to be sacrosanct and that can’t be totally true. And for the record, I would rather eliminate the Depts. of Education and Energy plus the EPS (to name a few) before cutting any military spending since those functions serve no Constitutional role whatsoever.

Bitter Clinger on April 8, 2013 at 2:27 PM

Yes, it does seem that way. More of the slippery slope argument that if the right cedes ground, then they’ll want more. When have we seen liberals be satisfied with a compromise?

What needs to be done is to cut waste, not “spending”, but that would require leadership on both sides and no one seems to want to do this.

kim roy on April 8, 2013 at 2:50 PM

What is it about liberal/progressive Democrats that constantly reduce spending on critical defense measures when there is a nut case like Kim Jong-Un making threats?

dockywocky on April 8, 2013 at 2:54 PM

What is it about liberal/progressive Democrats that constantly reduce spending on critical defense measures when there is a nut case like Kim Jong-Un making threats?
dockywocky on April 8, 2013 at 2:54 PM

Maybe if we vomit and urinate on ourselves, they will leave us alone?

Same mindset.

LegendHasIt on April 8, 2013 at 3:07 PM

segasagez on April 8, 2013 at 2:12 PM

Exactly. As if it is not possible to roll back some missile defense spending where it is needed least, such as the European theater, while beefing up defenses in the Pacific.

Mr. Arkadin on April 8, 2013 at 3:34 PM

Obama’s late budget will be out Wednesday, and will be in the dumpster Thursday. He is not serious about helping our country.

Amazingoly on April 8, 2013 at 3:35 PM

I know this won’t be popular but a 6 percent cut in the missile defense budget is beyond the pale?

I would prefer a 6 percent cut across the board and not just missile defense. But this kind of thinking is why it seems we can’t ever cut anything because there are always sacred cows.

Bitter Clinger on April 8, 2013 at 2:07 PM

Cut 6% on everything else and increase missile defense spending.

shinty on April 8, 2013 at 3:35 PM

Never assume that Obama means well for the USA.

Schadenfreude on April 8, 2013 at 3:40 PM

North Korea GDP (2011): 12.4 Billion USD

North Korea GDP (Purchasing Power Parity): 40 Billion USD

Total U.S. Missile Defense Spending (2014 EST): 9.16 Billion USD

Mr. Arkadin on April 8, 2013 at 3:42 PM

MeanWhile………………..

US Navy deploying laser weapon prototype in Persian Gulf; won’t be operational until next year – @nytimes

47 mins ago from http://www.nytimes.com by editor

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/09/world/navy-deploying-laser-weapon-prototype-in-persian-gulf.html?_r=0
====================================

canopfor on April 8, 2013 at 4:07 PM

I know this won’t be popular but a 6 percent cut in the missile defense budget is beyond the pale?

I would prefer a 6 percent cut across the board and not just missile defense. But this kind of thinking is why it seems we can’t ever cut anything because there are always sacred cows.

Bitter Clinger on April 8, 2013 at 2:07 PM

Cut 6% on everything else and increase missile defense spending.

shinty on April 8, 2013 at 3:35 PM

That.

jimver on April 8, 2013 at 4:36 PM

Komrade Vlad and his Krazy Kim puppet just LOVE Obummer’s new flexibility after he got the election out of the way!

Steve Z on April 8, 2013 at 5:21 PM

The issue of missile defense is very much related to North Korea, and budget cuts in the middle of this crisis make zero sense, politically, diplomatically, or militarily. Talk about bad timing.

Or just maybe plain old incompetence?

JSobon on April 8, 2013 at 6:24 PM

Good God! Obama is going to get somebody hurt…but as long as it’s not him, I guess he can live with it.

AUINSC on April 8, 2013 at 8:10 PM