When Barack Obama promised that he would find more cuts to make in the federal budget, one had the impression that Obama had actually done some research prior to giving his speech last Wednesday. For instance, Obama insisted that even though the Pentagon had already found $400 billion in cuts over the next ten years, the Department of Defense could find another $400 billion soon enough:
Just as we must find more savings in domestic programs, we must do the same in defense. Over the last two years, Secretary Gates has courageously taken on wasteful spending, saving $400 billion in current and future spending. I believe we can do that again.
Wow! Obama must have had a productive meeting with Robert Gates and discovered even more waste than first thought … right? Er, not exactly:
Pentagon chief Robert Gates on Wednesday warned that major cuts to defense spending planned by President Barack Obama would require scaling back military forces, missions and capabilities.
The Pentagon’s response came after Obama unveiled a deficit-reduction plan that includes a proposed cut of $400 billion in security spending by 2023.
Although the defense secretary believed the Pentagon could not be “exempt” from efforts to reduce the rising deficit, cutting military spending in coming years would require difficult choices and could not be merely a “budget math exercise,” Pentagon press secretary Geoff Morrell said.
That sounds like something Gates should have told Obama before the President made that commitment on national television. So why didn’t Gates bring this to Obama’s attention?
Gates only learned of the president’s plan for defense spending goals on Tuesday, his spokesman said.
In other words, Obama didn’t even bother to consult his Secretary of Defense on the decision, and apparently didn’t prepare Gates for the announcement of it the next day. That’s certainly a confidence builder.
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