No sooner did the Pentagon announce plans to downsize the military when China proclaimed it would boost its military budget to almost $132 billion this year, 12.2 percent higher than in 2013, notes Grumpy Editor.
The communist nation’s military spending ranks second largest in the world, behind No. 1 spot long held by the United States --- which seeks drastic cuts of billions of dollars that would take U.S. forces to its lowest level since before World War II.
Frowning on the proposed slashing of U.S. military spending, Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, last week predicted it would become increasingly difficult to balance the competing demands of protecting allies abroad, securing Americans at home and deterring future wars.
“Most of our platforms and equipment will be older and our advantages in some domains will have eroded,” Dempsey pointed out. “Our loss of depth across the force could reduce our ability to intimidate opponents from escalating conflicts.”
Rep. Buck McKeon, R-Calif, chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, warned proposed U.S. military cuts mean “we won’t be ready for the next war.” He recounted that after World War II “we took the largest, strongest Army and Navy and we totally destroyed it. We don’t think we’re setting ourselves up for the same thing?”
At the same time, in referring to the defense cuts, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel explained to Pentagon reporters, “We are no longer sizing the military to conduct long and large stability operations.”
Also referring to the downsized military plan, Mike Huckabee said on his weekend Fox TV show: “We’ve been the shakiest gun in the West.”
ARMY READIES ARTILLERY POSTS FOR WOMEN
Also looking to the future, along with easing restrictions on women in combat, a directive issued by Army Secretary John McHugh called for opening 1,900 field artillery positions in the active-duty Army and 1,700 in the National Guard and Reserve.
In following up, an Army spokesman said, "With this action, the Army continues its unwavering commitment to sustain our legacy as a world-class force by providing opportunity for all soldiers to succeed through viable career paths, and by cultivating a progressively ready force with unmatched war fighting capability."
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WHITAKER JOINS SUNDAY NIGHT CBS TEAM. Veteran CBS newsman Bill Whitaker will be joining “60 Minutes” as a correspondent in the fall. A Philadelphia native, he started his broadcast journalism career at KQED, San Francisco, joining CBS in 1984 with stretches reporting from Atlanta, Tokyo, South Africa and Los Angeles.
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