Wintery Knight

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

Obama administration warns contractors to delay layoffs to after election

This is currently the top story at Fox News.

Excerpt:

The Obama administration has doubled down on its plea to defense contractors not to warn employees about possible layoffs due to looming budget cuts —  going so far as to offer to cover legal fees in compensation challenges.

The move drew a stern rebuke Friday from South Dakota Republican Sen. John Thune, since federal law requires employers to give notice if mass layoffs are likely.

“For the second time, the Obama administration has now encouraged government contractors to ignore the WARN Act and hold off on warning employees about possible layoffs due to the looming sequestration cuts,” Thune, lead author of the Sequestration Transparency Act, said Friday.

The offer to pay the legal fees was included in a memorandum issued by the administration Friday that also restated the Labor Department’s position from July that contractors should not issue written notices to employees because of the “uncertainty” over the across-the-board cuts to the defense budget and other federal spending that will occur Jan. 2 unless Congress reaches a new deal.

The notices are required under the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act and generally require employers with more than 100 employees to provide 60-day notices of “mass layoffs if they are reasonably foreseeable.”

[...]Rep. John Kline, chairman of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, suggested last week that the Labor Department is trying to conceal the full impact of the cuts.

“The Labor Department is trying to hide the consequences of sequestration from workers,” Kline, R-Minn., said in a letter to Labor Secretary Hilda Solis.

So the administration is more concerned about being re-elected than with the cuts to an already weakened defense industry.  The focus is always on rhetoric and perception with these Democrats, never on substance and doing what’s right.

Filed under: News, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Congressman Allen West gives the Republican weekly radio address

It’s about time that Allen West be allowed to give the official GOP weekly radio address. His topic is the automatic spending cuts to the defense budget that are scheduled to occur soon.

Description:

In this week’s address, Congressman Allen West, a Retired U.S. Army Lieutenant Colonel, discusses the deadline for the sequester, and the White House’s devastating inaction on what was originally their idea. The Republican-led House has proposed responsible replacements to the sequester’s historically crippling across-the-board cuts to our nation’s military. The recent vicious attacks on embassies in the Middle East underscore the need to preserve our military strength. The president and Senate Democrats must put aside partisan politics to work with us to preserve our military and replace the sequester.

For those who can’t see the video, here is a report from the radically leftist CNN:

Rep. Allen West of Florida cited his military experience on Saturday in the Republican weekly address, where he called for action from the Senate and White House on the sequester set to begin in January.

“I spent 22 years in active duty in the United States Army and served in several combat zones,” the retired lieutenant colonel said. “I can not understate the amount of damage these cuts would do to our military. They would essentially hollow out our armed forces.”

“Mr. President, for you, the Commander in Chief of our armed forces, to sit idle and do nothing while this dark cloud hangs over our military – it is shameful, it is irresponsible, and it is wrong,” he said.

Included in the cuts – which would reduce the federal deficit by approximately $1 trillion over the next decade – are reductions in defense spending, as well as nearly every other area. On Friday, a White House report found the cuts “would have a devastating impact on important defense and nondefense programs.”

While House Republicans have acted to find alternatives to these cuts, the Democrat-controlled Senate and White House have not, he said.

“The president himself has opposed or disregarded every attempt we’ve made to work with him on a solution,” West said. “Dodging his responsibility is how the ‘sequester’ came about, so it is no surprise the president is doing the exact same thing now.”

West called to mind violence in the Arab world this week – including that which led to the death of four Americans at a U.S. consulate in Libya – as a sign of “how critical it is that the United States projects strength,” including military strength.

“It is because of these threats that America must continue to fund its military and support its armed forces to the fullest extent,” West said. “The lives of all Americans depend on it, as do the memories of Ambassador Chris Stevens and the public servants who perished with him.”

West says this in his address: “Mr. President: for you — the Commander-in-Chief of our Armed Forces — to sit idle and do nothing while this dark cloud hangs over our military, it is shameful, it is irresponsible, and it is wrong. It is dead wrong.”

Filed under: News, , , , , , , , ,

Russian attack submarine operates undetected in Gulf of Mexico for a month

From the Washington Free Beacon.

Excerpt:

A Russian nuclear-powered attack submarine armed with long-range cruise missiles operated undetected in the Gulf of Mexico for several weeks and its travel in strategic U.S. waters was only confirmed after it left the region, the Washington Free Beacon has learned.

It is only the second time since 2009 that a Russian attack submarine has patrolled so close to U.S. shores.

The stealth underwater incursion in the Gulf took place at the same time Russian strategic bombers made incursions into restricted U.S. airspace near Alaska and California in June and July, and highlights a growing military assertiveness by Moscow.

The submarine patrol also exposed what U.S. officials said were deficiencies in U.S. anti-submarine warfare capabilities—forces that are facing cuts under the Obama administration’s plan to reduce defense spending by $487 billion over the next 10 years.

The Navy is in charge of detecting submarines, especially those that sail near U.S. nuclear missile submarines, and uses undersea sensors and satellites to locate and track them.

The fact that the Akula was not detected in the Gulf is cause for concern, U.S. officials said.

The officials who are familiar with reports of the submarine patrol in the Gulf of Mexico said the vessel was a nuclear-powered Akula-class attack submarine, one of Russia’s quietest submarines.

[...]Submarine warfare specialists say the Akula remains the core of the Russian attack submarine force.

The submarines can fire both cruise missiles and torpedoes, and are equipped with the SSN-21 and SSN-27 submarine-launched cruise missiles, as well as SSN-15 anti-submarine-warfare missiles. The submarines also can lay mines.

The SSN-21 has a range of up to 1,860 miles.

Why is this happening? Well, it might be because of Obama’s policy of unilateral disarmament, appeasement and retreat.

The Navy is facing sharp cuts in forces needed to detect and counter such submarine activity.

The Obama administration’s defense budget proposal in February cut $1.3 billion from Navy shipbuilding projects, which will result in scrapping plans to build 16 new warships through 2017.

The budget also called for cutting plans to buy 10 advanced P-8 anti-submarine warfare jets needed for submarine detection.

In June, Russian strategic nuclear bombers and support aircraft conducted a large-scale nuclear bomber exercise in the arctic. The exercise included simulated strikes on “enemy” strategic sites that defense officials say likely included notional attacks on U.S. missile defenses in Alaska.

Under the terms of the 2010 New START arms accord, such exercises require 14-day advanced notice of strategic bomber drills, and notification after the drills end. No such notification was given.

A second, alarming air incursion took place July 4 on the West Coast when a Bear H strategic bomber flew into U.S. airspace near California and was met by U.S. interceptor jets.

That incursion was said to have been a bomber incursion that has not been seen since before the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991.

Is Obama really cutting defense? Consider this article from Investors Business Daily.

Excerpt:

The administration announces a leaner version of our military involving the cutting of tens of thousands of ground troops as a leading defense contractor closes a major plant due to budget cuts.

In an unusual appearance at the Pentagon on Thursday, President Obama laid out his plans for a “leaner” military based on the need “to renew our economic strength here at home, which is the foundation of our strength in the world.”

In other words, failed domestic policies require us to cut our military in a dangerous world.

[...]Defense cuts are already having a domestic effect. Boeing Co. announced Wednesday it will close its defense plant in Wichita, Kan., by the end of 2013, moving future aircraft maintenance, modification and support to other facilities.

The closure, prompted by defense cuts, will cost 2,160 workers their jobs.

[...]A 14-page analysis by the Republican majority staff of the House Armed Services Committee says the cumulative cuts will result in the Army and Marines losing 200,000 troops.

The Navy will shrink to 238 vessels from today’s 300 and would lose two carrier battle groups needed to project American power and influence. Strategic bombers will fall from 153 to 101. Air Force fighters would drop by more than half, from 3,602 aircraft to 1,512 planes.

I blogged more about the Obama administration’s cuts to defense last week.

Filed under: News, , , , , , , , , ,

Defense cuts to an already weakened military exposes us to aggression

Mackenzie Eaglen is a defense policy analyst for the American Enterprise Institute.

Here’s a recent article that she wrote from the Wall Street Journal. (Full text also here on the AEI web site)

Excerpt:

Washington is battling these days over “sequestration,” the $500 billion additional cut to the defense budget looming in January.

[...]In April 2011—long before the near shutdown of the government and the last-minute debt-ceiling deal, which paved the way for sequestration—the president outlined $400 billion in defense cuts he had already approved. He also said that he wanted to “do that again” and find another $400 billion in military spending reductions. All this without any talk of threats, strategy or requirements—just arbitrary budget targets imposed on the military.

Even before sequestration and the possible loss of a half-trillion dollars, the U.S. military has seen three years of budget cuts. The consequences are already here. We have to look all the way back to 1916 to find a year when the Air Force purchased fewer aircraft than are included in Mr. Obama’s 2013 budget request.

Many of the Air Force’s aerial refueling tankers predate human space flight. Training aircraft are twice as old as the students flying them. The F-15 fighter first flew 40 years ago. A-10 ground-attack planes were developed in the Carter years. And all of our B-52 bombers predate the Cuban missile crisis.

Then there’s the Navy, which is the smallest it has been since 1916. At 286 combat and combat-support ships, the Navy today is less than half the size it reached during the Reagan administration. And what about those men and women who have been fighting America’s wars in Afghanistan and Iraq since 2001? They’re losing 100,000 in active duty personnel. Surely some will go from the front lines to unemployment lines as a result.

[...]Military leaders have suggested that taking on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his Third World army would be an operation of “many, many months.” The so-called “pivot” to Asia is being mimed with fewer ships on longer deployments and a shrinking, aging air force. We’re ignoring a wholesale Chinese power grab in the South China Sea and watching the nuclearization of Iran.

In another article on AOL Defense, she focuses in on the cuts to the U.S. Air Force. (Full text also here on the AEI web site)

Excerpt:

Between the existing reduction of $487 billion and sequestration’s additional half-trillion dollar cut, the Pentagon faces a very profound strategic turning point — one entirely different than that articulated by Secretary Panetta. Instead of prudently posturing for future successes, America’s armed forces are headed for a crash.

These pressures are perhaps best illustrated within the Air Force. The service absorbed 90 percent of the cuts levied on the Department of Defense in the 2013 budget — $4.8 billion of $5.2 billion. The effects have been immediate and pronounced: nearly 10,000 airmen are being cut; 227 aircraft are being prematurely retired; and critical capability shortfalls are on the rise.

[...]These budget cuts would not present such dire effects if the Air Force had been able to use the past decade to recapitalize its fleet and overarching infrastructure. At the end of World War Two, the Korean War, Vietnam, and the Cold War, the service was able to weather post-war budget downturns precisely because it had reset the majority of its capabilities during wartime.

Circumstances were different this past decade. The Air Force, already stretched thin by the 1990s procurement holiday, actually saw its percentage of the defense budget decline by one-third during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The service canceled or delayed the vast majority of its modernization portfolio to sustain wartime operational demands.

So 20 years of underfunding has given us an Air Force on the brink. Its aircraft average a quarter of a century in age-with many dating back to the Eisenhower Administration. The wings of Carter-era A-10 ground attack airplanes are riddled with structural cracks. Airmen learning to fly are strapping into T-38s over twice their age. B-52s, all of which pre-date the Cuban missile crisis, are spending up to a year in depot-level maintenance. In light of the F-22 shortage, the Air Force is now extending the lifespan of its 28 year-old F-15s to 18,000 hours — more than three times their original design life.

The Air Force also spent the last decade retiring nearly a quarter of its bombers, fighters, and cargo aircraft in an attempt to free up money for immediate priorities. While helpful on a budget spreadsheet in the near-term, this has stretched the remaining tails even thinner. Shrinking the fleet makes little sense when the mission demand is constant. Aircraft availability rates and maintenance statistics clearly illustrate the rising costs associated with this decision.

Obama is also in favor of the complete disarmament of the United States with respect to nuclear weapons.

The Wall Street Journal explains:

The White House and Pentagon are considering several proposals that would deeply cut the nation’s stockpile of nuclear weapons, potentially to as low as 300 warheads under one such plan, according to a U.S. official.

The proposals haven’t been presented to President Barack Obama but are being debated by lower-level officials on the national-security staff and in the Pentagon.

The U.S. official said the government isn’t considering a unilateral cut to the nation’s nuclear arsenal. Instead, the different proposals represent arsenal levels that could be negotiated with Russia in a future round of arms-control talks.

Nonetheless, the prospect of nuclear-arsenal cuts during a hard-fought presidential campaign is certain to stoke political controversy.

Under current treaty obligations, the U.S. must reduce its nuclear arsenal to 1,550 warheads by 2018 from just below 1,800 now. One of the new proposals would cut the arsenal to between 1,000 and 1,100; another proposes an arsenal of between 700 to 800; and the most drastic proposal would cut the arsenal to between 300 and 400, according to the official.

The fact of the matter is that there are hot spots and threats all over the world. If we want to work towards peace and protect the weak, then we need a large, capable military force. This is the doctrine of peace through strength. Talk is cheap, and disarmament only emboldens evildoers to be aggressive. If we want to stop war, we have to make it costly for aggressors and tyrants. They have to know that there is a cost.

Filed under: News, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Obama’s defense cuts undermine our national security

From Investors Business Daily.

Excerpt:

The administration announces a leaner version of our military involving the cutting of tens of thousands of ground troops as a leading defense contractor closes a major plant due to budget cuts.

In an unusual appearance at the Pentagon on Thursday, President Obama laid out his plans for a “leaner” military based on the need “to renew our economic strength here at home, which is the foundation of our strength in the world.”

In other words, failed domestic policies require us to cut our military in a dangerous world.

[...]Yet as Russia rearms, Iran pursues its nukes and China pushes toward a global reach, it is hard to argue that less is more.

[...]Defense cuts are already having a domestic effect. Boeing Co. announced Wednesday it will close its defense plant in Wichita, Kan., by the end of 2013, moving future aircraft maintenance, modification and support to other facilities.

The closure, prompted by defense cuts, will cost 2,160 workers their jobs.

[...]A 14-page analysis by the Republican majority staff of the House Armed Services Committee says the cumulative cuts will result in the Army and Marines losing 200,000 troops.

The Navy will shrink to 238 vessels from today’s 300 and would lose two carrier battle groups needed to project American power and influence. Strategic bombers will fall from 153 to 101. Air Force fighters would drop by more than half, from 3,602 aircraft to 1,512 planes.

As a chart produced by the committee shows, the cumulative cuts are real cuts, both in spending levels and in military capability. The Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman, Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, said in written statements released during his recent confirmation hearings, “National security didn’t cause the debt crisis, nor will it solve it.”

We would note that defense is a constitutional imperative — not an optional budget item — and that the question should be what do we need to defend ourselves and our interests, not simply what we can afford as the result of failed administration policies.

If you are expecting the President to keep the country safe and to protect our interests abroad, then you don’t elect a Democrat. Democrats can’t do national security or foreign policy, because they think that a weaker America is better than a stronger America. And, when elected, Democrats weaken America.

Filed under: News, , , , , , , , , ,

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