Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney has made one of the centerpieces of his campaign a promise to not just increase military spending, but dramatically increase military spending. Romney has also claimed that President Obama is going destroy the military with draconian cuts to the defense budget.
Mitt Romney’s national defense plan would begin by “reversing Obama-era defense cuts and return to the budget baseline established by Secretary Robert Gates in 2010, with the goal of setting core defense spending—meaning funds devoted to the fundamental military components of personnel, operations and maintenance, procurement, and research and development—at a floor of 4 percent of GDP.”
But the facts are, as pointed out by Foreign Policy, that Obama has not cut defense spending. In 2008 during the Bush Administration, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates recommended in his fiscal year 2009 budget request that defense spending increase to $544 billion by 2012. Then in 20011, the Obama Administration requested $553 billion for the fiscal year 2012 budget. The President actually requested $9 billion more than the Bush Administration requested.
Romney’s plan would increase military spending by more than $2 trillion over ten years. What does Romney want to spend this extra defense cash on? Planes that kill pilots. During a campaign stop in Virginia last month Romney said that he wanted to “add F-22s to our Air Force fleet.” These are the same F-22’s that have been grounded due to “toxins entering the cockpit via the aircraft’s life support systems.” Because of these and other problems the cost of reopening the program would be nearly $1 billion.
During a Republican primary debate in January, Romney said that Navy “is smaller than it’s been since 1917,” and that the Air Force “is smaller and older than any time since 1947.” He continues to make these claims on his campaign web site, despite that PolitiFact labeled the claim as “Pants On Fire.” Romney also has plans for the Navy, to increase the number of ships built per year from nine to “approximately 15.”
Even as Romney seeks to distance himself from the Bush Administration’s foreign policy because, as one of his campaign strategists told the Los Angeles Times, “the Bush foreign policy is a terrible brand,” Romney has embraced the vision of Bush-Cheney era. In fact, 17 out of 24 foreign policy advisors are neoconservatives from the Bush Administration. Additionally, Dan Senor is reportedly Romney’s closest foreign policy advisor, whose foreign policy views shifts are matched only by Romney’s.