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The Republican chairman of the House Armed Service Committee on Monday accused the Obama administration of trying “solve our financial problems on the backs of our military – and that can’t be done.”
And even “if it could be done, it shouldn't be done,” California Rep. Buck McKeon said of the proposed Army reductions and cuts to specific weapons programs offered by Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel.
McKeon portrayed the proposal as a simple continuation of the strategy shift announced by President Barack Obama last year.
“In the last few years, we’ve changed our strategy that has stood us well since World War II – that we should be able to be equipped, ready to go, (to fight) two major contingencies at a time. We’ve cut that back to ‘fight one, and hold one.’ Maybe people have kind of not heard that speech that the president gave when we cut our strategy back,” McKeon said.
The House chairman said that under the Obama-Hagel plan, the U.S. force will include the smallest number of ships in the Navy since World War I. He acknowledged that today’s Navy ships are more technologically capable, but “we haven’t learned yet how to have a ship in two places at the same time.”
Earlier Monday, Army Gen. H.R. McMaster -- although not commenting specifically on Hagel’s proposal for greater reliance on special operations forces -- criticized what he called “the Zero Dark Thirty fallacy, (the idea) that really all we need are tremendously capable special operations forces who will conduct raids against discrete targets and essentially we can solve the problem of future war with something akin to a global SWAT team ... ."
He called special operations “an immensely important capability, but not really a strategy that can work when applied to the complex problem of future wars.”