In a major speech this week, Republican presidential candidate and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz made specific proposals for national security. It may be that after months of expansive rhetoric about rebuilding America’s defenses and getting tough with foreign threats, candidates finally feel the need to be specific.I didn't change the formatting on this one because I wanted the "snarkiness" of AOL to come thru. They might not be Dems but they sure are leaning that way. I've always been suspect of those guys but its starting to ping now.
Here are the basics:
- A regular Army of 525,000 “trained and fully equipped soldiers”. [Current target: 450,000]
- A Navy of 12 carrier strike groups and “at least 350 ships”. [Current target: 11 carriers and 308 ships]
- An Air Force of “at least 6,000 total airplanes, with a minimum of 1,500 tactical fighter aircraft”. Also increasing the number of unmanned aircraft and pilots for ISR. [Current target: 5,500 total aircraft and about 1,100 fighter attack aircraft]
- A larger Marine Corps, with a review of the Marine Corps’s request “for exemption from requiring women to serve in combat positions”. (Note to Cruz staff: the Commandant who made that recommendation is now the Chairman; the current Commandant is comfortable with the Obama policy.)
- Total active duty personnel of 1.5 million. [Current target: 1.27 million]
- No change to Special Operations forces.
- Fully funded modernization of all three legs of the nuclear triad. [Current plans would do this, but ignore the large investment bow wave in 2020s]
To his credit, Cruz does not just vacuum up ideas produced by others. Back in October Carly Fiorina produced a detailed defense program. Although not unreasonable given her vision of national security, the proposal was taken almost entirely from recommendations made by the Heritage Foundation. Cruz, in contrast. has produced his own set of recommendations.
- Expanded missile defense capabilities. [Funding has been level in real terms for many years.]
But onto the Cruz proposal.
This is lovely. This is what we need to turn around our defense policy. The only thing that concerns is the fact that I get a whiff of Neo-Con interventionism from him. If I'm wrong on that and if he has a "look after the US first" let the rest of the world sort itself then I'm gonna need to take a second look.
Of course this brings me back to Trump. I need to hear a plan. Just saying that we're gonna rebuild the military isn't quite good enough. His idea of destroying ISIS with airpower (which I believe is easily doable) is spot on and his saying that the US shouldn't fight other people's wars or do heavy lifting for lazy partner nations is also spot on.
We'll see where this goes, but one thing is clear. I might focus on the defense part of things for these candidates but the 800 pound gorilla is the economy/jobs. Whoever wins on that issue wins the presidency.