Rubio blasts Pentagon's proposed cuts to military budget

U.S. Senator Marco Rubio
Posted at 3:32 PM, Feb 24, 2014
and last updated 2014-02-24 11:56:31-05

WASHINGTON, D.C. (WTXL) - U.S. Senator Marco Rubio is criticizing Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel's plan to reduce the size of the U.S. military.

Rubio issued a statement shortly after the Pentagon's press briefing.  “Every day, we are reminded that the world remains as dangerous as ever and that we need a modern military to protect the American people and U.S. interests abroad," said Rubio. 

"It is vital that we maintain a strong U.S. military that serves as a capable deterrent, ensures freedom of the seas, and provides security for ourselves and our allies. We also need a military that is able to project force globally when crises emerge, sometimes at a moment’s notice.

 “I am concerned that the budget announced today will put all of these goals at risk. Reducing the size of the Army to its lowest levels in seventy years does not accurately reflect the current security environment, in which the administration’s own officials have noted the threats facing our country are more diffuse than ever. Cutting key Air Force and naval capabilities just as we are trying to increase our presence in the Pacific does not make strategic sense. I am concerned that we are on a path to repeat the mistakes we’ve made during past attempts to cash in on expected peace dividends that never materialized. Mistakes that caused our allies to question America’s staying power and encouraged our enemies to test us.

 “We should always look for efficiencies in our military budget and ensure that any wasteful spending is cut or directed to vital programs. But, the fact of the matter is that this administration has been cutting defense since it came into office and doing little to address our real fiscal challenges. Ultimately, we need to make sure that the real drivers of our debt are addressed. We need to save Medicare and Social Security to not only ensure future seniors can retire with dignity and a safety net, but also to make sure that we don’t sacrifice our security in order to deal with our debt.

 “President Obama’s upcoming budget reflects his indifference to doing anything about a growing $17.3 trillion debt, as well as his naïve and misguided perception of just how dangerous the world is.”

Defense Secretary Hagel announced the proposed cuts Monday afternoon as part an effort to take the U.S. military off of what the President has referred to as a "permanent war footing."

If enacted, the cuts would reduce the size of the U.S. Army to its smallest in decades.