President Obama and Vice President Biden believe that we must build up our special operations forces, civil affairs, information operations, and other units and capabilities that remain in chronic short supply; invest in foreign language training, cultural awareness, and human intelligence and other needed counterinsurgency and stabilization skill sets; and create a more robust capacity to train, equip, and advise foreign security forces, so that local allies are better prepared to confront mutual threats. The Ob ama- Biden Administration will support missile defense, but ensure that it is developed in a way that is pragmatic and cost-effective and, most importantly, does not divert resources from other national security priorities until we are positive the technology will protect the American public.
CAPITOL HILL CONNECTION CAPT MARSHALL A. HANSON, USNR (RET.) • ROA DIRECTOR OF LEGISLATION Capitol View Obama on Defense The biggest surprise in the new president’s defense agenda is that there are few surprises. D efense is one of 30 items on President Barack stumbling block for the momentum of his initiatives. Obama’s published White House agenda, with the Additionally, public opinion may weigh heavily. A Pew economy and energy and the environment featured Research Center survey taken in January showed that the on the White House website home page (www.whitehouse. public’s attention is on domestic policy, especially the econ- gov). Using verbiage that appears to have been borrowed omy, topping its list with an 85 percent rating. Jobs came in from his election campaign, the agenda includes numer- second with an 82 percent rating. While terrorism remains ous provisions that provide direction for the various federal a concern, listed in third place with a 76 percent rating, the agencies (see story below). military was 14th on the list with a 44 percent score. Never- But in many cases, President Obama can’t move unilater- theless, this was higher than the environment, which was in ally. Congress still must review, authorize, and fund many 16th place, and global warming in 20th place. of these agenda items. With the president still in his honey- It is interesting to note where the Obama agenda empha- moon period, Congress may be more cooperative, but Presi- sized rebuilding the military: special operations, civil affairs, dent Obama also heads a separate branch of government. foreign language training, and cultural awareness for coun- Both the Senate and the House are led by individuals with terinsurgency. The Obama administration supports increas- strong personalities, and either chamber could prove to be a ing the size of the Army by 65,000 and the Marine Corps by President Obama’s Agenda for Defense As issued by the White House, stabilization skill sets; and create a more Brave Troops and Their Families: The Jan. 22, 2009 robust capacity to train, equip, and ad- Obama–Biden Administration will cre- vise foreign security forces, so that local ate a Military Families Advisory Board President Barack Obama and Vice allies are better prepared to confront to provide a conduit for military fami- President Joe Biden will invest in a 21st mutual threats. lies’ concerns to be brought to the atten- century military to maintain our conven- Expand to Meet Military Needs tion of senior policymakers and the pub- tional advantage while increasing our ca- on the Ground: President Obama and lic. The president and vice president will pacity to defeat the threats of tomorrow. Vice President Biden support plans to end the stop-loss policy and establish They will ensure that our troops have the increase the size of the Army by 65,000 predictability in deployments so that Ac- training, equipment, and support that Soldiers and the Marine Corps by 27,000 tive Duty and Reserves know what they they need when they are deployed. Marines. Increasing our end-strength will can and must expect. help units retrain and re-equip properly Invest in a 21st Century Military between deployments and decrease the Build Defense Capabilities Rebuild the Military for 21st Cen- strain on military families. for the 21st Century tury Tasks: President Obama and Vice Inspire Leadership from the Top: Fully Equip Our Troops for the President Biden believe that we must President Obama and Vice President Missions They Face: President Barack build up our special operations forces, Biden will inspire a new generation Obama and Vice President Joe Biden civil affairs, information operations, of Americans to serve their country, believe we must get essential equipment and other units and capabilities that whether it be in local communities in to our Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, and Ma- remain in chronic short supply; invest such roles as teachers or first-responders, rines before lives are lost. in foreign language training, cultural or serving in the military to keep our na-
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