National Security Hit By The National Debt

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by Michael Lodge

Over the past week I have been writing blogs on the national debt and how it affects our national security as a nation.  If democratic or republican candidates are not addressing this issue then we as a nation have a problem.  Clinton says she wants to add more onto the debt with more free stuff of Bernie Sanders, and she has no way to lower the national debt, no plan at all.  Trump addresses the national debt but still unclear as to what his exact plan is.  The biggest issue right now is our national debt, if Congress or the President raise it anymore it will become a crisis to the United States.  We need to address this issue quickly before it becomes worse then the mortgage crisis.  So if we are going to choose a President we had better choose the one that knows how to manage debt and to face a financial crisis.  If they have no experience in debt issues they should not even be considered.

We have to realize that our national debt affects world markets.  Here is a chart on which nations hold the most of our national debt, since this chart was published in 2014 ($18 trillion dollars) the national debt is almost near $20 trillion dollars.  Thus the international participation has grown with the debt.

national debt international holders

I am going to post a letter from the Defense Department as they address their concerns on the debt and national security.

Debt is Biggest Threat to National Security, Chairman Says

By Army Sgt. 1st Class Tyrone C. Marshall Jr.
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Sept. 22, 2011 – Debt is the biggest threat to U.S. national security, Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said during remarks to business executives today.

“I’ve said many times that I believe the single, biggest threat to our national security is our debt, so I also believe we have every responsibility to help eliminate that threat,” he said. “We must, and will, do our part.”

Speaking to the Business Executives for National Security, the chairman discussed budget concerns and sought the executives’ experiences to help formulate strategic fiscal planning.

“All of you have dealt with downturns in the business cycle,” Mullen said. “Many of you have turned around troubled corporations, or restructured firms. Our challenges will not precisely be yours, but I’ll bet we can take a lesson or two from what you’ve seen.”

Mullen talked to the group about concerns caused by the “sequestration” mechanism included in the nation’s new debt-reduction law.

“As you know, the resident has made a decision to reduce the defense budget by more than $450 billion over the next 10 years,” he said. “That’s a lot of money from any perspective, but, in fact, it only represents a little over 9 percent a year from our baseline.

“Many of you have faced worse,” he continued. “And yet, as achievable as I believe these cuts to be, they will also be difficult to identify and to execute – more difficult, I think, than they would be for you.”

Mullen said most difficulties stem from large capital expenses, huge fixed costs and aging infrastructure such as bases, ships and aircraft.

“Our replacement turnover rate is extremely low, because it takes so long to design, build, test and field new equipment,” he said. “Cuts in this arena have significant military impacts, because to make any sort of difference you have to remove from your inventory a platform that will take a long time to replace.”

Mullen also attributed these difficulties to fighting two wars for a decade, which has resulted in a “must-pay” liability.

“Much of that equipment has been worn out more quickly than expected because of the wars we are fighting,” he said. “It needs to be repaired or replaced when it comes home.”

The chairman said the next logical step of reduction would be people and their compensation, but he cautioned against “draconian” changes.

“They drive our costs in the Pentagon just like they have in the corporate world – increases in pay, and especially increases in the cost of health care,” Mullen said.

“We are a well-compensated force today and rightfully so,” he said. “And because I simply can’t – and [Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta] has made clear that he won’t – break faith with our troops, we need to be very careful here.”

Mullen praised service members for their sacrifices and reiterated his commitment to protecting them.

“They are not my employees,” he said. “They aren’t anyone’s employees. “They are soldiers, airmen, sailors, Marines and Coast Guardsmen — volunteers all — who made a life decision to join our ranks. “And many of them risk those lives every, single day.”

The chairman said the nation faces an “imperative,” and agreed with Panetta’s assessment of the challenge as being “hard, but manageable.”

“We must consider the world as it is — the threats as we see them — not wishing away the danger nor blowing it out of proportion,” Mullen said.

“Pragmatism and practicality must be our watchwords moving forward,” he added, “[and] strategy must become our acumen.”