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Obama: Won’t Accept Budget That Shortchanges Readiness

By Jim Garamone
DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, July 7, 2015 – President Barack Obama assured service members yesterday that they “are going to get paid” despite disagreements over the fiscal year 2016 defense budget.

Click photo for screen-resolution image
President Barack Obama addresses reporters at the Pentagon after meeting with his national security team, July 6, 2015. Defense Secretary Ash Carter, left, and Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, flank the president. DoD photo by Glenn Fawcett

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.

Speaking at the Pentagon following a meeting with his national security team, Obama said it is important to take a long view of the defense budget and understand that the American military must be ready to fight and win today as well as 25 years in the future.

The president said he is not going to accept a budget “that shortchanges our long-term requirements for new technologies, for readiness.”

“We’re not going to eat our seed corn by devoting too much money on things we don't need now and robbing ourselves of the capacity to make sure that we're prepared for future threats,” he added.

The administration has informed Congress that the president’s senior advisors would recommend that the president veto current House and Senate versions of the National Defense Authorization Act.

“I've worked very closely with the chairman and the members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to develop a budget that is realistic and that looks out into the future and says, ‘This is how we're going to handle any possible contingency,’” Obama said. “And we can't do that if we've got a budget that shortchanges vital operations and continues to fund things that are not necessary.”

Best Military in History

The president said Americans must remember that the U.S. economy powers the best military in history.

“We also have to remind ourselves that the reason we have the best military in the world is, first and foremost, because we’ve got the best troops in history,” he said. “But it’s also because we’ve got a strong economy, and we’ve got a well-educated population.

“And we’ve got an incredible research operation and universities that allow us to create new products that then can be translated into our military superiority around the world,” he continued. “[If] we shortchange those, we’re going to be less secure.”

The bottom line, the president said, is that Americans must think long-term and recognize that a strong economy is an integral part of national security.

America must “continue to make the investments that we need in things like education and research that are going to be vital for us to be successful long-term,” he said.

(Follow Jim Garamone on Twitter: @GaramoneDoDNews)

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