By Kristina Wong - 02/25/14 10:07 AM EST
A top GOP lawmaker blasted the White House’s new defense budget request, saying it was based on “the naïve world view that the ‘tide of war is receding,’ and Al-Qaeda is ‘on the run’ and on the ‘path to defeat.’ ”
“Al-Qaeda and its allies now operate in more countries and control more territory than ever before,” Inhofe said.
Inhofe (R-Okla.) said, despite adversaries’ capabilities growing, the U.S. defense budget has only been cut over the last five years, resulting in a steep decline in military readiness and capabilities.
The Navy was at a historically low level of ships, the Air Force was the smallest in history, and the ground force might fall to pre-World War II levels, he said.
Inhofe said, instead of cutting readiness, the Pentagon should tackle waste and inefficiencies within the department.
“Every dollar consumed by waste and inefficiency is a dollar that cannot be used to rebuild readiness and defeat our adversaries,” he said. “This is particularly true in the defense acquisition process.”
Christine Wormuth, the nominee for under secretary of defense for policy, defended the administration.
“We have significantly degraded the core of al-Qaeda,” she said, but agreed that the broad threat of al Qaeda has metastasized.
“I think it has spread,” she said.