Jindal slams defense cuts in security speech

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) on Monday blasted President Obama’s cuts to the Defense Department and proposed a plan to boost the Pentagon’s funding.

He said the administration should at least fund the Pentagon at a level equal to 4 percent of gross domestic product (GDP).

ADVERTISEMENT
“Within the arena of national defense, the need now is for more funding, not less. That funding must be smarter — not motivated by domestic political priorities, but by what real threats America faces around the world,” Jindal said in a speech at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, D.C. 

The Congressional Budget Office estimates funding of the Pentagon will be equal to 3.5 percent of GDP in 2014. It is projected to drop to 2.7 percent by 2024.

Jindal, a prospective White House candidate in 2016, ripped Obama on a series of foreign policy areas, arguing Islamic militants have grown in power on his watch even as NATO has drifted and Israel has been "alienated" by U.S. policy.

He also sough to tie Obama's former secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, to his criticism of the White House.

“Today, we are living with the consequences of the Obama-Clinton ideas when it comes to foreign, domestic, and defense policy,” he said.

The speech by Jindal is part of an effort to present himself as an effective voice on domestic and foreign policy. He released a 28-page proposal to rebuild the U.S. military from America Next, the conservative advocacy group formed by Jindal.

The governor co-authored the paper with former Sen. Jim Talent (R-Mo.), and will deliver a similar speech at The Citadel on Tuesday.

Jindal praised former Defense Secretary Robert Gates for the defense budget he submitted in 2011 that would have increased funding to the Pentagon. Obama later made reductions to Gates’s proposed budget. The 2011 budget deal that raised the debt ceiling, reached after an agreement between the White House and congressional Republicans, instituted further cuts.

“The consequences of this foolish nearly trillion-dollar cut over the coming decade are unacceptable. Under these cuts, America will not have a global Navy any more,” Jindal said of the spending reductions.

The foreign policy proposal is the third policy plan developed by Jindal’s group America Next. The first two focused on repealing ObamaCare and taking advantage of U.S. energy resources to create jobs.

Jindal is among a number of Republicans who have recently criticized Obama’s plan to shrink the Defense Department as the U.S. enters a new war against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.

House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), another possible 2016 presidential hopeful, said last month that Obama’s call to cut from the Pentagon sends the wrong signal

Over the weekend, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) echoed GOP calls on CNN’s “State of the Union” for increasing defense spending and getting rid of sequestration. Graham said he wants to work with Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.) next year to replace the cuts. They are both members of the Senate Armed Services Committee.

Obama sought to reduce funding for the Pentagon as he worked to unwind the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. But he now faces a new challenge in Iraq and Syria.