Sean Hannity falsely asserted that the Obama administration “is taking steps to cut defense spending.” In fact, the administration's proposed 2010 budget would increase funding for the Defense Department and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan by billions of dollars.
During the April 6 edition of his Fox News program, Sean Hannity falsely asserted that “this administration is taking steps to cut defense spending,” adding, "[T]hat noise you hear off in the distance, those are the mullahs -- well, they're cheering." Later in the show, during an interview with John Bolton, former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Hannity similarly stated that defense is “the only place we're ... slowing spending,” and asked Bolton: “How dangerous is the mentality?” In fact, the Obama administration has proposed increasing defense spending by billions of dollars over the amount enacted in fiscal year 2009. As CNN.com noted on April 6, “The proposed overall fiscal year 2010 Defense Department budget is almost $534 billion, or nearly $664 billion when including the costs of the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. The current Pentagon budget totals slightly over $513 billion, or almost $655 billion including the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts.”
According to the White House, the administration's proposed budget for fiscal year 2010 requests $533.7 billion for the Department of Defense, “an increase of four percent from the 2009 enacted level of $513.3 billion,” plus $130 billion for military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan in 2010:
The 2010 Budget for the Department of Defense (DOD) requests $533.7 billion, or an increase of four percent from the 2009 enacted level of $513.3 billion (excluding funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009). This funding increase allows DOD to address its highest priorities, such as the President's commitment to meet the military's goal to increase the size of the Army and Marine Corps, to continue to improve the medical treatment of wounded servicemembers, and to reform the acquisition process.
The President is working with his military commanders to increase the number of U.S. troops in Afghanistan while responsibly removing combat forces from Iraq. To address the costs of military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Administration requests $75.5 billion for the remainder of 2009 and $130.0 billion for 2010.
The Bush administration's fiscal 2009 budget requested $515.4 billion for the Department of Defense. The Bush fiscal year 2009 budget requested an additional $70 billion to fund the “Global War on Terror” -- funds that are separate from those requested by the Obama administration "[t]o address the costs of military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan ... for the remainder of 2009."
Rather than cut overall defense spending, the fiscal year 2010 budget recommendations “reshape the priorities of America's defense establishment,” in Defense Secretary Robert Gates' words. Gates' recommendations include full funding for the growth of the U.S. military force and a shift in funds to what Gates believes are the “programs that are most needed today and most likely needed in the future.” From an April 6 Defense Department press release:
The secretary's recommendations will eliminate some high-cost, under-performing programs, but will “fully protect and properly fund” the growth in the Army and Marine Corps and halt reductions in the Navy and Air Force, Gates said.
The secretary's second priority is to rebalance Defense Department capabilities to fund programs that are most needed today and most likely needed in the future. His third priority, he said, is to reform the acquisition process.
Gates said his proposed changes are interconnected and cannot be properly communicated or understood in isolation from one another.
From the April 6 edition of Fox News' Hannity:
HANNITY: President Obama's trip to Europe culminated this morning with a speech that could have disastrous implications for America as it reveals a pre-9-11 appeasement mentality and approach to national security that is a threat to the United States.
Now, in 75 short days, this administration turned the war on terror now into a war on semantics. They have promised to unlock the cells at Guantánamo Bay. And while the nation's eyes have turned to a struggling economy, this administration is taking steps to cut defense spending.
And that noise you hear off in the distance, those are the mullahs -- well, they're cheering. So why did the president use every chance he could on this trip to make excuses for America?
BOLTON: Well, I think we could have shot the missile down. I think it was the right thing to do to let it fly as long as it did since it didn't look like it was going to endanger anybody, because, honestly, we learn a lot from watching that missile in flight that will help us in missile defense. I think the real point is the political point that North Korea thinks that the Obama administration is a paper tiger.
HANNITY: Well, I think a lot of people in Europe thought that as well. And in many ways, I thought he got rolled at the G-20 summit. But I guess -- how dangerous is this road we're now on? You know, overseas contingency operation and you know -- what's the other one? -- man-caused disasters, if we believe Janet Napolitano. How dangerous is the mentality? We're going to cut defense. It's the only place we're stop -- we're slowing spending.
BOLTON: Right. Well, I think all of our adversaries overseas are watching these early days of the Obama administration and they're drawing their conclusion. And I think the only conclusion you can draw is that it is a weak presidency. It believes very naively in the faith of negotiation. It obviously thinks that because it's not the Bush administration that it's going to be able to achieve its objectives.