Rep. Buck McKeon (R-Calif.) honored the contributions of the Reserve Components while offering a cautionary tale of the impending defense cuts as he addressed the final session of the ROA 2012 National Security Symposium at the Washington Marriott Wardman Park on Wednesday.
“If you study our history, you know that after every war we’ve cut back—just so we won’t be ready for the next one,” he said. “And the problem with that is, we lose a lot of people needlessly.”
He emphasized unprepared troops at the beginning of World War I, World War II, Korea, and Vietnam as a result of postwar military cuts.
“I have never seen us do it during wartime, and never the type of cuts that we’re seeing right now,” he added.
He emphasized the half-trillion-dollar cuts that have already been implemented and the announced defense strategy that changes the two-front war posture. But he also observed the additional half-trillion in cuts as a result of sequestration.
“So we’re looking at a trillion dollars in the next year being cut out of our defense over the next 10 years,” he said.
He particularly emphasized big cuts the Air Force Reserve and the Air National Guard would face.
“Whole squadrons will be cut, many of which provide desperately needed airlift capacity,” he said.
He also noted the Reserve and Guard’s desperate need of reset in the coming years.
With a granddaughter who just joined the Army Reserve, he marveled at the number of young people who continue to join, knowing full well what they can be in for in the coming years. He also emphasized the fact that the Reserve Components have been an active force for a number of years.
“One thing is certain: No one—and I mean no one—can call you weekend warriors,” he said. “I would take America’s Reservists and Guardsmen over any active duty military in the world, and it wouldn’t even be a fair fight.”