Former vice president Dick Cheney went on Fox's "Hannity" show last night to discuss the recent plans to reduce the Army to levels not seen since 1940 — through a reduction in personnel and removing a class of warplanes from the field — in an effort to cut budgets after a decade of war, calling the decision "over the top." He told host Sean Hannity that President Obama would "much rather spend the money on food stamps than he would on a strong military or support for our troops.”
The military cuts proposed by Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel on Monday were in part a reaction to the Congress' latest appropriations bill. The Pentagon is authorized to spend $1 trillion over the next two years — far more than the sequestration cuts allowed but $75 billion less than the Obama administration requested. The Pentagon's plan would call for a reduction in troops from their wartime peak of 570,000 to between 440,000 and 450,000 troops. The plan also proposes cutting pay and benefits for military employees. Hagel said Monday, “No realistic effort to find further significant savings can avoid dealing with military compensation."
Earlier in the interview, Cheney said, "The fact of the matter is he’s having a huge impact on the ability of future presidents to deal with future crises that are bound to arise. ... I can guarantee you, there’s never going to be a call from the future secretary of defense to Barack Obama, to thank him for what he’s done to the military. This is just devastating.”
He went on, "I think it's a reflection of the basic and fundamental belief of this president, that he's always wanted to cut the military."
During the Bush presidency, defense budget requests from the White House increased defense spending to levels not seen since the Reagan era. For much of Obama's first term, Pentagon spending remained at Bush-era levels due to the ongoing wars in Iraq and especially Afghanistan.