Sen. Inhofe: Obama’s military too weak to help Ukraine

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A powerful member of the Senate Armed Services Committee says that President Obama’s mismanagement of the military’s defense budget is the reason why the U.S. has limited options for assisting Ukraine while it is under siege.

Sen. Jim Inhofe, the committee’s ranking member, said that he has long been concerned about the importance of the U.S. maintaining a ready and capable military. The Oklahoma Republican said in a statement Monday that he previously predicted that the U.S. would surrender its global influence “and leave a vacuum that will be filled by Russia.”

“I warned this day was coming, and it is here,” he said. “President Obama’s attempt to seek peace through apologetic diplomacy while defunding and dismantling our military has failed. Today, our enemies don’t fear us and our allies no longer respect us.”

Mr. Obama’s decision to cancel procurement plans for Lockheed Martin’s F-22 Raptor stealth fighter jet and Boeing C-17 Globemaster military transport aircraft are prime examples of defense budget mismanagement, Mr. Inhofe said. When the Pentagon makes public the details of its fiscal 2015 defense budget request this week, the nation will once again “be faced with the impacts of another year of cuts” to national security, Mr. Inhofe said.

On. Feb. 24, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel unveiled a blueprint of that budget request, which shows that the Pentagon intends to reduce its Littoral Combat Ship procurement plan — purchasing 32 ships instead of the previously stated goal of 52. The Pentagon also wants slow the growth rate of the Air Force’s F-35 fighter jet fleet, resulting in 24 fewer F-35s purchased over the next five years, according to the budget request.

Fiscal 2015 begins Oct. 1. The Pentagon expects to make public its full 2015 budget request and deliver it to Congress on tomorrow.

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