Rep. McKeon: Defense Cuts Could Necessitate Draft

September 20, 2011 5:58 pm ET — Walid Zafar

Appearing on Fox New yesterday, Rep. Buck McKeon (R-CA), chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, warned that proposed cuts to defense spending could necessitate the return of a military draft. If the bipartisan "super committee" on debt reduction fails to reach a compromise and ends up deadlocked, the Budget Control Act will trigger more than $600 billion in defense cuts over the next decade on top of $350 billion in cuts already included in the bill. McKeon has called that initial number "high in and of itself."

MCKEON: We also need to understand what it's going to mean to keep an all-volunteer force. Do we wanna reinstitute the draft? Some of the cuts we're talking about would take 200,000 out of end strength of our military. 


Just how much damage would the doomsday scenario do to the military and its ability to defend the homeland? Not much, according to Center for Defense Information fellow Winslow Wheeler, who has pointed out that even if the trigger is pulled, the defense budget would go back to 2007 levels. "I do not recall anyone declaring our national security being 'imperiled' at that spending level in 2007," Wheeler wrote last month.

Of course, if McKeon is sincerely concerned that Congress will cut too much from defense spending, he could try convincing members of his caucus to support a more balanced deficit reduction package.