Gov. Haley: Cuts to National Guard a 'slap in the face'
February 24th, 2014
04:40 PM ET
6 months ago

Gov. Haley: Cuts to National Guard a 'slap in the face'

Washington (CNN) – South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, whose husband is in the National Guard and recently returned from a one-year deployment to Afghanistan, blasted the Obama administration's decision to make cuts to the reserve military force.

"It really is a slap in the face to anyone who has served over this past decade multiple times and left their life to do this," the Republican governor said Monday. "We have active duty, but the active duty hasn't felt the pain that the National Guard has felt, and this is not how you show your thanks."

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel unveiled the department's spending plan for 2015 and beyond, which reduces the size of the Army to its pre-World War II size. All military forces, both active and reserve, would be cut under the budget plan.

Haley was making her remarks at a press conference by the Republican Governors Association following a bipartisan meeting of governors at the White House.

She said the White House meeting largely had a respectful tone until the discussion turned toward military cuts at the end.

"It automatically went into an aggressive nature by (President Obama), implying that 'many of you have asked for cuts, this is what you said you wanted...now you're going to get it, you're going to have to live with it,' Completely different change in tone," said Haley, who's up for re-election this year.

"It chilled the room quite a bit," she added.

Under the proposed budget, Hagel said the military would become a smaller, more tactical force capable of fighting on one war front and maintaining effective defenses for a second while shifting to more specialized capabilities. Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey also endorsed the plan.

White House press secretary Jay Carney defended the proposal Monday, saying "for the first time the Defense Department's submission will now, specifically, show what DoD must do if Congress cannot reach additional compromise on deficit spending and sequestration level cuts."

CNN's Tom Cohen, Halimah Abdullah and Jennifer Liberto contributed to this report.


Filed under: Chuck Hagel • Military • Nikki Haley
soundoff (141 Responses)
  1. DerBaron

    Slap? National Guard troops are mostly funded by federal dollars, so the active force will downsize the reserve forces (Reserve and Guard) as funds are cut. Just increase the top marginal income tax rate … problem solved.

    February 24, 2014 11:54 pm at 11:54 pm |
  2. Larry Kite

    A slap in the face is sending our troops into a B.S. war in Iraq. The war is over and it is time to reduce our defense spending to reasonable level, yes that means cutting troops.

    February 24, 2014 11:56 pm at 11:56 pm |
  3. Sherri

    While I think all of us support the men and women who have served in the military, it is time to cut military spending. The Pentagon budget increased 43% from 2001 to 2011. Homeland Security increased 301%, nuclear weapons increased by 21% and the Iraq and Afghan war has cost us $1.36 trillion and counting. There is so much waste in the military – millions of $$ in cash has been sent to both Iraq and Afghanistan – it's time to take care of Americans, create jobs and start working to upgrade our infrastructure.

    February 24, 2014 11:56 pm at 11:56 pm |
  4. Mathprof

    Our government has run amok. Chaos is next. Good luck everyone.

    February 24, 2014 11:58 pm at 11:58 pm |
  5. Sam

    Oh, the irony! The same people who rail against "big government" and welfare people who "feed on the teats of the government" are the ones squealing when the government announces cuts to their pet pork projects.

    February 24, 2014 11:58 pm at 11:58 pm |
  6. DerBaron

    If the active side is taking a cut, they'll make sure the Reserves and Guard takes a cut too. Add that the states should give more specialized training to the Guard troops left (i.e upgraded field medical certifications, swift water rescue training, etc..) for disasters which are not found on the federal side. This would make them more valuable to the active component too.

    February 25, 2014 12:00 am at 12:00 am |
  7. I R Amazed

    I do have one quibble with the announced cuts, the retirement of the A-10 ground attack fighter bomber.
    The A-10 is the only plane in out inventory that can perform in its designed role. DoD has been threatening to kill the A-10 for a couple decades now. The only problem is, there is nothing in the pipeline that is a viable replacement. The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter isn't armored and is nowhere near as survivable at the venerable Warthog.
    We don't need to design and build a new plane, we just need to keep this one flying.

    February 25, 2014 12:00 am at 12:00 am |
  8. Fire the GOP

    Haley you and the TEA Party wanted to cut spending for Christ's sake! IT'S YOUR FAULT! Spare us your phony outrage.

    Wanna spend more? Then PAY FOR IT.

    February 25, 2014 12:03 am at 12:03 am |
  9. Oneula

    The US needs to spend way less on military. Unemployment will go up so perhaps the government could put ex-military to upgrading the nations infrastructure like road, bridges and rail lines. Put people to work building instead of killing and blowing up...what a novel un-American idea.

    February 25, 2014 12:14 am at 12:14 am |
  10. DaveW

    Great. The cuts aren't deep enough as far as I'm concerned. If we cut military spending by 50% we'd still be spending more than any other nation on the planet by a factor of 3.

    February 25, 2014 12:20 am at 12:20 am |
  11. jeff

    Lets unite! Republicans for BIG SPENDING

    February 25, 2014 12:23 am at 12:23 am |
  12. Mike in SS

    Just wait until another "balloon" goes up and see how many of our best and brightest (or some of our lowest) even show up at the recruiting door. I spent 21+ years in and at one time I would have recommended it to pretty much anyone. Now? Hell no. Pretty much every promised made has been broken to the retirees & their families and now to the active force as well. I would tell any active duty person today "Get out while the getting is good".

    February 25, 2014 12:26 am at 12:26 am |
  13. Steven Gold

    Nikki Hailey identifies herself with the Tea Party. You know the Tea Party that talks about reducing spending. Unless of course it is for things they want, then making reductions are a slap in the face.

    February 25, 2014 12:27 am at 12:27 am |
  14. charley

    Glad to see these cuts, they are needed Technology has replaced the need for a large standing army. Hopefully this is just a start, but that is unlikely as much of the economy is military orientated

    February 25, 2014 12:35 am at 12:35 am |
  15. Mike/Colorado

    Wow. The hate from both sides of the aisle is truly astounding. Yes we can make some cuts to the military and restructure some areas for better efficiency. However, having worked with many Federal departments, I must say that DOD is better run than most. If the deficit is the issue, why has this President not had the courage and wisdom to stand up to the run away welfare state? Bottom line is he is playing politics with national defense while trying to achieve his endgame of reducing America to just another country on this planet. His policies on energy to immigration reform are all about weakening this country rather than making it stronger. I'm not a yes person for the GOP, but I can see a how dangerous and misguided this President is. Sorry, I digressed. On this topic, sizing the military to fight one front to win while fighting a holding action on another front has been discussed at length over the past several decades and is a viable military strategy as long as this nation is willing to take risks. We should not take these risks lightly as our entire way of life and economy are tied to the military maintaining freedom of the seas for commerce and ensuring our allied nations are free from overt aggression. If we create a power vacuum, somebody else will step in. It is the nature of things.

    February 25, 2014 12:41 am at 12:41 am |
  16. Robyn

    Poor Republican South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley whining and moaning because the military subcontractor leeches in her state won't be getting quite as much in their government welfare handout checks next year.

    This certainly gives the lie to all of the supposedly "small government" tea party drivel that comes out of her pie hole.

    February 25, 2014 12:42 am at 12:42 am |
  17. IA

    How many Floridians are dead because of "stand your ground"? Couldn't say but its working for you.

    February 25, 2014 12:43 am at 12:43 am |
  18. Doug J

    When you add up all the world's military budgets, the US represents almost half of the total. It's long past time to seriously cut military spending. It's really more of a jobs program since we don't need the majority of our bases around the world.

    February 25, 2014 12:46 am at 12:46 am |
  19. IA

    I get much humor from reading the "crazies on the left" go crazy on this site. many episodes of the Twilight Zone could be hatched here.

    February 25, 2014 12:46 am at 12:46 am |
  20. John

    She's just shoring up the base. Man I love politics but I hate partisan politics. A lot more fun to be a distant observer.

    Dunno what it is about the south and politics in this country though. Knock me if you want but I was born in NC and live in AZ. I've lived my entire life living in red states. It feels like the south of the country lives in it's own world in my opinion.

    February 25, 2014 12:50 am at 12:50 am |
  21. krusha

    Paul Ryan and his fellow Republicans wanted big cuts to the military, and now that Obama is proposing it, they are now against it? Typical politics as usual.

    February 25, 2014 12:57 am at 12:57 am |
  22. Joe From Boston

    "the active duty has not felt the pain the National Guard has felt". Ummm....ok.

    Nikki – the conversion to a smaller. more specialized force was okay when it was called "transormation" under Wolfowitz, Cheney, Rumsfeld and the rest of the neocons, right?. They took us into Iraq with only 145,000 troops. This is not a new idea. At least this time we won't be trying to prosecute a war at the same time.

    February 25, 2014 01:01 am at 1:01 am |
  23. biglio

    She wants her husband out of the way...now with the cuts she would have to have him at home all the time and she will not be able to chase her "interests" as before.......

    February 25, 2014 01:22 am at 1:22 am |
  24. dave

    You really can't have a military if you vote to make taxpayer's wages and salaries lower, they pay less taxes on lower incomes, then to make things worse, you vote to give huige tax breaks to the rich, in war time. Now that's not only stupid, it's hypocritical of republicans to complain about such realities, after they caused all the budget problems, with their tax policies, their fight to lower worker's incomes, it was predictable that we would end up in a bad situation, given those kind of economic policies. To make things even worse, republicans caused the largest recession ever, and lied us into a huge war, both cost trillions, mostly in debt, and then they complain about debt. There really shouldn't be a republican party, it would save us trillions. Without republicans we would all be sitting on easy street, no debt, surpluses every where, low taxes, peace, a chicken in every pot.

    February 25, 2014 01:24 am at 1:24 am |
  25. Walter

    The biggest threat to our national security is the insane federal debt.

    We can defend our borders with a quarter of troops and equipment. These So called hot spots are phony threats to us....phony. Self-fulfilling craziness. No Korean or Iraqi armies off the Carolina coast

    February 25, 2014 01:30 am at 1:30 am |
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