Gov. Haley: Cuts to National Guard a 'slap in the face'
February 24th, 2014
04:40 PM ET
9 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. Tom in Afghanistan

    So, how exactly has the National Guard paid more than Active Duty?

    February 25, 2014 01:34 am at 1:34 am |
  2. Jeff

    Since it's the governor that deploys the National Guard, maybe the states should pick up the tab.

    February 25, 2014 01:44 am at 1:44 am |
  3. ubermartimus

    We could beat Iran with our actual WW2 army, let alone our current army at WW2 levels. It's not unpatriotic or disrespectful to the military to say that we don't need to spend as much as we do today. If you want to maintain current spending, call it what it is: a jobs program.

    February 25, 2014 01:49 am at 1:49 am |
  4. Nobama

    Obama is proof that like the Republicans, the Democrats also offer no solution other than line their own pockets with lobbyist money. They do not care for neither you, I, nor this great country. They only obey the will of their Lobbyists.

    This is why i became a Libertarian. We need REAL change, not puppets of bankers that bring more of the same.

    February 25, 2014 01:51 am at 1:51 am |
  5. ubermartimus

    We could beat Iran with our actual WW2 Army, let alone our current Army at WW2 levels. It's not unpatriotic or disrespectful to the military to say that we can't spend what we currently spend. What's disrespectful is to send soldiers into battle with improper equipment, and then fail to take proper care of them when they come home broken, only to waste billions on programs like the JSF, the C17, and millions on M1 tanks that are going directly into storage. If you want to maintain current military spending, call it what it is: a jobs program.

    February 25, 2014 01:54 am at 1:54 am |
  6. J/South Dakota

    You know who else supported scaling back the military Gov. Haley? Ike. Scaling back the military as we close on a second war makes sense. It also makes sense to scale back National Guard and Reserve units. The reason we had so many National Guard units called up was because many of the specific jobs were foolishly moved to just the Guard and Reserve units after the Cold War. Members of Congress didn't want to see local armories close or see pork evaporate.

    February 25, 2014 02:00 am at 2:00 am |
  7. joeplantamura

    All must realized the Conservative thinking: Enemies and Evil lurk around every corner, and they must be destroyed. Conservatives cannot live without the military just as much as they cannot live without guns. Conservatives want every man woman and child to carry a gun so that every argument and spat is concluded with a gun like in the "Stand Your Ground" law. Its the same thing for Conservative foreign policy. They want a powerful military so that they can stand their ground against other nations. Conservatives are just itching to jump into Syria. Evil must be vanquished.

    February 25, 2014 02:03 am at 2:03 am |
  8. Patrick

    As an Active Duty Soldier who has deployed 5 times already, I do agree with cuts, dropping numbers, getting the military back to a professional force. How about stop spending millions on weapons research for new rifles that never get to the Soldier but fill some random companies pockets. I have and will continue to proudly serve however after 20 years of giving I did earn my retirement just like any other worker in the workforce after 20 years receives a pension or at least should. I see more people bickering back and forth Republicans this, Democrats that, Bush this Obama that. We are supposed to be Americans. No side will ever be happy but when the interest of the people go to the wayside at the expense of the rich getting richer, while everyone that sits here writing responses loses more rights, more money out of pocket earned but paid out in taxes for things that will not be around when it is time to simply receive your money back. There needs to be a complete overhaul on spending. Stop sending money to foreign countries. We need to fix ours first. It isn't a tax deductible for America. It is wasteful spending as a whole. I don't get to keep writing checks because I have them and no money in the account, why do we not punish elected leaders for spending money that isn't there. Teach kids how to budget and invest in their future. Invest in education that teaches applicable things in life. Be proud you are an American, you have internet, you have jobs, you have freedoms, but don't take them for granted, I have served in parts where others had more freedoms, and where others had no freedoms, no food, no homes. Lets fix America together not always fighting against each other bc of political parties.

    February 25, 2014 02:06 am at 2:06 am |
  9. Steve

    So the Repubs are all for making cuts until it hits their own pockets. I retired from the National Guard after 30 years last year . The military is bloated. I see the people talking about Iran, as if we would or could ever have a ground war against Iran. Ridiculous.

    February 25, 2014 02:08 am at 2:08 am |
  10. joeplantamura

    Being a Vietnam vet, I know from many years of government service that the military always draws down after a war. I've been expecting this to happen. I am surprised that others cannot seem to accept this. The other thing that will happen besides freezing military pay is that in a few years, funding to the VA, especially hospitals, will decrease. That's why after more than 40 years after Vietnam, I never go to a VA hospital. I am afraid of them I don't even want them to stick a needle in me. I have far too much experience on the receiving end of so-called military medicine.

    February 25, 2014 02:09 am at 2:09 am |
  11. Ken

    I love the military, I was a Marine, but. WE do not need to be spending 600B$ a year for the military! cut it down to around 250-300B!

    February 25, 2014 02:10 am at 2:10 am |
  12. joeplantamura

    All must realized the Conservative thinking: Enemies and Evil lurk around every corner, and they must be vanquished. Conservatives cannot live without the military just as much as they cannot live without guns. Conservatives want every man woman and child to carry a gun so that every argument and spat is concluded with a gun like in the "Stand Your Ground" law. Its the same thing for Conservative foreign policy. They want a powerful military so that they can stand their ground against other nations. Conservatives are just itching to jump into Syria. Evil must be destroyed

    February 25, 2014 02:16 am at 2:16 am |
  13. patw2100

    When are liberals like this going to get it through their thick skulls that we need to reduce spending. Every federal department, agency, and office should be forced to reduce spending by at least 30%. PERIOD

    February 25, 2014 02:28 am at 2:28 am |
  14. Wade Tritschler

    Cutting the military, good. US spends HUGE money on military. In is double digit percentage of all national spending. Face facts, you have to make cuts and military is definitely a place you can cut. Now, one could quibble with the efficiency of the cuts (for instance, closing bases and consolidating may be a better idea than some of the measures proposed), but cuts are necessary if you want to get your rampant debt in order and refuse to raise taxes.

    February 25, 2014 02:39 am at 2:39 am |
  15. Sevinthseal

    Question to Republicans fuming on here: what would Eisenhower think of these defense cuts? You know... the two-term Republican president, 5-star general and supreme allied commander of WWII. What would he say about these defense cuts?

    February 25, 2014 02:41 am at 2:41 am |
  16. Pat

    Governor, as an active duty member, I can tell you that it hasn't been a walk in the park for us since 9/11, either. Please tell my wife that she "...hasn't felt the pain the National Guard has felt..." while she was dealing with a constantly crying colicky baby and I was gone. Just because your husband is in the Guard doesn't make it magically more important than the active duty, just like Sen Ayotte's husband flying the A-10 doesn't make that aircraft sacrosanct, although both of you seem to think whatever your husband's do should be untouchable.

    Governors and Congress love their National Guard because it provides jobs that they get to claim credit for. Us active duty folks deploy a lot more than the National Guard and our families suffer as well. Don't make it an us vs them thing Governor, we all signed up for a volunteer force and can all do our part: Active, Guard and Reserve. The only time I get upset with the Guard is when politicians hold them up as better than me. We try really hard to be an integrated total force, but comments like yours serve to divide us and make us less effective in wartime because it becomes an us vs them thing and we resent each other and can't fight alongside each other effectively.

    February 25, 2014 02:42 am at 2:42 am |
  17. mungo

    Typical Republican posturing about the military while they do everything they can to make sure Americans stay poor and ignorant.
    fyi 13 years service in the NGAR

    February 25, 2014 02:45 am at 2:45 am |
  18. C.H.

    FREEDOM IS NOT FREE !!!! We need our military branches fully trained, properly supplied, well paid...from the home front stateside to the front lines. Here is food for thought, how about cutting back on soooo many of our free government programs to sooo many able bodied people, who are very much able to hold a job and earn a living the old fashioned way!!! lets start there, from illegal immigrants to our own citizens draining our economy. I guess it is easier to stand in the WELFARE line.

    February 25, 2014 02:56 am at 2:56 am |
  19. Mopery

    Clearly she has no idea what she's talking about, a nation can not maintain a large standing military that produces no income, currently our armed forces are the major drain on our nation's resources. If we continue to maintain a large standing army it will eventually bankrupt the country, if it hasn't already. If the Hawks were to learn a little more about warfare, they might be less likely to endorse it as a way of life.

    February 25, 2014 03:01 am at 3:01 am |
  20. Jim Rome

    The Pentagon has never been audited.

    February 25, 2014 03:20 am at 3:20 am |
  21. Jim Rome

    Halliburton, General Dynamics and scores of other defense companies are desperate for work. It's fun to see Americans finally wake up to the idea that we have spent $700 BILLION on war PER YEAR and we have almost nothing to show for it. War is big business. Bring our troops home and get them the health care they need and let's dismantle this beast that we've created – the military industrial complex.

    February 25, 2014 03:25 am at 3:25 am |
  22. Jim Rome

    -Defense contractors only make profits during war.
    -Defense contractors have sales goals.
    -Defense contractors make hundreds of billions of dollars.
    -Defense contractors get no-bid contracts for goods and services which they provide, unaudited.

    Now if you were a defense contractor, what would you do during peace time? Shrivel up in a little ball, lay everybody off, apologize to shareholders and wait for the next major conflict? Or get your sales team out there and get some action going?

    February 25, 2014 03:40 am at 3:40 am |
  23. Jim Rome

    The US military rents more office space around the world than exists in ALL OF NEW YORK CITY. - Mother Jones

    People, the US military is out of control.

    War is temporary. Bring our troops home and get them the medical treatment they need.

    February 25, 2014 03:42 am at 3:42 am |
  24. Jim Rome

    The US military buys 2 BILLION dollars worth of eggs and dairy products every year. - Mother Jones

    February 25, 2014 03:44 am at 3:44 am |
  25. Jim Rome

    We've got potholes on the streets in our cities. We've got bridges collapsing. We've had no major infrastructure in our country built or refurbished in the last 10 years. And we all know why.

    February 25, 2014 03:47 am at 3:47 am |
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