Democratic United States Senate candidate Bob Kerrey says two wars have stretched the National Guard thin, which has put pressure on the country’s military preparedness.
Kerrey notes that the Guard has been used extensively in Iraq and Afghanistan.
“The good news is that the Guard has had a lot of experience. The bad news is they’ve had repetitive tours,” Kerrey tells Nebraska Radio Network. “From my assessment of it, we’ve got a substantial amount of repair that needs to be done, both to the equipment that we’re going to need, but also to our personnel, because they’ve been stressed out.”
Kerrey says there is always weakness in the country’s preparedness, because trying to understand threats 20 years from now is “exceptionally difficult.”
Studies, according to Kerrey, estimate that between $50-60 billion in defense spending overhead could be removed from the budget without harming security. He asserts the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have greatly strained the country’s finances, as well.
Kerrey says he doesn’t perceive that America has major gaps in its military preparedness, but he does have concerns about Congressional oversight. He says the structure of Congress might need to change.
“My strong view is, given the way Congress has organized itself, given the number of committees that are out of there, I think it’s difficult for me to reach the conclusion that we’re doing the kind of oversight necessary, both for defense and with intelligence,” according to Kerrey.
Much of the intelligence gathered is classified, making oversight difficult, forcing Congress to rely on analyst.
When the United States considers its military preparedness, it might need to consider a simple question, according to Kerrey. Kerrey says the country needs to ask: when do we say ‘No’?
Kerrey says the country can stretch its resources too thin if it feels compelled to answer every call of distress around the globe.
“There will be moments when you see terrible things going on in some other part of the world and our answer might be we lament it, we wish it wasn’t thus, but we’re not going to move our military half way around the world in order to solve that problem.”
AUDIO: Democrat Bob Kerrey discusses military preparedness [4:35]