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Commander in chief candidates differ on military strategy

Special to The Battalion

Published: Thursday, November 1, 2012

Updated: Thursday, November 1, 2012 11:11

Bumper stickers are plastered to cars, yard signs abound and campaign ads are aired constantly. Names and numbers are thrown around in almost perplexing ways. Too often in a presidential election, these promotional materials can create confusion and apathy among younger voters.

What some young voters fail to realize is that they will be impacted by aspects of future policies. Two fundamental issues to Texas A&M students are military spending and foreign policy. Both presidential candidates have focused on these topics and tried to communicate their stances to potential voters.

According to President Obama’s campaign website, he is drawing down U.S. troops in Afghanistan and transitioning security responsibility to the Afghan people to responsibly end the war there in 2014.

Joseph Cerami, senior lecturer at the Bush School, said Obama’s intention is to reduce spending.

“It’s costly to have ground forces and [we would] save a lot of money by reducing the army and marines,” Cermani said. “All of this is fine until another ‘9/11’ happens. Then we will have to re-evalute it [military spending levels]. Events will shape military strategy. You need a lot of flexibility.”

Senior political science major, Sam Hodges, said Obama stayed consistent in his policies.

“President Obama entered the White House opposing US intervention in the Middle East and proceeded to deliver on his campaign promises to realign Pentagon priorities through reducing spending,” Hodges said.

Hodges said he anticipates a continuation of these policies if Obama is reelected.

“If Democrats retain control of the White House, we can expect military and defense spending to be further reduced with an effort to share more global responsibilities with our allies,” Hodges said.

Colonel Michael Gibler, professor of military sciences at Texas A&M, said he is not worried about how less overseas troop involvement will change the near future of recruiting cadets. Texas A&M produces 85 lieutenants each year, and this goal will not change, according to Gibler.

“We are not overly concerned with any significant changes, regardless of who our boss is,” Gibler said. “However, we are going to be reducing the size of our military.”

Obama’s Republican opponent, Mitt Romney, has a different approach to conducting the military. According to Romney’s campaign website, as president he will keep faith with the men and women who defend the U.S. “just as he will ensure that our military capabilities are matched to the interests we need to protect”. This will include reversing cuts to the military and strengthening U.S. armed forces.

Cerami said there are definite distinctions between Romney’s policies and Obama’s.

“Romney is in favor of increased military spending,” Cerami said. “Especially in the Navy. Naval forces are critical for our security posture in Asia. However, it is hard to put your finger on where the money will come from.”

Some members of the Corps of Cadets are concerned with the future of the military and who their commander-in-chief will be in the coming years. Nathan Dunbar, senior English major, will be a second lieutenant in the Army following graduation and is in favor of Romney’s policies.

“I don't like the idea of Obama making the cuts to downsize our military,” Dunbar said. “I support Romney’s idea that we need an army big enough to be able to fight in two areas at once and beef up security for our embassies overseas in the countries that are known for harboring terrorist groups.”

Matt Keller, senior industrial distribution major, said Obama’s policies are not ideal for the present situation.

“Obama is getting out of Afghanistan too fast. He is just waving a white flag and saying it’s not our problem anymore,” Keller said. “While I don't disagree with downsizing the Army after getting out of Afghanistan, I am vehemently against leaving Afghanistan until the job is done there.”

Cermani said voters, including college students, are essential in how future policy will be implemented.

“There is the widespread perception that Washington D.C. is broken and new leaders and leadership approaches are needed to get the important work done,” Cermani said “The voters will decide which candidate is providing convincing evidence that they can lead in both domestic and international affairs. That to me is why all citizens, including Texas A&M students, should vote.”


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