provided by the respective campaigns in their entirety. The answers and their rela- tive lengths reflect the views and choices of the candidates, rather than MOAA. Sequestration law requires the defense budget to absorb 50 percent of a nearly $1 trillion budget cut over a 10-year period. What is your view of that allocation and the share of future budget cuts that should be taken from defense? Gary Johnson (GJ): The sequester’s

across-the-board budget cuts show how dysfunctional Washington has become. Let’s remember how the sequester came about. The federal government had racked up nearly $3 trillion of debt in just two years’ time. Even the outdated politi- cal parties understood that that level of spending couldn’t continue, and so they pledged to work together to rein in debt. Predictably, Democrats and Republicans refused to compromise and the automatic $1 trillion of cuts kicked in without regard to any particular program’s merits. That’s not how to budget intelligently. America should have the most pow- erful defense in the world. Our federal government tries to do too much, spends too much, and wastes taxpayers’ money. But clearly national defense is a core func- tion of our federal government, and as Commander-in-Chief, I’ll ensure that our country will be protected appropriately. The Obama administration has overex- tended our military with unwise operations in Libya and Syria, much like the Bush ad- ministration did in Iraq. We can save money by deploying our servicemembers only when America’s security is seriously at risk. We must call on our allies to do their part in responding to security threats and investing in their own defenses. And we must look se- riously at reforming procurement and ben- efits structures that underserve our military. In the past, large post-war force reduc- tions have left insufficient forces to meet the

next unexpected contingency. Considering the extraordinary stresses on our military over the past 15 years of war and continuing threats from ISIS, Iran, North Korea, and others, what force levels (relative to current forces) do you believe are needed to be pre- pared for potential future contingencies? GJ: Politicians have asked too much of our servicemembers over the last two administrations. We should deploy our military force judiciously, and when the decision to engage is made, we owe it to our troops to equip them with the most advanced tools. Our force levels need to be mis-

sion-driven. Responding to emerging threats—ISIS, cyber warfare, and nuclear proliferation among them—may mean a gradual reduction in total force levels along with new investments in technology and training.

Some studies have proposed making the military benefit package (retirement, health care, etc.) substantially like that of civilian workers. In view of the dramatically different demands and sacrifices entailed in military versus civilian careers, to what extent do you believe the military must maintain a unique benefit package to attract a high- quality career force? GJ: Military compensation should be competitive with the private sector so that we can continue to recruit the most skilled servicemembers in the world. Benefits are one part of the compensation package. As benefits programs have proliferated, we have to ask whether they serve all of our servicemembers most effectively. Congress should consider a simplification and con- solidation of benefits programs to encour- age participation and recruitment. There’s growing recognition that reforms

are needed to sustain and strengthen the largest military benefits. The Military Com- pensation and Retirement Modernization

*on the web: Inim voluptat elit utpating ex etuerci eu feum eum aliquating ese feugait OCTOBER 2016 MILITARY OFFICER 31

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