Lee Beaman Commentary: The Case for a Strong National Defense

by Lee Beman


A strong national defense contributes to our own national security, but it also provides stability to the entire world.

Our military spending was significantly reduced under the Obama administration. During the 2016 U.S. Presidential campaign, national security and the fiscal support—or lack thereof—that we provide to our military was hotly debated. It was a polarizing issue, despite the universal agreement that defending our freedoms, should it come to the last option of military escalation, is fully within our country’s rights. Quite frankly, it’s even more important that defending our freedoms is fully within our country’s capability.

An article by National Public Radio at the time discussed the more complex issues raised on the campaign trail. It accurately reflected the fact that, while our military spending was indeed down from the heights of post-9/11 spending, it did bring up the question of military readiness—an issue that the military said warranted further spending. The ability to perform swiftly and accurately in times of war is key to success. It costs money to train men and women, and it costs just as much to keep them battle-ready or as close to battle-ready as is feasible. That is where our military leaders said we needed to focus more of our attention.

The same can be said for military equipment. This same NPR article confirmed that when Pres. Trump said that pilots were flying B-52 bombers today that were older than most everyone in the room, he was correct. According to that 2016 article, the newest Air Force bomber entered the fleet in 1962. Good gracious! There is no way to spin that fact into a good angle. We build aircraft and military equipment to last a lifetime, yes. But to expect that it would still be in use 15 Presidential administrations later is certainly a length of time that would make any flight equipment’s safety and security worrisome, to say the least!

Regardless of our political beliefs and opinions, it is ironic that, according to the retrospective article on the Obama administration by the Military Times, President Obama “entered the White House vowing to end U.S. involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan but instead leaves as the first American president to oversee two full terms with combat troops deployed to hostile zones.”

A January 2019 Brookings Institute study noted that Trump’s increases to military spending in his first two years in office and his initial thoughts toward a recommended $733 billion in defense spending for 2020 showed that “there is no doubt that the Pentagon could make good use of the full $733 billion that had previously been proposed for 2020.”

That same study highlighted the increase in just two years of a Trump administration from Obama’s final military budget of $600 billion to currently $700 billion under Trump with the initial proposed 2020 budget of $750 billion. The budget is still being hammered out with typical rockiness with our Congress, but the fact remains that
the world has traditionally been more at peace with strong U.S. military and a strong U.S. economy.

Being a first-world country comes with privileges, but it comes with the responsibility to lead the world. It is a challenge and sacrifice to fulfill our responsibilities to our country and to the world, and it’s all to easy to protest over keeping the privileges that we are given. It was General Douglas McArthur who said it best. “No man is entitled to the blessings of freedom unless he be vigilant in its preservation.”

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A lifelong Nashvillian, Lee Beaman is Chairman and CEO of Beaman Automotive Group, which is an advertiser in The Tennessee Star, a part of the Star News Digital Media family of digital news sites.




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One Thought to “Lee Beaman Commentary: The Case for a Strong National Defense”

  1. Kevin

    We are blessed to have men like Lee Beaman who “give back” and support efforts to retain and defend the freedoms and liberties that our Founding Fathers, and our fighting men and women bled or died to give us! Thank you!