Senate Armed Services Chairman Jack Reed, D-R.I., spoke during a conference this week and called out the White House, Congress, and military leaders who are politicizing the military. Reed said these attacks and division do not help the military move forward and ask for an apolitical perspective on matters of defense.

“There is a long tradition within the American military of being apolitical, which is essential for our democracy and civilian control of the military,” Reed said.

“Yet some have chosen to publicly disparage our military leaders for political purposes by generating a sense of outrage and indignation. While such attacks may serve a short-term political agenda, int he long run it damages our national interest by eroding trust within the ranks, sowing doubt within our civil society and benefiting our adversaries.”

Reed highlights these challenges in the wake of the great divisive era in America. The senator added that his concerns revolve around the military’s inclusion in these vicious public fights.

Reed, whose committee advocates for the entire US military, has been in this long battle with the White House. In March, Reed argued that a 5% increase in defense spending does not necessarily mean improved national security. He noted that the military has been having challenges around recruitment and retention, and military budgets should be carefully strategized.

US Military
US Military Academy, West Point (Source: West Point – The US Military Academy/Flickr)

“The budget should be driven by strategy, and not strategy driven by the budget. One of the problems is that too often we just pick a number, rather than say, ‘This is really what we have to do and these are the priorities.'”

“As a result, we sometimes don’t puit in the type of incentives so we will make decisions that are effective for national defense.”

On top of the complicated budget spending that will be finalized this coming Oct. 1, Reed said the divisiveness on political extremes is causing a disconnect within the military and the White House.