(CNSNews.com) - Republican vice presidential nominee Dick Cheney was on the airwaves Sunday morning, defending GOP claims that the administration has allowed military readiness to decline to all-time lows.
"Military readiness has reached its lowest level in modern times, and the Clinton-Gore administration has done very little to reverse that decline," said Cheney, former defense secretary under Bush's father, citing reports that recruitment, retention, and the development of new military technologies have reached all-time lows.
On both NBC's Meet the Press and ABC's This Week, Cheney pointed to a recent General Accounting Office study that found that many junior officers were planning on leaving the service as soon as their term was up.
"They just can't keep people in the service, because officers are frustrated by the lack of training, pay and equipment," said Cheney.
In his recent speech accepting the Democratic nomination for vice president, Sen. Joseph Lieberman criticized Republican nominee George W. Bush for his claim that the administration has created a "hollow military" with budget cuts, saying that such claims made him angry. This week, Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI) continued that attack, denying Bush's claim that two divisions of the military would have to report "not ready for duty" in the event of a conflict.
Cheney pointed to an Army report issued last year showing 40 percent of Army helicopters are not combat-ready - among other figures - to back up his claim.
Cheney also answered claims by former Clinton Defense Secretary William Perry that the drawdown in forces began under President Bush and was directed by then-Secretary of Defense Cheney.
"There's some amnesia going on out there," Perry told the Associated Press earlier this week.
Cheney replied that after the Cold War, "Congress would not have accepted Cold War expenditures on the military. . . . But Clinton-Gore have gone too far. Now instead of 18 divisions the Army has 10; now instead of 24 wings the Air Force has 13."
"The military is like a big ship, it takes a long time to turn it around. . . . Either the vice president doesn't know what's going on with the military, or he chooses not to tell the truth," said Cheney.