Campaign Promises

Cabinet/Departments -> Defense

Acquisition ReformGrade
The Promise: "Require the Pentagon to develop a strategy for figuring out when contracting makes sense and when it doesn't, rather than continually handing off governmental jobs to well-connected companies."
When/Where: Obama Campaign Document "A 21st Century Military for America" dated 11/26/07.
Status:Obama signed an executive order on 03/04/09, calling for an examination of federal contracts.

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) issued its report #11-192 in 01/11 entitled "Further Action Needed to Better Implement Requirements for Conducting Inventory of Service Contract Activities."

The above GAO report indicated that as of FY2009, the Pentagon, its agencies and military departments employed 766.6K full time contractor employees at an estimated cost of $140.4B, an amount that went up to an estimated $200B in FY2010.

On 11/22/11, the Pentagon issued its plan for near- and long-term documenting of the number of full-time contractor employees it and its agencies and military departments employ as mandated by the Department of Defense and Full Year Continuing Appropriations Act of 2011 (Public Law 112-10).

As of end-CY2016, more than 26% or 268K of the 1.014M personnel working in the Pentagon's back-office bureaucracy (i.e. acquisition, supply & logistics, property management, human resources, etc.) were contractor personnel.

This promise was for the Pentagon to develop a "strategy." That was done.

This promise was fulfilled.
The Promise: "Each major defense program will be reevaluated in light of current needs, gaps in the field, and likely future threat scenarios in the post 9/11 world"
When/Where: Obama Campaign Document "A 21st Century Military for America" dated 11/26/07.
Status:With the key word being "reevaluated", OMB document "Terminations, Reductions, and Savings" released 05/06/09 supported promise fulfillment.

But these efforts did not address the over-arching intent of this promise. The Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR) was mandated by Congress to look forward 20 years in the areas of threat assessment, military strategy, force structure, and long-term defense budget plans.

The first QDR presented by the Obama Administration to Congress on 02/01/10 along with the President's FY2011 budget proposal failed to meet many of the statutory requirements (i.e. did not address risks associated with current funding and capability shortfalls) and failed to provide a 20-year roadmap.

Four years later, faced with the realities of sequestration, the 2014 QDR reported that the Department of Defense had "capped and cancelled billions of dollars in programs that were inefficient and under-performing. As a result of a 2011 Secretary of Defense-led efficiency review, the Department realized five-year savings of $150 billion. In 2012, the Department identified another $60 billion in planned reductions over five years, with an additional $35 billion in 2013."

The promised reevaluation resulted in cancellation of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter alternative F-136 engine programs as well as the F-22 Raptor Program after the 187th unit was delivered in 05/12. These are two significant examples.

This promise was fulfilled.
The Promise: "Establish transparency standards for military contractors...create the reporting requirements, accounting, and accountability needed for good governance and actual money savings with contracting."
When/Where: Obama Campaign Document "A 21st Century Military for America" dated 11/26/07.
Status:The "Weapon Systems Acquisition Reform Act of 2009" was signed into law by President Obama on 05/22/09. This act reformed the way the Department of Defense (DoD) contracts for and purchases major weapon systems to mitigate waste and cost overruns in defense contracts, but fell short of establishing transparency standards for military contractors.

On 04/07/10, the DoD issued its "Open Government Plan." This plan, updated periodically through Version 4.0 dated 09/15/16, created a new "Defense Collaborative Service" to replace the "Defense Connect Online" program. The objective of this service is "to have all Departmental collaboration tools, capabilities and activities evolve to be based on common published enterprise standards; interoperable across the variety of internet protocol based communication environments."

On 09/14/10, Defense Secretary Gates issued stringent acquisition reform objectives by announcing 20 changes in defense purchasing procedures. Among these changes, the DoD is to provide preferential treatment to contractors with good cost-control records and requires more competitive bidding for service contracts.

Another positive step toward promise fulfillment was the 04/22/11 memo issued by the Under Secretary of Defense (Acquisition, Technology and Logistics) that implemented "Will-Cost and Should Cost" management designed to drive productivity improvements into acquisition programs during contract negotiations and throughout program execution and sustainment. Savings are to be identified through any of three methods: bottoms-up estimates, identification of cost reductions from "will-cost" estimates, and use of competitive contracting and contract negotiations to identify "should-cost" savings.

Further progress was made in the contractor cost control area such as the publication of Defense Federal Acquisition Regulations Supplement (DFARS) Notice 20111220 on 12/20/11 that updated guidelines for monitoring "the policies, procedures, and practices used by contractors to control direct and indirect costs related to Government business."

On 05/09/14, President Obama signed Public Law 113-101, the "Digital Accountability and Transparency Act (DATA Act) of 2014" (S. 994), introduced by Senator Mark Warner (D-VA). The DoD must comply with the transparency standards and reporting requirements of this law.

This promise was fulfilled.
The Promise: "...will...Enact a program of market incentives and sanctions for Pentagon reward companies that perform well and come in under budget, while punishing firms that fail to perform as originally hired."
When/Where: Obama Campaign Document "A 21st Century Military for America" dated 11/26/07.
Status:The Weapon Systems Acquisition Reform Act of 2009 (Public Law 111-23) was signed by President Obama on 05/22/09. This bill did not specifically address incentives for or sanctions against defense contractors.

The Commission on Wartime Contracting estimated in 09/11 that over $60B in government contract spending was wasted or lost since CY2002 in Afghanistan and Iraq, approximately 20% of the $206B of U.S. taxpayer money spent in those war efforts at that time. An additional 9% was lost due to fraud, according to the Commission.

On the reward side, the Pentagon's Principal Deputy Undersecretary for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics, Mr. Frank Kendall, introduced a new "Superior Supplier Incentive Program" on 07/18/11. Under this program, DoD contracting officers will be empowered to set contract terms that recognize businesses that demonstrate superior performance in delivering quality products and services to the warfighter. In addition, companies that demonstrate aggressive subcontract management, cost containment, and on-time delivery practices will be recognized. Recognition will be in the form of favorable progress payments, special award fee pools, and other advantages.

On 03/02/12, the DOD published DFAR Rule 2012-D017 "Debarment as Ground for Termination for Default" as one of the means to address the punishment of firms that fail to perform as originally contracted.

This promise was fulfilled.
The Promise: "...will...Restore the government's ability to manage contracts, by rebuilding our contract officer corps."
When/Where: Obama Campaign Document "A 21st Century Military for America" dated 11/26/07.
Status:Since CY2006, when the DoD "contract officer corps" had a total of 27,748 personnel, declines in manpower (to 26,838 in CY2007 and 25,680 in CY2008) exacerbated the DoD's ability to manage its balooning contracting requirements.

On 04/06/09, the Secretary of Defense announced plans to grow the entire acquisition workforce by 20,000 personnel by FY2015 -- 10,000 new federal employees and 10,000 contractor positions converted to federal positions. Of the 10,000 new federal positions, 5,600 were projected to be additions to the Defense Contracting career field.

As of 06/10, 3,400 new contracting officers had been hired and 1,400 contractor positions had been converted to federal positions. Together, this exceeded by 1,300 the FY2010 goal of 3,500 for new hires and conversions. Success of this program will be hindered as experienced contracting officer retirements will likely peak around CY2018. By then, in-coming contracting officer interns will not likely have gained the experience needed to make a meaningful dent in contracting workloads.

Nonetheless, there has been a steady increase in the number of contracting officers since the FY2007-FY2008 downward trend reflected above. In CY2009, the contracting segment of the Defense Acquisition Workforce consisted of 23,752 civilian and 3,903 military personnel for a total of 27,655 contracting personnel. In FY2010, the total was 29,792 and in FY2011 the number had risen to 30,327.

By end-CY2016, the DOD's contracting officer corps was on a restoration path.

This promise was fulfilled.
The Promise: "As part of it overall defense reforms, Obama administration will prioritize fixing the naval acquisitions system."
When/Where: Obama Campaign Document "A 21st Century Military for America" dated 11/26/07.
Status:Navy Secretary Ray Mabus outlined the Navy's acquisition reform approach on 05/05/10 at the Navy League's Sea-Air-Space symposium just outside of Washington, D.C. The five principles of the Navy's acquisition reform effort were (1) clearly identify requirements, (2) raise the bar on contract performance, (3) rebuild the acquisition workforce, (4) support the industrial base, and (5) make every single dollar count. He gave the examples of the P-8 Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft, the SSN-774 Virginia-class submarine, and the T-AKE-1 Lewis and Clark class dry cargo ships as programs that are meeting benchmarks such as getting increased benefits from learning curves and, with time, reducing unit costs. He vowed that he would not hesitate to cancel Navy programs that do not meet his baseline goals of 'on time and on budget'.

Secretary Mabus also stated that Navy acquisition professionals will be "going through every contract line by line to make sure the terms of those contracts make sense for what they are meant to do, and are fair to the contractor and the government." The U.S. Navy is implementing its plan to clean up its acquisiton processes in conjunction with the over-arching "Weapon Systems Acquisition Reform Act of 2009" that was signed into law by President Obama on 05/22/09.

To that end, the U.S. Navy published its "Acquisition and Capabilities Guidebook" (SECNAV M-5000.2) on 05/09/12 for operation of the Defense Acquisition System and the Joint Capabilities Integration and Development System.

This promise was fulfilled.
The Promise: "As Obama removes our combat brigades from Iraq, he will send at least two additional brigades to Afghanistan, where the Taliban is resurgent."
When/Where: Obama Campaign Document "A 21st Century Military for America" dated 11/26/07.
Status:As a result of an executive order signed by President Obama on 02/19/09, the 2nd Marine Expeditionary Brigade assumed its position in Afghanistan on 05/29/09. On 06/20/09, the Army 5th Stryker Brigade departed Fort Lewis, WA for duty in Afghanistan.

This promise was fulfilled.
The Promise: "Obama will strengthen the training and equipping of the Afghan army and police and increase Afghan participation in U.S. and NATO missions, so that there is more of an Afghan face on security."
When/Where: Obama-Biden Plan: "The War We Need to Win" dated 07/31/07.
Status:Authorized 195,000 personnel, the Afghan National Army (ANA) reportedly had 170,000 personnel which included 6,600 members of the Afghan Air Force (AAF) as of 08/16. The Afghan National Police (ANP) has an authorized strength of 157,000, against which approximately 153,000 are assigned.

Generally, progress is inhibited by reports that under the Afghanistan's corrupt and unreliable governments, officers regularly steal the salaries of enlisted men who do not have direct-deposit bank accounts; soldiers sell their coalition-provided clothing and equipment at the local bazaars -- where they can be purchased by the Taliban; and a 25% attrition rate due to desertion is common, with about 20% of the remaining force spaced out on hashish, heroin and other drugs. As a point of reference, "Transparency International" has ranked Afghanistan as the world's third most corrupt country -- after Somalia and Burma.

While superb U.S. military leadership and funding have been made available (cumulative funding for U.S. efforts in Afghanistan is over $700B at the end of FY2016), there's simply not much to show for it. There is apparently no Afghan political will for it to work and clan-based loyalties will likely prevail when coalition forces withdraw from Afghanistan after CY2017, much as they have for thousands of years.

It is relatively safe to conclude that neither the ANA nor ANP will be putting an "Afghan face on security" any time soon. According to Lieutenant General John Nicholson before the Senate Armed Services Committee on 01/28/16, the Afghan security forces there are not yet ready to stand on their own after more than a decade of trying to train the ANA and ALP at a cost of more than $70B.

The creation of a new local defense force, the Afghan Local Police (ALP) or "community police" under the Interior Ministry was announced on 07/14/10. This was followed on 07/20/10 by an announcement by President Karzai that Afghanistan would be able to ensure its own security by end-CY2014. That didn't happen. Instead, the Taliban's offensive in mid-CY2016 has shown the insurgents to be bolder and better organized, holding more territory in CY2016 than at any time since CY2001. The primary reason for this setback: weak leadership, lack of professionalism, complacency and corruption throughout the ANDSF, whose members simply aren't crazy about fighting for their pro-American government.

Efforts to strengthen the training and equipping of the Afghan army and police did take place during the Obama Administration, despite the fact that the results as of end-CY2016 were lamentable.

This promise was fulfilled.
The Promise: "NATO currently has 39,000 troops in Afghanistan...some countries contributing forces are imposing restrictions on where their troops can operate, tying the hands of commanders on the ground...Obama will work with European allies to end these burdensome restrictions and strengthen NATO as a fighting force."
When/Where: Obama-Biden Plan: "The War We Need to Win" dated 07/31/07.
Status:As of 12/31/16, the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) operating in Afghanistan had approximately 13,332 troops from 39 countries (including 26 of 28 NATO countries - Canada and France are not participating), approximately 6,941 of whom were from the USA.
Fatalities in Afghanistan during President Obama's first and second tours in office were as follows:
- CY2009: 521 ISAF, 317 of whom were U.S.
- CY2010: 711 ISAF, 499 of whom were U.S.
- CY2011: 566 ISAF, 418 of whom were U.S.
- CY2012: 402 ISAF, 310 of whom were U.S.
- CY2013: 161 ISAF, 127 of whom were U.S.
- CY2014: 75 ISAF, 55 of whom were U.S.
- CY2015: 27 ISAF, 22 of whom were U.S.
- CY2016: 16 ISAF, 14 of whom were U.S.

During Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF), the number of coalition deaths reported as of end-CY2016 stood at 3,486 (2,351 of whom were U.S.), and 20,092 U.S. troops were reported as wounded in action.

The issue was that during OEF, over half of the participating countries continued to impose "national caveats". These caveats dictated what national forces could/could not do in Afghanistan. Some allied troops lacked the equipment necessary to operate in an integrated fashion with other allies; some nations did not allow their troops to be deployed where needed by the ISAF Commander; and some allies did not permit their soldiers to participate in combat operations unless in self-defense.

President Obama continued to be ineffective in influencing the removal of operational restrictions imposed by over half of the OEF participating nations in Afghanistan. This situation was not resolved as coalition engagements in Afghanistan transitioned to withdrawal of forces at the request of the Afghan Government.

This promise was not fulfilled.
Armed Forces - GeneralGrade
The Promise: "Barack Obama supports plans to increase the size of the Army by 65,000 troops and the Marines by 27,000 troops."
When/Where: Obama Campaign Document "A 21st Century Military for America" dated 11/26/07.
Status:Under the John Warner National Defense Authorization Act for FY2007 (Public Law 109-364) in effect when this promise was made, the authorized strength of the U.S. Army was 512,400. An increase by 65,000 would bring the authorized strength to 577,400.

In FY2007 when this promise was made, the Marine Corps (USMC) authorized strength was 180,000. Adding 27,000 would bring the Marine Corps end strength to 207,000.

Based on annual reporting by the Defense Manpower Data Center (DMDC), here's how the end-strength flutuated during President Obama's two terms in office:

*As of 06/30/16

During President Obama's tenure in office, at no time was the U.S. Army and USMC end-strength at the level promised during his first presidential campaign, even during temporary increases to support Overseas Contingency Operations. In fact, under President Obama, the U.S. Army strength for FY2016 is the lowest since World War II.

This promise was not fulfilled.
The Promise: "I will work for a full repeal of Don't Ask/Don't Tell."
When/Where: Statement to the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) dated 11/29/07.
Status:"Don't Ask, Don't Tell" (DADT) was codified under Public Law 103-160 signed by President Clinton on 11/30/93. This law permitted gay service members to serve as long as they hid their sexual orientation and the armed services could not prove that they engaged in homosexual conduct. The act also specified that service members who disclosed that they were homosexual or engaged in homosexual conduct should be discharged except when a service member's conduct was "for the purpose of avoiding or terminating military service" or when it "would not be in the best interest of the armed forces." Approximately 13,650 gay personnel were kicked out of the military under DADT.

Repeal of the DADT law required Congressional action. On 05/24/10, a compromise was reached between the White House and Capitol Hill allowing votes on amendments that would repeal the 1993 law, but deferred its effectivity until the Pentagon concluded an implementation study by 12/01/10.

The Pentagon's study findings, revealed on 11/30/10, indicated that repealing the DADT law would present only a low risk to the armed forces' ability to fulfill their missions. 70% of service members polled during the Pentagon study opined that repeal of the DADT law would have little, if any, effect on their individual units. The principal recommendations of the study:
- Gays would not be restricted from any career fields such as combat arms or service in submarines;
- Prohibition against separate berthing or shower facilities for gays;
- Service members discharged under "Don's Ask, Don't Tell" could seek to re-enlist or re-commission.

President Obama signed the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell Repeal Act of 2010 (H.R.2965/S.4023) into law on 12/22/10. The law was not enforceable while procedural steps were in place within the Department of Defense to ensure that the repeal would be consistent with military standards for military "readiness, effectiveness, unit cohesion, recruiting and retention."

The Pentagon's certification was presented to President Obama on 07/22/11, who in turn signed a certification ending DADT. The repeal became effective on 09/20/11.

This promise was fulfilled.
The Promise: "Existing U.S. programs of military to military exchanges, joint training, education, and human rights programs must be reoriented from their current Cold War standards to reflect new strategic priorities and ethical standards."
When/Where: Obama Campaign Document "A 21st Century Military for America" dated 11/26/07.
Status:During CY2009, President Obama effectively engaged with his Russian counterpart with a view to enhancing our respective bilateral/military-to-military relationship.

In CY2011, U.S. and Russian military forces successfully cooperated in bilateral anti-terrorism engagements such as Exercise Vigilant Eagle and Exercise Crimson Rider, as well as a Russian visit to the Pentagon's Joint Improvised Explosive Devise Defeat Organization (JIEDDO) in Northern Virginia.

On 04/18/12, senior U.S. and Russian military officials signed a "Military Cooperation Work Plan." This Work Plan included 110 events such as joint exercises, senior leadership exchange visits, subject matter expert exchanges, and port visits by respective navies.

Joint training and education exercises with Russia focused on the interoperability of U.S. and Russian forces and equipment to address respective national priorities. For example, a 05/12 joint exercise was conducted in Colorado between U.S. and Russian forces in parachuting, operation planning, reconnaissance, assault operations, and helicopter evacuations.

U.S. and Russian military organizations also established a working relationship in 05/12 to ensure improved energy, security and equipment interoperability, as well as a fuel-only Acquisition and Cross-Servicing Agreement.

In March CY2014, the short-lived U.S.-Russian military engagements, including military exercises, meetings and port visits, were halted due to Russian adventurism in Ukraine and annexation of Crimea. This brought the U.S.-Russian military relationship back to Cold War levels.

This promise was initially on the path toward fulfillment during President Obama's first term in office, but fell apart during his second. It was nearly impossible for the U.S. and Russia to coordinate their air operations over Syria against the Al Qaeda-linked Jabhat al-Nusra, which was primarily fighting forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad, as of end-CY2016.

The USA wanted to remove Al-Assad. Russia worked to protect him.

This promise was not fulfilled.
The Promise: "Invest in foreign language training, cultural awareness, and human intelligence and other needed counterinsurgency and stabilization skillsets."
When/Where: Obama Campaign Document "A 21st Century Military for America" dated 11/26/07.
Status:Section 529 of the Defense Budget signed into law by President Obama on 10/28/09 authorized the Secretary of Defense to "establish language training centers at accredited universities, senior military colleges, or other similar institutions of higher education for purposes of accelerating the development of foundational expertise in critical and strategic languages and regional area studies."

The "cultural awareness" aspect of this promise is usually satisfied via intense regional area studies, provided for under Section 529.

For Marines deploying to Iraq (until end-CY2011) and Afghanistan (until end-CY2014), the Center for Advanced Operational Culture Learning (CAOCL) at Camp Pendleton, CA developed training modules that incorporated language and cultural training.

The U.S. Army's pre-commissioning programs at West Point include the Center for Language, Culture, and Regional Studies -- all cadets must learn a foreign language. Further, the Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) has language programs at 12 universities designed to increase cadet skills in languages considered strategic to future DoD initiatives.

The Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) and Defense Language Institute's Foreign Language Center (DLIFLC) are other avenues where linguistic and cultural awareness training were developed and/or provided.

As to investments in "human intelligence and other needed counterinsurgency and stabilization skillsets", such investments were dealt a serious blow on 08/09/10 when the Secretary of Defense announced the cost-cutting elimination of the U.S. Joint Forces Command (USJFC). This command had as its mission, other than managing forces and coordinating deployments, the following responsibilities that were tied directly to this promise: (1) to train and provide forces from all services to commanders around the world to work together as a joint team; (2) to ensure the equipment each team brings to an operation is compatible; and (3) to provide teams with unique skills that can deploy at a moment's notice to assist an operation. This SecDef budget reduction proposal received significant pushback from Virginia's state and congressional elected officials, in a "not in my backyard" reaction, but President Obama sealed the fate of USJFC on 01/10/11 when he signed the order for its closure.

As to "cultural awareness," training programs appear to be sound but a few troops on the ground appear oblivious to putting that training to practical use. The culturally insensitive burning of Korans (also referred to as "Qur'an") in Afghanistan in 02/12 was deemed reprehensible by the entire Muslim population and most of the rest of the world. This stupid action incited anti-U.S. manifestations, caused the killing of at least six U.S. soldiers, and further soured already-fragile bilateral Afghan-U.S. relations.

Nonetheless, considering the balance between the positive and negative developments articulated above, President Obama continued to push for the promised investments.

This promise was fulfilled.
The Promise: "Create a specialized military advisers corps, which will enable us to better build up local allies' capacities to take on mutual threats."
When/Where: Obama Campaign Document "A 21st Century Military for America" dated 11/26/07.
Status:By end-CY2016, the U.S. Army had announced definitive plans to develop/create at least one "train, advise, assist" brigade that would advise indigenous forces in Iraq and Afghanistan and elsewhere as needed. Formal activation of the U.S. Army's 1st Security Force Assistance Brigade was anticipated to occur in CY2018.

This promise was fulfilled.
The Promise: "Create a Military Families Advisory Board: Consisting of experts and family representatives from each service, it would help identify and develop actionable policies to ease the burden on spouses and families."
When/Where: Obama Campaign Document "A 21st Century Military for America" dated 11/26/07.
Status:The promised board should not be confused with "Operation Military Family," created in CY2007 and run by a defense industry contractor.

The "Board" was actually created under the 2008 Defense Authorization Act signed into law by President George W. Bush on 01/28/08 and is known as the Military Family Readiness Council (MFRC). Thus, credit cannot be given to President Obama for creating the MFRC.

The MFRC is chaired by the UnderSecretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness and consists of (1) one representative of the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps, (2) three individuals representing military family organizations, and (3) senior enlisted advisors of the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps or the spouse of a senior enlisted member of these armed services. Meetings are open to the public on a space available basis. The MRFC must submit an annual report to the Secretary of Defense by 1 February.

Another advisory board referred to as "Joining Forces" announced on 04/12/11 failed to meet the specific criteria reflected in this promise.

The Military Families Advisory Board already existed under another name when President Obama came into office.

This promise was not fulfilled.
The Promise: "Restore the Deployment Policies Under Which the Reserve and Guard Enlisted...An Obama administration will...End the "Stop-Loss" program of forcing troops to stay in service beyond their expected commitments."
When/Where: Obama Campaign Document "A 21st Century Military for America" dated 11/26/07.
Status:On 03/18/09, Secretary of Defense Gates announced that the U.S. Army would phase out its "Stop-Loss" program, which forced soldiers to stay on active duty with the Army past their service obligations. The new policy prohibited the Army Reserve from mobilizing units under the "Stop-Loss" policy effective 08/09, with the Army National Guard following suit in 09/09 and the active U.S. Army in 01/10.

On 06/15/11, Defense Secretary Gates testified to the Senate Appropriations Defense Subcommittee that the Bush Administration's initiatives to increase manpower levels in the Army and Marine Corps to reduce troop deployment times and increase their at-home time had succeeded. He announced that stop-loss deployments had been terminated. Promise fulfillment appeared to be on track.

Not so. On 10/16/14, President Obama signed Executive Order 13680 authorizing the secretaries of defense and homeland security to recall Reserve and Individual Ready Reserve members to active duty in support of Operation United Assistance, a mission to fight the spread of the Ebola virus in West Africa. This move allowed the Army to continue reducing the active force by its goal of 80,000 soldiers while at the same time permitting the involuntary recall of former service members to active duty beyond their original enlistment and Reserve Component service commitments.

Further, in 10/15, in the aftermath of manpower reductions (discharging 19,000 airmen from its ranks in CY2014), the U.S. Air Force formalized its "stop-loss" program.

This promise was not fulfilled.
The Promise: "Build up our special operations forces, civil affairs, information operations, engineers, foreign area officers, and other units and capabilities that remain in chronic short supply"
When/Where: Obama Campaign Document "A 21st Century Military for America" dated 11/26/07.
Status:Special Forces: While actual manpower numbers are tightly controlled, we do know that when President Obama was first elected, the U.S. Army operated 7 groups consisting of 3 battions apiece. At an average strengh of 800 personnel per battalion, the Army Special Forces strengh was estimated to be about 16,800.

In FY2011, the Department of Defense authorized the US Army Special Operations Command (SOCOM) to increase the authorized U.S. Army Special Forces strength by one third. To accomplish this, each of the 7 Special Forces groups would be augmented by one battalion by end-CY2012 for an estimated total Special Forces strength of 23,000. According to the 2016 SOCOM Fact Book, Special Forces personnel strength has risen to about 27,000. While the exact numbers may be off target, the promise was to "build up" the Special Forces, and this was accomplished.

Foreign Area Officers (FAO): As of CY2010, there were 1,940 FAOs in active operational capacities, with about 25% of this number in training. Of that number, 1,236 were Army officers, 285 in the Marine Corps, 224 in the Navy, and about 195 in the Air Force. The services planned to add at least 1,239 to the rolls by FY2016.

In late-11/16, the Obama Administration announced the creation of a new "Counter-External Operations Task Force," known within the Pentagon as "Ex-Ops," operating under the Joint Special Operation Command (JSOC) which is subordinate to SOCOM. Its mission: in collaboration with the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), pursue terrorist networks and individuals plotting attacks against the USA and its allies.

This promise was fulfilled.
The Promise: "Establish regularity in that active duty and reserves know what they must expect, rather than the current trend of changing the deployment schedules after they have left home, which harms the morale of troops and their families."
When/Where: Obama Campaign Document "A 21st Century Military for America" dated 11/26/07.
Status:On 06/02/10, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (CJCS), Admiral Michael Mullen, announced at Fort Bragg, NC that between 06/11 and 06/12, active and reserve Army units would stay in the United States for two years before deploying again for 12 months. On 08/05/11, the U.S. Army announced that except for headquarters units, aviation specialties and military police, troop deployments would be curtailed from 12 to 9 months starting in CY2012.

Six months after Admiral Mullen's 06/11 announcement, in early 12/11, the 4th Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division from Fort Bliss, Texas returned from Iraq in time to spend Christmas with families. A few days later on 12/21/11, however, this unit was advised that it would be re-deployed to Afghanistan 7 months later in 05/12. The brigade stayed in Afghanistan until 06/13, playing havoc with family relations and morale.

The above is but one example where this promise, despite best intentions and supportive policy changes, was not fulfilled.
Corps of EngineersGrade
The Promise: "...will ensure that New Orleans has a levee and pumping system to protect the city against a 100-year storm by 2011, with the ultimate goal of protecting the entire city from a Category 5 storm."
When/Where: Obama-Biden Plan: "Rebuilding the Gulf Coast and Preventing Future Catastrophes", dated 09/11/08.
Status:In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, rated as a Category 3 on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale with sustained winds of 100 to 140 miles per hour and classified as a 400-year storm with a 0.25% chance of occurring in any year, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers repaired levees and temporarily repaired pumping systems in the New Orleans area and beyond.

The main concern for New Orleans residents was that although the pre-Katrina levee/pumping system was restored and strengthened, that restoration was limited to fast-moving, moderate Category 3 hurricane protection standards.

In 06/10, the Corps of Engineers delivered its 8,000 page Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Study to Congress. In the study, the Corps estimated that it would cost between $70B and $136B to protect Louisiana's coastline at the Category 5 hurricane level. A Category 5 system around New Orleans would require 30-foot levees whereas some of the rebuilt levees and flood walls are 10.5 feet high, capable of withstanding a slow-moving Category 2 hurricane or a fast-moving Category 3 hurricane. Experts in these matters agree that the storm surge from a Category 5 hurricane would be greater than a 100-year storm.

By end-CY2016, the Corps of Engineers was on track to complete permanent canal closures and pump stations at the end of three New Orleans outfall canals by mid-CY2018. This effort was plagued by cost overruns and schedule delays. Despite these improvements, New Orleans was not protected from a Category 5 storm.

This promise was not fulfilled.
Defense SpendingGrade
The Promise: "End the abuse of supplemental budgets ..."
When/Where: Obama Campaign Document "A 21st Century Military for America" dated 11/26/07.
Status:Six months after taking office, President Obama sought to add pork to the FY2010 war funding bill, $83.4B of which was earmarked for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Items unrelated to the war effort he sought to add were $4B to combat the H1N1 virus, $5B to buttress the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the "cash for clunkers" program to jump-start lagging auto sales, $3.1B for aircraft (C-17's and C-130's) the Pentagon did not want, and others.

The $61.4B FY2011 supplementary war funding bill signed into law by President Obama on 07/29/10 contained non-war related items such as $24B to keep teachers, firefighters and police officers employed, $13B for Vietnam Veteran Agent Orange survivors, $5.7B for PELL grants, $2.8B for aid to Haiti, $275M for the Gulf Coast oil spill, and funding such special interest requirements as improving port facilities in Guam ($50M).

The above examples are provided as illustration that U.S. taxpayer monies for supplemental "war" purposes are not always used for those purposes.

This promise was not fulfilled.
The Promise: "We need greater investment in advanced technology ranging from the revolutionary, like unmanned aerial vehicles and electronic warfare capabilities, to systems like the C-17 cargo and KC-X air refueling aircraft..."
When/Where: Obama Campaign Document "A 21st Century Military for America" dated 11/26/07.
Status:The FY2010 defense budget appropriated $88.5M for C-17 Multi-Year Procurement, $424M for C-17 Advance Procurement, a Senate plus-up for 10 additional C-17's valued at $2.5B, $120M for C-17 Modifications, and $161M for C-17 Research & Development Management. The 279th and final C-17 was completed at Boeing's Long Beach, California plant and flown on 11/29/15.

The Boeing KC-46 Pegasus was selected by the United States Air Force (USAF) in 02/11 as the winner in the KC-X tanker competition to replace older KC-135 Stratotankers. The first 18 combat-ready aircraft are scheduled to be delivered to the USAF by 08/17.

In FY2010, the MQ-1 Predator Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) procurement was funded at $754M for 24 each against a budget request of $955M for 36 each; the acquisition of five each MQ-4 UAVs for $802M was consistent with the President's budget proposal; the RQ-7 Shadow was fully funded at $666M for 11 each, as was the MQ-8 Fire Scout at $77M for 5 each.

Different electronic warfare systems also received funding consistent with the President's budget proposal such as the Lightweight Counter-Mortar Radar at $90M, the AN/SLQ-32 at $34M, electronic warfare technology at $88M, electronic warfare development at $248M, Joint Counter-Radio Controlled IED Electronic Warfare (JCREW), Space and Electronic Warfare Architecture Development at $42M.

In 09/10, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) awarded an $89M contract to Boeing/Qinetiq for their "Solar Eagle" concept capable of keeping 1,000 pounds of payload aloft for five years with 5kw of power. Boeing planned to prove an initial 30-day "Solar Eagle" airworthiness capability by CY2014, but the program was cancelled in CY2012.

While the above examples indicated that the promise to invest in these technologies was on track to be fulfilled, the deficit-cutting plan included in the overarching debt ceiling agreement reached and signed into law on 08/02/11 caused the Pentagon to cut an initial $325B from its FY2012 budget. These cuts affected sustained investments in advanced science and technology throughout the armed forces.

As an example, here's the DoD Science & Technology (S&T) funding profile, with the FY2009 amount of $13.4B as a baseline, during President Obama's tenure in office:

FY2010 - $13.7B
FY2011 - $11.8B
FY2012 - $12.2B
FY2013 - $11.9B
FY2014 - $12.0B
FY2015 - $12.2B
FY2016 - $13.0B
FY2017 - $13.4B

As the above portrays, DoD funding for S&T during President Obama's two terms in office, in part attributed to sequestration, was rather anemic.

This promise was not fulfilled.
The Promise: "Work to bring pay "more in line with that of the private sector, as measured by the employment cost index (ECI)."
When/Where: Obama Campaign Document "A 21st Century Military for America" dated 11/26/07.
Status:Current law (Section 1009(c) of U.S.C. Title 37) states that military pay raises shall an increase at the percentage of the Employment Cost Index (ECI) for the base quarter of the year before the preceding year, keyed to wages and salaries for private industry workers.

The automatic adjustment is tied to the increase in the ECI from the 3rd Quarter of the third preceding year to the 3rd Quarter of the second preceding year. For example, in the 12-month period between the quarter which ended in 09/10 and the quarter which ended in 09/11, the ECI increased by 1.7%. Hence the pay raise for CY2013, as calculated by the statutory formula, was 1.7%.

The following depicts the relationship between military pay raises and the prevailing ECI during President Obama's two terms in office:


Fulfilling this promise looked promising during President Obama's first term but fell apart during his second.

This promise was not fulfilled.
The Promise: "Fully Equip Our Troops for the Missions They Face...We must prioritize getting vitally needed equipment to our Soldiers and Marines before lives are lost."
When/Where: Obama Campaign Document "A 21st Century Military for America" dated 11/26/07.
Status:When President Obama assumed office in CY2009, a critical gap existed between reconciling the Defense Logistics Agency's (DLA's) spare parts inventory and field requirements. The Department of Defense (DoD) needed to do a better job in forecasting what the Armed Forces actually needed and more accurately calculate how long it took to produce these items and deliver them to the end user -- the war fighter.

For example, the U.S. Army in CY2007 confirmed a CY2003 requirement that the Soldier-Wearable Acoustic Targeting System (SWATS) was safe for soldiers to use. SWATS are rugged and lightweight (450 g) provide direction and distance in a fraction of a second and 360 degree coverage. Visual indication is shown on a shoulder display. The system is available in vehicle (VMS) and fixed-site (FSS) versions. As of end-CY2011, more than 18,000 units had been delivered to the warfighter.

The Mine-Resistent, Ambush-Protected (MRAP) vehicle started in CY2007 during the Bush Administration has saved thousands of lives. MRAP vehicles have a V-shaped hull that deflects the force of bombs and roadside Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) that blow up beneath them, in contrast with Humvee vehicles that have flat bottoms. According to a Congressional Research Service (CRS) report dated 01/18/11, Congress appropriated over $40B for the MRAP vehicle through FY2010. The President's FY2011 request for $3.4B for the MRAP Vehicle Fund was authorized in the National Defense Authorization Act of 2011 (Public Law 111-383). After delivering about 20,000 MRAP vehicles for efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Pentagon focused on the development of a more agile Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV), the delivery of which would occur in CY2018 after a six-year delay.

The Pentagon's new "fast lane" system, initiated by former Defense Secretary Gates, also appeared promising to get needed equipment to the troops fast. A new "Boomerang" system to detect the origin of sniper gunshots was fast-tracked to outposts in Afghanistan in CY2011. Over 200K pairs of "Ballistic Underwear" were also expedited to Afghanistan in CY2011 to help minimize wounds received from bombs detonated by foot patrols.

Despite improvements in the delivery of protective equipment, lives continued to be lost and troops continued to be wounded. As of 12/31/16, the tally was:

3,481 Killed in Action (KIA), 929 deaths due to non-hostile actions, plus 13 DoD Civilian KIA for a total of 4,423 in Iraq during Operation Iraqi Freedom as well as 31,958 Wounded in Action (WIA);

38 KIA plus 35 deaths due to non-hostile actions for a total of 73 during Iraqi Operation New Dawn as well as 295 WIA;

1,833 KIA and 383 deaths due to non-hostile actions for a total of 2,216 under Afghanistan Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF). In addition, there were 131 campaign-related deaths at other locations as well as four (4) DoD civilians deaths, all totaling 2,351 KIA. OEF also resulted in 20,092 WIA;

Eight (8) KIA plus 23 deaths due to non-hostile actions and 21 WIA under Operation Inherent Resolve against ISIS/ISIL;

44 U.S. KIA and 16 deaths under non-hostile circumstances, plus 360 WIA reported to date under Afghan Operation Freedom's Sentinel.

In certain areas, progress was made to protect our troops by the Obama Administration. For FY2012 alone, $2.8B was provided for measures to counter Improvised Explosive Device (IED) activities in Iraq and Afghanistan; $3.2B was provided for MRAP vehicles; $453M was provided for upgrading M-1 Abrama tanks; and $1.5B was provided for the National Guard and Reserves to meet urgent equipment needs.

This promise was fulfilled.
The Promise: " increased R&D for naval forces."
When/Where: Obama Campaign Document "A 21st Century Military for America" dated 11/26/07.
Status:The U.S. Navy's (USN's) Research and Development (R&D) budget for FY2009 was set at $19.3B. This was the amount to be increased. Here's a profile of President Obama's requests for USN Research, Development, Test and Evalustion during his two terms in office:


On 02/04/12, the Chief of Naval Operations (CNO), Admiral Jonathan Greenert, announced that the Future Years Defense Program (FYDP) provided for a battle force of 285 ships in FY2017. A new Force Structure Assessment (FSA) completed later in CY2012 increased the battle force projection to a goal of 306 ships, adjusted to 308 in CY2014. That level would be constituted by 11 aircraft carriers, 12 ballistic-missile submarines, 48 attack submarines, 88 large surface combatants, 52 small surface combatants, 34 amphibious warfare ships, 29 combat logistics force ships and 34 support vessels.

As of mid-CY2016, excluding approximately 200 ready-reserve and mothballed/reserve ships that could be activated in case of a national or international crisis, the USN had a battle force of 282 ships.

The trend of President Obama's requests for USN RDT&E funding, with the exception of a small increase in FY2010, indicates that he requested less each year during the FY2011-FY2017 timeframe than the amount funded in FY2009.

This promise was not fulfilled.
The Promise: "...will support sea basing ships capable of support humanitarian missions as well as combat mission."
When/Where: Obama Campaign Document "A 21st Century Military for America" dated 11/26/07.
Status:The Amphibious Assault Ship (Multi-Purpose) designated "LHD" is an example of the type of ship referred to in this promise. The LHD serves as the lead ship of a U.S. Navy (USN) Amphibious Readiness Group (ARG), embarks, transports, deploys, commands and fully supports all elements of a Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) of 2,000 Marines, inserting forces on shore via helicopters, landing craft and amphibious vehicles for humanitarian and other conventional purposes.

To support combat operations as well as non-combatant evacuations and humanitarian missions, LHD's have hospital facilities including 6 fully equipped operating rooms and other hospital facilities capable of treating up to 600 patients.

The Navy's 30-year plan released in 02/10 recognized the value of multi-purpose amphibious ships and planned to maintain an adaptable amphibious landing force of approximately 33 ships in the near term (2011-2020) with 11 of the 33 being LHA/D amphibious assault ships. As of mid-CY2016, the USN operated seven (7) LHA and eight (8) LHD ships, four (4) over the CY2010 plan.

Further, during President Obama's tenure in office, the USN planned to introduce the following ships to the fleet over the coming years, each with humanitarian assistance/disaster relief capabilities:

- 23 Joint High Speed Vessels (JHSV). This ship was renamed Expeditionary Fast Transport (EPF) in 09/15. As of mid-CY2016, six (6) had been delivered and two (2) were under construction
- up to 4 Mobile Landing Platform (MLP)/Afloat Forward Staging Base (AFSB) ships. These ships were renamed Expeditionary Transfer Dock (ESD) and Expeditionary Mobile Base (ESB) respectively in 09/15. Both have humanitarian aid/disaster relief capabilities. As of mid-CY2016, two (2) ESD and one (1) ESB ships had been delivered to the USN. One of each variant is under construction for an increased total of five (5).

This promise was fulfilled.
The Promise: "...will modernize the many capable ships that we now have and tilt the investment balance towards more capable, smaller combatants, while maintaining the Navy's ability to command the seas."
When/Where: Obama Campaign Document "A 21st Century Military for America" dated 11/26/07.
Status:1. Modernization: Under its Phased Modernization Plan (PMP) introduced in 03/14, the U.S. Navy (USN) would have placed 11 cruisers and three dock-landing ships into a reduced operating status primarily for modernization purposes. Under the plan, the cruisers were to be minimally manned for 5 to 12 years.

In CY2015, Congress came up with a new modernization plan. Under this plan, the USN would pull 2 cruisers out of service each year with the modernization period not to exceed 4 years, and no more than 6 cruisers to be out of service at any point in time. This came to be referred to as the "2/4/6 Plan."

Two years later for FY2017, President Obama's administration proposed to revert back to the USN's PMP and 'drydock' all 11 cruisers and one amphibious ship at the same time.

Here's the profile for President Obama's annual budget requests for ship modernization:

FY2010..........$343M (Down from $374M in FY2009)

2. Investment in Smaller Combatants: In CY2001, the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) Program was established, calling for 52 units to be produced. In CY2014, the Pentagon decided that the final 20 ships in the program were to be built as a variant of the original LCS design and were to be referred to as "Frigates."

In 12/15, in view of budget limitations imposed by the deficit-cutting plan signed into law on 08/02/11 that caused the Pentagon to cut an estimated $350B to $450B through FY2023, the Obama Administration directed the USN to reduce the LCS/Frigate program to a total of 40 ships.

Back on 02/04/12, the Chief of Naval Operation had announced that instead of a 301-ship Navy anticipated for FY2017, that number was adjusted downward to 285. Despite budget cuts, this number was later adjusted during CY2012 to 306, and further adjusted in CY2014 to 308.

As of end-CY2016, not counting approximately 200 ready-reserve and mothballed ships that could be activated in case of a national or international crisis, the USN had 282 deployable battle force ships.

This promise was not fulfilled.
The Promise: "...humanitarian activities that build friends and allies at the regional and ground level...are presently not included in long-term planning and... actually take away funds from a unit's regular operational budget...The Obama administration will expand such programs, regularizing them into the annual budget so that our efforts to aid allies...are sustainable, rather than ad-hoc."
When/Where: Obama Campaign Document "A 21st Century Military for America" dated 11/26/07.
Status:The Department of Defense (DoD) Overseas Humanitarian, Disaster and Civic Aid (OHDACA) program, which funds DoD's Humanitarian Assistance Program, the Humanitarian Mine Action Program, and the Foreign Disaster Relief and Emergency Response Program, has been in existence since the 10/06/94 issuance of DoD Directive 2205.2 ("Humanitarian and Civic Assistance (HCA) Provided in Conjunction with Military Operations"). This directive states that "Expenses incurred as a direct result of providing HCA (other than De Minimis HCA) to a foreign country shall be paid out of funds specifically appropriated for such purposes."

Thus, the mechanisms were in place long before the Obama Administration came into power for DoD's inclusion of humanitarian activities in its annual budget submissions.

This promise was not fulfilled because it didn't need to be.
The Promise: "... creating a system of oversight for war funds as stringent as in the regular budget."
When/Where: Obama Campaign Document "A 21st Century Military for America" dated 11/26/07.
Status:To protect U.S. taxpayer funds committed for nonmilitary development and humanitarian assistance in Afghanistan from fraud, waste and abuse, the Office of the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) was opened under the Bush Administration in CY2008, not under President Obama.

As of 04/15/16, the SIGAR had 288 open investigations:
- 105 Procurement/Contract Fraud
- 61 Public Corruption/Bribery
- 30 Theft of Property and Services
- 69 Miscellaneous Criminal Activity

In its 07/30/16 quarterly report to Congress, SIGAR reported that since its inception in 2008, "...SIGAR investigations had resulted in a cumulative total of 141 criminal charges, 103 convictions, and 91 sentencings. Criminal fines, restitutions, forfeitures, civil settlement recoveries, and U.S. government cost savings total $951 million."

SIGAR's oversight mission is supplemented by independent investigation and audit efforts by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) and the USAID Office of the Inspector General.

The oversight system instituted by President Obama's predecessor continued with stellar results during President Obama's two terms in office. But President Obama cannot be credited with "creating" that system.

This promise was not fulfilled.
The Promise: "redeploy combat brigades from Iraq at a pace of 1 to 2 brigades a month that would remove them in 16 months."
When/Where: Plan for America: "Blueprint for Change," dated 10/09/08
Source: Obama and Biden's documents/550007-barack-obama-2008-blueprint-for-change.html
Status:The oft-repeated campaign, vote-getting promise to "end the war" and pull all combat troops out of Iraq "within 16 months" of his inauguration sounded good at the time. However, reality set in and President Obama essentially kept the same timeline established by President Bush for withdrawal from Iraq. He formally ended U.S. military combat involvement in Iraq on 12/15/11, 35 months after his inauguration.

Meanwhile, more U.S. servicemen and women lost their lives or were wounded since "Operation New Dawn" started on 09/01/10. Since that date, 38 U.S. soldiers were killed in Iraq as a result of hostile actions, 35 died as a result of non-hostile actions, and 295 were wounded in action as of 12/31/16.

The above are the official numbers. We do know, for example, that there were more U.S. troops (specifically, members of a 200-strong Marine Expeditionary Unit) killed or wounded in early CY2016 near Makmour, Iraq. These losses were 'off the books' because those Marines were on a so-called "temporary" assignment to Iraq.

This promise was not fulfilled.
The Promise: "...on my first day in office, I would give the military a new mission: ending this war."
When/Where: Obama campaign article printed in The New York Times entitled "My Plan for Iraq" dated 07/14/08.
Status:Immediately after his inauguration on 01/21/09, President Obama met with diplomatic and military leaders responsible for the U.S. presence in Iraq. During that meeting, Obama directed immediate planning for a "responsible military drawdown" from Iraq.

On 10/21/11, President Obama announced that he and Prime Minister Al-Maliki agreed that all U.S. Forces in Iraq would be pulled out before the end of CY2011.

However, promise fulfillment was short-lived with the advent of successful Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) incursions into Iraq resulting in the takeover of population centers such as Mosul and Ramadi.

In early CY2016, for example, the Administration sent 200 Marines from the Marine Expeditionary Unit with four artillery units to prop up the Iraqi 15th Division near Makmour. The Marines were attacked by ISIS elements occupying Mosul and at least one Marine death and several wounded resulted. This was not publicly reported at the time by the Administration.

By 09/28/16, U.S. troop strength in Iraq had crept up to about 4,565 from a low of 170 security personnel in 06/14. On that date, the Administration announced that an additional 615 soldiers would be sent to Iraq, bringing the total of combat-ready troops to 5,180. Uncounted were approximately 1,500 troops in Iraq for purely security reasons, bringing the in-country presence to 6,680 before end-CY2016. According to media reports, nobody believed that the 5,180 combat troops were in Iraq purely in an "advisory and training" capacity. Combat was believed to be inevitable as Iraqi forces tried to liberate Mosul from ISIS occupation -- with U.S. military assistance.

This promise was not fulfilled.
The Promise: "I would not hold our military, our resources and our foreign policy hostage to a misguided desire to maintain permanent bases in Iraq."
When/Where: Obama Op-Ed Contribution to The New York Times, dated 07/14/08.
Status:The National Defense Authorization Act for 2010 signed into law by President Obama on 10/28/09 specifies that "No funds ... may be obligated or expended ... for the permanent stationing of United States Armed Forces in Iraq." Under the terms of a 2008 Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA), all U.S. troops had to be out of Iraq by the end of CY2011.

On 10/21/11, President Obama announced that he and Prime Minister Al-Maliki agreed that all U.S. Forces in Iraq would be pulled out before the end of CY2011. This announcement was validated during Prime Minister Al-Maliki's visit to Washington on 12/12/11 and the last U.S. combat troops formally departed Iraq on 12/18/11.

In the face of the takeover by ISIS of key cities such as Mosul and Ramadi, President Obama announced in 06/15 that the Pentagon was sending an additional 450 "advisors/trainers." By 08/16, U.S. troop strength in Iraq had crept up to about 4,650. Yet no "permanent" U.S. bases were re-opened. Instead, U.S. troops operated out of a few temporary "fire bases."

To maintain a rapid reaction force in case conditions in Iraq deteriorated, President Obama kept several brigades in neighboring Kuwait (i.e. 3rd Armored Brigade, 1st Armored Division; 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division; 17th Sustainment Brigade, 1st Sustainment Command) as well as some 10,000 troops in Qatar.

This promise was fulfilled.
The Promise: "Obama would condition U.S. military aid to Pakistan on their making progress to close down the training camps, evict foreign fighters, and prevent the Taliban from using Pakistan as a base to strike inside of Afghanistan."
When/Where: Obama-Biden Plan: "The War We Need to Win" dated 07/31/07.
Status:Historically, Pakistan considers that anything on its side of the Durand Line (the poorly marked 1,600 mile Afghanistan-Pakistan border established in 1893) is its sovereign territory and therefore its own business.

For FY2010, Pakistan gained approximately $2.5B in direct U.S. military aid: $288M in Foreign Military Financing, $5M for International Military Education and Training, $700M under the Pakistan Counterinsurgency Capability Fund, and $1.5B under the Coalition Support Fund as part of a $4.3B aid package.

Despite all this funding, U.S. Predator drone attacks and the use of other intelligence assets had to be increased in western Pakistan as early as CY2010. This reflected Obama Administration frustrations over Pakistan's failure to dislodge Haqqani Network, Taliban and Al-Qaeda operatives from North Waziristan -- using that area as a base from which to launch attacks against coalition troops in Afghanistan, an effort that continued unabated through CY2016.

For FY2011, an increase in funding for the Pakistan Counterinsurgency Capability Fund (from $700M to $1.2B) was requested by President Obama. Congress agreed to limit this amount to $800M in the Department of Defense and Full-Year Continuing Appropriations Act of 2011 (H.R. 1473).

For FY2012, President Obama proposed $1.6B for Pakistani police and military assistance. Congress froze $700M of this assistance while it sought proof that Pakistan was taking action against militants who used Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) against U.S. force operating in Afghanistan. Congress again temporarily blocked funds for Pakistan in early-CY2012 because Pakistan would not let supplies reach NATO forces in Afghanistan via shorter, less costly routes through Pakistan after Pakistani troops were killed during a U.S. drone attack on insurgent training sites in Pakistan.

All this time, the Haqqani Network, declared to be a terrorist group by the Obama Administration on 09/07/12, continued to operate with impunity in North Waziristan. Nonetheless, the Obama Administration's FY2013 budget proposal requested $2.2B in foreign operations funds for Pakistan, including $800M for the Pakistan Counterinsurgency Capability Fund (PCCF), a 6% increase over the FY2012 enacted level.

In 08/16, the Pentagon withheld $300M in military aid to Pakistan. According to a spokesman, "the funds could not be released to the government of Pakistan at this time because the secretary has not yet certified that Pakistan has taken sufficient action against the Haqqani Network." But this was only $300M out of a $1B military aid package.

It was widely reported at the time that some of Pakistan's security services had been assisting the 60K-strong Taliban against NATO forces in Afghanistan since Operation Enduring Freedom started in late CY2001. At the same time, the 4K to 6K-strong Haqqani Network and terrorist training camps continued to operate in North Waziristan. Despite these documented facts, the Obama Administration continued to provide military aid to the Pakistani Government, with slight perturbations, through end-CY2016.

This promise was not fulfilled.
The Promise: "Obama's plan will be to reverse the trend of "cross-leveling," the cannibalizing of soldiers and machines from units back home for missions abroad."
When/Where: Obama Campaign Document "A 21st Century Military for America" dated 11/26/07.
Status:The purpose of cross-leveling of personnel and equipment is to improve an individual unit's readiness. Cross-leveling of one state's equipment to fulfill another state's shortage is the most common type of cross-leveling action. Distribution of personnel and non-excess equipment between states is done for mobilizations or other high priority events based on the Pentagon's requirements.

There was no 'plus-up' in President Obama's FY2010-FY2017 budget proposals to mitigate the "cross-leveling" of troops and equipment situation.

Nonetheless, when this promise was a serious issue during President Obama's first term in office (and less so during his second), nothing substantive was accomplished to satisfy promise fulfillment goals.

This promise was not fulfilled.
The Promise: "Obama cosponsored legislation to elevate the Chief of the National Guard to the rank of four-star general and make the chief a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the top military advisory panel to the president. As president, Obama will sign this legislation into law."
When/Where: Obama Campaign Document "A 21st Century Military for America" dated 11/26/07.
Status:On 05/19/11, Senators Patrick Leahy (D-VT)Lindsey Graham (R-SC) introduced the "National Guard Empowerment and State-National Defense Integration Act of 2011 (S. 1025) with 50 senators signing on as co-sponsors and which was supported by 65 senators for inclusion in the defense authorization for FY2012. This proposed bill included a provision to give the National Guard's senior officer, the Chief of the National Guard Bureau (CNGB), a seat at the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) table.

As submitted by Congress to the President for signature, Section 512 of the NDAA for FY2012 (H.R. 1540) granted membership of the CNGB on the Joint Staff. President Obama signed H.R. 1540 into law on 12/31/11.

This promise was fulfilled.
The Promise: "Restore the deployment policies under which the reserve and guard enlisted...An Obama administration will...limit lengthy deployments to one year for every six years...restore the 24-month limit on cumulative deployment time."
When/Where: Obama Campaign Document "A 21st Century Military for America" dated 11/26/07.
Status:Prior to 01/07, Guard/Reserve members' cumulative time in active duty to support war efforts in Iraq or Afghanistan could not exceed 24 months. In 01/07, Secretary of Defense Gates announced that this cumulative limit was lifted. Since 01/09, any single mobilization cannot exceed 12 months. The 24-month limitation was not restored during subsequent years.

Under the CY2011 Army Force Generation (ARFORGEN) model, the objective was for active component (AC) units to have a deploy-to-dwell ratio of 1:2 meaning one year deployed to two years at home station. The U.S. Army Reserve (USAR) and Army National Guard (ARNG), referred to as Reserve Components (RC), were both reorganized to fill the role of an operational reserve, with an expected activation-to-dwell ratio of 1:5.

In reality the percentage of RC personnel who exceeded Activation-to-Dwell Ratios as of end-CY2016 was as follows:

USAR:.... 18.4%...16.4%...15.1%...6.0%
ARNG:... 17.7%...15.4%...13.9%...5.9%

Under a new CY2014 program known as "Associated Units," 14 ARNG and two USAR units were to be paired with AC units so they could train together and deploy together. Consequently, if an AC unit had a deploy-to-dwell ratio of 1:2, the reserve components would also be subjected to the same deploy-to-dwell ratio of 1:2.

This promise was not fulfilled.
The Promise: "As a first step, I will seek Russia's agreement to extend essential monitoring and verification provisions of the {Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty} START I before it expires in December 2009."
When/Where: Candidate Obama response to "Arms Control Today" questionnaire dated 09/10/08.
Status:On 04/01/09, Obama met with his Russian counterpart, Dmitry Medvedev, in Europe where the two established the groundwork for this promise to be kept by the deadline of 12/05/09. They met again at a summit in Moscow in 07/09 where they issued a "Joint Understanding" proposing a legally binding agreement to replace the START Treaty.

The expiration date of 12/05/09 passed without an agreement. On 03/26/10, Presidents Obama and Medvedev agreed on a new treaty that called for both sides to reduce their nuclear weapons stockpiles by 30%, allowing each to retain 1,550 warheads, down from the ceiling at that time of 2,200, as well as limiting deployed and non-deployed missile launchers to 800 (half of the authorized amount under the previous treaty). The agreement would also re-establish a weak system for monitoring and verification that had ended in 12/09.

The new treaty was signed on 04/08/10 in Prague. It was ratified by the U.S. Senate in a 71-26 vote on 12/22/10, was ratified by the Russian Government and was signed into law by President Medvedev on 01/28/11, signed into law by President Obama on 02/02/11, and implemented with an exchange of ratification documents by Secretary of State Clinton and Foreign Minister Lavrov in Munich on 02/05/11. Shortly thereafter on 02/07/11, both Deputy Foreign Minister Ryabkov and Deputy Defense Minister Antonov acknowledged that Russia reserved the right to withdraw from the "New START" treaty if the U.S. significantly boosted its missile shield in Europe to the detriment of Russia's missiles and nuclear deterrent forces.

While ratification of "New START" was a significant political and foreign policy victory (despite its apparent weaknesses), President Obama was specific about fulfilling this promise "before it expires in December 2009." This did not happen.

This promise was not fulfilled.
The Promise: "....will also immediately stand down all nuclear forces to be reduced under the Moscow Treaty and urge Russia to do the same."
When/Where: Candidate Obama response to "Arms Control Today" questionnaire dated 09/10/08.
Status:When this promise was made in CY2008, the USA was very close to reaching the upper limit of 1,700-2,200 warheads set by the Strategic Offensive Reduction Treaty (SORT), also known as the Moscow Treaty. The target of 2,200 was reached shortly after President Obama was sworn in for his first term in office.

Soon after President Obama's inauguration, his Administration entered into new rounds of negotiations with Russian counterparts, to include Obama-Medvedev talks, with the objective of signing a new treaty to replace the "START-1" Treaty signed in 07/91 and set to expire in 12/09. The "New START" Treaty was signed on 04/08/10 in Prague. It was ratified by the U.S. Senate on 12/22/10 and by the Russian Duma on 01/28/11 with an effective date of 02/05/11, marking the end of the Moscow Treaty.

The "New START" Treaty further reduced the deployed warhead limit by both countries to 1,550 and the deployed delivery vehicle limit to 700 by 02/05/18.

This promise was fulfilled.
The Promise: "...will work with Russia to find common ground and bring significantly more weapons off hair-trigger alert."
When/Where: Obama Campaign Document "A 21st Century Military for America" dated 11/26/07.
Status:"Hair-trigger" status is also referred to as "high alert," "ready alert," "day-to-day alert," "launch-on-warning status," or "prompt-launch status."

Approximately 3,000 nuclear warheads maintained by Russia and the USA in silos, in submarines and elsewhere, remained on hair-trigger alert status through end-CY2016.

Activities such as President Obama's Nuclear Posture Review (NPR) of 04/06/10, the various non-proliferation meetings, and signature of the "New START" treaty on 04/08/10 in Prague (ratified by the U.S. Senate on 12/22/10 and by the Russian Government on 01/28/11) did nothing to eliminate the "hair-trigger alert" status adopted by both sides.

This determination was validated by the statement in the CY2010 NPR that "the current alert posture of U.S. strategic forces - with heavy bombers on full-time alert, nearly all ICBMs on alert, and a significant number of SSBNs at sea at any given time - should be maintained..."

The above is contradicted by Department of State briefing slides (2015 U.S. National Report to the Nuclear NonProliferation Treaty Review Conference) which state in part that "...U.S. nuclear forces are not on hair-trigger alert..."

Given the strained relations that prevailed with Russia since President Vladimir Putin was re-elected on 05/07/12, and given the provisions of the CY2010 NPR cited above, it was inconceivable that the USA was not in a position to react immediately if subjected to a nuclear threat by Russia.

This promise was not fulfilled.
The Promise: "...will seek deep, verifiable reductions in all U.S. and Russian nuclear weapons - whether deployed or non-deployed, whether strategic or non-strategic..."
When/Where: Obama Campaign Document "A 21st Century Military for America" dated 11/26/07.
Status:When the original START I Treaty expired on 12/05/09 under President Obama's watch, the U.S. lost its ability to "boots on the ground" verify Russia's nuclear capabilities of approximately 2,500 nuclear missiles. Also on 12/05/09 and as a further detriment to U.S. national security, Russia stopped its notifications to the State Department Nuclear Risk Reduction Center on inspections, movement ground-based and airborne nuclear capabilities, and destruction of launchers.

The "New START" Treaty was concluded between the USA and Russia on 04/08/10 in Prague. It was ratified by the U.S. Senate on 12/22/10 and the Russian Government on 01/28/11. It provides for extensive exchanges of data on the numbers, locations and technical features of nuclear weapon systems and facilities -- including the telemetry on up to 5 ICBM and SLBM launches per year. Under the Treaty, both parties have to share information on treaty-limited items and Russia will have to provide the USA with notifications on the movements and production of their long-range missiles and launchers.

New in this treaty was that for the first time, both parties would record and share unique identifiers on all Inter-Continental Balistic Missiles (ICBMs), Submarine-Launched Balistic Missiles (SLBMs), and heavy bombers covered under the treaty - not just mobile missiles as in the previous treaty. These unique identifiers (serial numbers) would enable both sides to track both deployed and non-deployed missiles, minimizing the potential for violating the provisions of the "New START" treaty, which called for a bilateral reduction of nuclear warheads to 1,550.

Further verifications would be assured through 18 annual on-site, short-notice inspection of Russian operating bases, storage facilities, test ranges, and conversion and elimination facilities.

However, Russia announced on 06/16/15 that it was adding 40 new ICBMs to its arsenal, missiles that it reported would be able to overcome "the most technically sophisticated missile defense systems." In the aftermath of Russia's annexation of the Crimean Peninsula in 03/14, this was tangible evidence that Russia would not sit back as NATO shored up its defenses.

Nonetheless, President Obama's promise to "seek deep, verifiable reductions in all U.S. and Russian nuclear weapons" was fulfilled.
The Promise: "...will set a goal to expand the U.S.-Russian ban on intermediate-range missiles so that the agreement is global."
When/Where: Obama and Biden's Plan for America: "Blueprint for Change," dated 10/09/08.
Status:Intermediate-Range Ballistic Missiles (IRBM) are those that can travel 1,865 to 3,420 miles (3,000 to 5,500 kilometers). In CY1987, the USA and Russia signed an Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty that called for the elimination of all nuclear and conventional ground-launched ballistic and cruise missiles held by both countries that have a range of 500 to 5,500 km. IRBMs fall within these ranges.

Germany, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia and the Czech Republic destroyed their IRBMs in the 1990's, followed by Bulgaria in CY2002. By end-CY2016, Russia and the USA had been joined in the INF Treaty by Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Ukraine.

On 07/28/14, President Obama informed Russian President Vladimir Putin that Russia had violated the INF Treaty. The US said Russia tested a new ground-launched cruise missile, possibly the Novator 9M729 (NATO nomenclature SSC-8). The first launch of this missile occurred on 09/02/15.

In 05/16, the USA started Aegis launch operations at Deveselu, Romania, while building another land-based Aegis launch facility near Redzikowo, Poland for CY2018 activation. Russia objected to this development, stating that the activation of such European missile defense shields violated the INF Treaty, despite U.S. assurances that the shields in Romania and Poland were to defend Europe from an unpredictable foe such as Iran. Russia countered by legitimately arguing that the MK-41 Vertical Launch System utilized by the Aegis missile system could easily be retrofitted to fire cruise missiles against Russia.

On the other hand, Russia was also suspected of having developed and flight-tested the R-500 (aka Iskander-K), a Ground-Launched Cruise Missile (GLCM) with a range estimated at between 500-3,000 km. That range was well within the Prohibited Range prescribed by the INF and the R-500 was therefore in violation of the INF. In its "2016 Report on Adherence to and Compliance With Arms Control, Nonproliferation, and Disarmament Agreements and Commitments" dated 04/11/16, the Department of State acknowledged that "Russia was in violation of its obligations under the INF Treaty not to possess, produce, or flight-test a ground-launched cruise missile (GLCM) with a range capability of 500 km to 5,500 km, or to possess or produce launchers of such missiles."

A global ban on INF missiles would have potentially removed missiles held by countries unfriendly to the USA such as Iran and North Korea. At the same time, however, it would have eliminated IRBMs from allies that need them for self-preservation such as Israel.

China (DF-4/CSS-3), India (Agni-III and K-4), Iran (BM-25/Musudan), Pakistan (Ghauri-3), Israel, and North Korea (Taepo Dong-2) still possessed IRBMs as of end-CY2016.

There was no expansion of the INF Treaty during President Obama's two terms in office. Rather, starting during the Bush Administration and lasting throughout the 8-year Obama Administration, Russia resumed production, testing and launching of intermediate-range conventional and nuclear missiles in contravention of the CY1987 INF Treaty.

This promise was not fulfilled.
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