Top General Takes 'Umbrage' at GOP Candidate Claims Military is 'Gutted'

PHOTO: U.S. Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Air Force Gen. Paul Selva testifies during a hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee, Dec. 9, 2015 in Washington, DC.Alex Wong/Getty Images
U.S. Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Air Force Gen. Paul Selva testifies during a hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee, Dec. 9, 2015 in Washington, DC.

A top-ranking American general said he takes “umbrage with the notion that our military has been gutted,” a claim made by several Republican presidential candidates on the campaign trail.

While releasing details Tuesday about the Obama administration’s $582.7 billion defense budget request for 2017, Air Force Gen. Paul Selva, the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, was asked about claims.

“I won’t be argumentative but I will take umbrage with the notion that our military has been gutted,” said Selva.

“I stand here today a person that’s worn this uniform for 35 years," he added. “At no time in my career have I been more confident than this instant in saying we have the most powerful military on the face of the planet."

Selva acknowledged that the military has faced challenges for the past 15 years in terms of its ability to perform other missions while countering a “violent extremist terrorist thread of threats."

“That consumes the readiness of our force to do the other tasks that we are given as part of our mission,” said Selva. “Recovering that readiness is a challenge that each of the services will face, but I would say we are far from gutted.”

Selva praised each of the U.S. military services as the best on the planet.

“I don’t engage in politics,” said Selva. "This is the reality of the men and women that serve in our Army, our Navy, our Air Force and our Marine Corps. They’re the best the world has to offer and we’re going to keep them that way.”