National Security Network

defense spending

defense spending

Military

Defaulting on American Power

Report 14 July 2011
The debt default showdown in the U.S. is reaching new heights as the latest negotiating session yesterday evening ended in heightened tension. Meanwhile Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke warned yesterday of a “huge financial calamity” if the debt ceiling is not increased. And the Moody’s rating agency’s threat of a credit downgrade highlights the real consequences of failing to pay America’s bills. This is not only an economic issue. Republicans and Democrats, Bernanke, and America's credit rating agencies have all warned about the dire consequences of defaulting on our nation's debt. America’s power and role in the world is based off of its economic strength. Further, these dangerous games hardly serve as a good advertisement for the American model of democracy and effective governance as many countries around the world reconsider their models. We should not be playing games with American power.
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Military

“Strategy Wears a Dollar Sign”

Report 11 July 2011
With budget talks stalled and ambitions shrinking, it’s time for bipartisan agreement that defense spending, 55 percent of all discretionary spending and more than double what it was ten years ago, shares in the cuts. As Adm. Mullen has said, policymakers need to answer hard questions about military strategy, matching our means to our ends and securing our economic and national security.
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Military

Conservatives Offer up Defense Cuts

Report 27 June 2011
Intense efforts are underway to avoid defaulting on the nation’s debt. The talks are now focused on the largest single element of discretionary spending, one which has nearly doubled in the last decade: the defense budget. According to the Washington Post, an increasing number of conservatives agree with the president that reforms to defense spending must be part of the overall solution to reducing the national debt. This shift comes as the public questions how America’s military commitments abroad are paying off—something President Obama acknowledged in his speech last week when he announced the withdrawal of the surge troops in Afghanistan. “America, it is time to focus on nation building here at home,” he said. Leon Panetta will soon take over as secretary of defense amid a review of roles and missions, requiring that as we rethink budgets and spending, we also rethink the strategy that determines how and where America uses its military. Panetta will also be forced to deal with a Congress that says it wants to reduce spending, but still funds unwanted programs that several defense secretaries before him have tried to weed out.
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Military

Korb & Stokes: We need a weapons 'BRAC'

News The Baltimore Sun 15 June 2011
Military

Hurlburt: Peace Is Our Profession

News Democracy Journal 14 June 2011
Terrorism & National Security

Challenges for the Next SecDef

Report 8 June 2011
Leon Panetta’s confirmation hearings for Secretary of Defense begin as the Pentagon – and our core security and defense objectives – face significant transition. Solid ground has been gained in the in the fight against al Qaeda. Osama bin Laden and other terrorist leaders have been killed, their networks have been disrupted and experts assess the continuing threat to be “real, but not catastrophic.” Meanwhile America’s military, which has fought admirably for a decade, remains engaged in multiple wars and is in need of a sustainable strategy. Budgetary pressures and the demand for stronger civilian partners demand a strategic long-term review and hard choices about role and mission. This is an important time for effective leadership at the Pentagon.
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Military

HASC and Deficit Reductions: The Enemy Is Us

Report 12 May 2011
 

Responsible leaders from both parties recognize that defense cuts must be part of a deficit reduction package. As Deputy Defense Secretary William J. Lynn explained yesterday, "The defense budget alone cannot solve our deficit crisis. But it's hard to envision an overall solution - either economically or politically - that does not include some contribution from the 20 percent of government spending that goes toward defense." Yesterday the lack of coherent House leadership on the issue again came to the fore. While the House Appropriations Committee passed a budget including modest Pentagon cuts, the House Armed Services Committee was busy adding back programs the Pentagon doesn't want and relitigating policy issues - from "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" to nuclear reductions to the scope of the military response to terrorism - which are ideological distractions from the pragmatic business of building a lean, effective military and getting our economy moving again.

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Military

Money and Strategy, Strategy and Money

Report 19 April 2011
 

Standard and Poor's decision to downgrade the U.S. long-term credit outlook highlights how much is at stake in the budget debate. Bipartisan experts agree that no effort to tackle the debt is serious unless it includes defense spending, which is at a high in real terms since the end of the Cold War.  A serious review includes not just "efficiency" savings but also a review of strategy, roles and missions - recognizing that, as defense expert Gordon Adams notes, "Money has always driven strategy and strategy has always influenced money."

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Military

The 2012 Budget Battle Over Defense Spending

Report 6 April 2011
 

As a potential government shutdown looms, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), chairman of the House Budget Committee, yesterday released a budget proposal for the 2012 fiscal year. Ryan's proposal fails to recognize that America's ability to project power and advance our security is derived from our economic well-being and that the cuts being proposed to key investments in America, as well as to our development and diplomatic assets, will undercut our strength. While bipartisan experts agree that cuts to the defense budget should go further, ironically, when it comes to the Pentagon, Ryan's proposal essentially endorses the president's budget request. This has caused deep division among conservatives by pitting those who have called for arbitrary increases in defense spending against Ryan, meaning that conservative infighting will continue to rage over these proposals. While the broader budget debate will be intense, it is clear that the president's coherent vision for defense spending has opened up a debate among his conservative critics, demonstrating that they do not have such coherence.

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