National Security Network

defense spending

defense spending

Military

Budget Day

Report 14 February 2011
Today sees both the announcement of the 2012 defense budget as well as Defense Secretary Robert Gates' attempt to lay down a line on what he wants - and what he doesn't want - in the 2011 defense budget still being debated by Congress.  Given the depth of concern expressed by bipartisan political, military and national security leaders about the nation's fiscal health - from current Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Mike Mullen and past chair Colin Powell, to House Majority Leader Cantor (R-VA) and Minority Whip Hoyer (D-MD) - the 2012 budget leaves much room for further cuts.  On top of this, the GOP's latest proposal for the 2011 Continuing Resolution leaves Defense almost untouched.  Experts from both sides of the aisle agree that if Congress is serious about reigning in spending, everything must be on the table, including defense spending.  But the Tea Party and establishment conservatives have yet to agree on a vision of U.S. security policy that matches up to sensible funding cuts, punting on the difficult decisions that the country is facing.
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Military

Budget Battles

Report 26 January 2011
 

Last night in his State of the Union address President Obama said "the only way to tackle our deficit is to cut excessive spending wherever we find it - in domestic spending, defense spending, health care spending, and spending through tax breaks and loopholes." He went on to note that, "The Secretary of Defense has also agreed to cut tens of billions of dollars in spending that he and his generals believe our military can do without." In short, this is no time for "sacred cows." Bipartisan political and military leaders - led by former Secretary of State Colin Powell -  agree that making smart cuts to defense spending are essential for ensuring American national security. Smart cuts take into account strategy and what Secretary Gates calls the "critical role" of civilian agencies, whether stabilizing Pakistan, training police in Afghanistan or supporting civil society in Tunisia.

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Military

NSN Statement on the Fiftieth Anniversary of President Eisenhower's Farewell Address

Press Release Washington, D.C. 18 January 2011
Today marks fifty years since President Dwight Eisenhower delivered the farewell address which famously warned against the "unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex." But the whole of the speech delivers a message that is equally contemporary and challenging, whether warning against "a recurring temptation to feel that some spectacular and costly action could become the miraculous solution to all current difficulties," or calling for diplomacy that will enable us to "learn how to compose differences, not with arms, but with intellect and decent purpose."
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Military

Gates’ Opening Salvo in “Massive, Almost Historic Battle”

Report 6 January 2011
 

Today Defense Secretary Gates will announce $100 billion in efficiency savings for the Pentagon.  The announcement targets defense programs with high cost-over runs and performance issues.  But it also represents a first test of Washington's political will - whether Republicans, Democrats and Tea Partiers alike are prepared to match "everything on the table" rhetoric with a serious, responsible effort to balance the threats of today with those of tomorrow and meet our military contributions with those from our diplomatic and development communities.  Conservative strategist Richard Vigurie has called the debate over the national debt "a massive, almost historic battle for the heart and soul of the Republican Party."  But it extends beyond partisanship, as Adm. Michael Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has reminded us: "the single-biggest threat to our national security is our debt." 

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Terrorism & National Security

Principled and Pragmatic: Opportunities for the 112th Congress

Report 3 January 2011
As newly elected officials arrive in Washington to be sworn-in, serious national security issues await the 112th Congress.  But perhaps unexpectedly, where a political lens sees conflict, an expert lens shows substantial agreement around principled, pragmatic policy choices.  2011 will mark a significant milestone for the war in Afghanistan, as experts coalesce around an effective, sustainable exit strategy.  While some seek to debate counterterrorism strategies, practitioners agree on a comprehensive approach that brings the fight to terrorists, hews to our Constitution and denies terrorists the propaganda victory they seek.  Congress can bring bipartisan debt-cutting zeal to a leaner, modernized defense budget.  And as senior military officials have warned, dealing with Iran will demand bipartisan subtlety and restraint, lest we cement Iran's determination to acquire the bomb and destroy the beginnings of political reform within the country. 
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Military

Incoming: Scrutiny of the Pentagon Budget

News The New Republic 10 November 2010
Military

Conservatives Clash over Defense Spending

Report 5 October 2010

Yesterday's Wall Street Journal op-ed by leaders of the top three conservative think tanks attempts to reimpose conservative orthodoxy on an issue - defense spending - that has sharply divided conservatives in recent months.  Against the backdrop of a slowly recovering economy and a globalizing world, thoughtful military leaders - and some political leaders from both parties - are stressing that our military might flows from our economic power, not the other way around.  Secretary Gates has frequently invoked the words of President Dwight D. Eisenhower, who said that the United States "could only be as militarily strong as it was economically dynamic and fiscally sound."  He has called on the military to align its spending with the actual challenges we face, and to make a new, serious push against waste, fraud and inefficiency.

With a commitment to use all elements of our power, not just our armed forces, those ought to be principles for bipartisan agreement.  Instead, the conservative movement's Cold War-era leaders are mounting a rearguard action that would actually increase defense spending and make its current, historically high levels permanent - regardless of the challenges we face or the state of our economy. One conservative strategist called this intra-party debate "a massive, almost historic battle for the heart and soul of the Republican Party."  It also represents a test of seriousness for anyone seeking responsibility for America's security and economic health at this troubled time.

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Military

Delivering on Defense Budget Reform

Report 10 May 2010
Common sense and discipline are the historic values to which American Presidents have aspired when providing for the common defense.  In an address at the Eisenhower Library in Kansas, Defense Secretary Robert Gates spoke about the urgent need to return to those qualities, after years in which Pentagon spending spiraled out of control.  Gates's speech comes against the backdrop of concern with the state of the American economy, mounting calls from Congress and budget experts for fiscal discipline, and recognition from the Obama administration and outside experts of the need to rebalance the contributions of defense, diplomacy and development to American national security. 
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Military

Gen. Paul Eaton Praises Senate for Stripping F-22 from Defense Authorization

Press Release 21 July 2009
Today, General Paul Eaton (Ret.), who this week joined the National Security Network as a Senior Adviser, reacted to the Senate removing nearly $2 billion in funding to build seven new F-22 Raptors from the Defense Authorization legislation: "In stripping $1.75 billion in funds to build seven more F-22 Raptors from the Defense Authorization bill, the Senate has brought our military spending one step closer to matching America's military priorities for the 21st century."
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