National Security Network

Defense Budget

Defense Budget

Military

A New Defense Budget Reality

Report 17 June 2010

 

An intense discussion is underway between the administration and Congress about how Pentagon spending fits within the context of a recovering economy, tightening government spending due to budget deficits, and the development of a 21st century defense strategy.  The need for defense spending reform is deep, and extends beyond even what the Obama administration, despite significant effort, has so far delivered.  Secretary Gates has acknowledged this point, reminding audiences both inside and outside the Pentagon that aligning resources with current security challenges and overall budgetary demands will require "hard choices" in the future. 

 

Congress should take advantage of this opening and take the first step in this process by eliminating funding for wasteful, unwanted defense programs.  With the Defense Authorization bill out of the House and being considered by the Senate, this conversation will intensify in the weeks and months ahead.  In particular, there is likely to be a vigorous debate over the costly alternative engine for the F-35, which the Pentagon has insisted it does not want, but has crept back into the House's defense bill.  Congress is also considering inserting funding for more C-17 cargo planes, which again, the Pentagon does not want. 

An intense discussion is underway between the administration and Congress about how Pentagon spending fits within the context of a recovering economy, tightening government spending due to budget deficits, and the development of a 21st century defense strategy.  The need for defense spending reform is deep, and extends beyond even what the Obama administration, despite significant effort, has so far delivered.  Secretary Gates has acknowledged this point, reminding audiences both inside and outside the Pentagon that aligning resources with current security challenges and overall budgetary demands will require "hard choices" in the future. 

 

Congress should take advantage of this opening and take the first step in this process by eliminating funding for wasteful, unwanted defense programs.  With the Defense Authorization bill out of the House and being considered by the Senate, this conversation will intensify in the weeks and months ahead.  In particular, there is likely to be a vigorous debate over the costly alternative engine for the F-35, which the Pentagon has insisted it does not want, but has crept back into the House's defense bill.  Congress is also considering inserting funding for more C-17 cargo planes, which again, the Pentagon does not want. 

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Military

Follow the money

News Durango Herald News 14 June 2010
Military

Meeting the Challenge of Defense Spending Reform

Report 10 June 2010
An intense discussion is underway between the Administration and Congress about how Pentagon spending fits within the context of a recovering economy, tightening government spending due to budget deficits, and the development of a 21st century defense strategy. With the Defense Authorization bill out of the House and being considered by the Senate, this conversation will intensify in the weeks and months ahead.  In particular, there is likely to be a vigorous discussion over the costly alternative engine for the F-35, which the administration had targeted for elimination, but crept back in House legislation. As the debate unfolds, Congress would do well to remember the strong, bi-partisan support among defense experts and its own Members for reforming military spending.  This consensus will take center-stage tomorrow, with the release of a bi-partisan report from the Sustainable Defense Task Force, formed by House Financial Services Committee Chair Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA).
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Military

Fix the Defense Bill

Report 21 May 2010

Wednesday night the House Armed Services Committee marked up and unanimously passed its version of the defense authorization bill for fiscal year 2011.  This bill is expected to go to the House floor next week and a Senate Armed Services Committee mark-up of the companion bill is also scheduled for next week.  However, during the mark-up process, the committee placed a number of hurdles in the way of crucial administration national security priorities on foreign policy and the defense budget.  For example, it included language harmful to the goal of closing the controversial prison at Guantanamo Bay, despite the fact that military and national security experts agree that keeping it open hampers American national security.  In addition, despite the tight overall budget, the committee inserted funding to continue the development of a second, alternate engine for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter - an expense that the Pentagon has rejected as an "unnecessary luxury," as America's defense budget priorities remain in need of serious reform.  While the overall bill provides a strong basis for achieving American national security goals, it is crucial that Congress pay heed to the bipartisan consensus on these national security issues and that it fixes the bill to achieve America's foreign policy and budgetary priorities.

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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

The wrong manhood test

News Politico 4 February 2010
Military

A Step Toward Rebalancing American Power

Report 1 February 2010
Today's double release of the Obama administration's 2011 budget request and the Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR) represents an opening salvo in the administration's move to establish a fully-integrated approach to national security. These are ambitious goals, particularly at a time when the U.S. is facing unprecedented economic restraints. More broadly, the QDR is a positive step in what must ultimately be a sustained effort to correct an imbalance that saw our diplomatic and development corps wither because of disproportionate emphasis on military solutions. 
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