Advancing a Free Society

Deficit is Greatest Security Threat

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Further cuts to defense spending probably are necessary, both politically and arithmetically, to make substantial progress toward eliminating deficit spending and reducing our federal debt. Our indebtedness is the greatest national security vulnerability America has, and we can afford to accept greater risk in the short-term (the coming several years) in order to put our country on solid financial footing.

Our military is the world's finest by a substantial margin. While a relatively small force, it is battle-hardened, amazingly innovative, and has top-of-the-line equipment. At least in the short term, we have information dominance, air supremacy, mastery of the spectrum of operations from counterinsurgency to the highest intensity operations. Defense spending has doubled in the past decade. Our margin for error is very wide.

Defense has already been cut significantly. Two years ago, Secretary Gates worked with Service Chiefs to identify $100 billion in money that could be redirected from current plans to new priorities. Instead of allowing those funds to remain in DoD, the White House confiscated it, along with an additional $78 billion. President Obama's FY2012 budget envisioned cutting $400 billion across 12 years; the Budget Control Act expanded that to $450 billion within 10 years. All this DOD has said it could accommodate.

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