Advancing a Free Society

No security without diplomacy, development

Tuesday, November 29, 2011
US Capitol
Image credit: 
Zoonar/S.Heap, Zoonar

By William J. Perry and Tim Solso

As we write this, the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction inCongress has just ended its efforts to eliminate more than a trillion dollars from the federal budget, without success. This has been an important and difficult task: No nation remains strong with a weak economy. For this reason, we urge Americans to uphold a crucial rule for reducing our deficit while ensuring our nation’s strength. Do not lose sight of Congress‘ vision, which finally placed diplomacy and development in our national security budget alongside defense, homeland security and intelligence. Defunding diplomacy and development would save pennies today and cost millions tomorrow in lost economic opportunities and new security threats.

I have served as a secretary of defense and the chairman and chief executive officer of an Indiana-based Fortune 250 company that is 40,000 strong. Our experience in war and business has taught us that sound strategy must drive our budgetary choices, never the other way round. Simply put, we must not allow short-term political debates to dictate our strategy for protecting America and ensuring our economic strength in a new and challenging century. Our strategy must instead depend on a clear-eyed assessment of the world we face, the challenges and opportunities before us and the tools we will need to control our future.

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