Let's seize the opportunity to take control of defense spending
By Brig. Gen. John Adams (Ret.) - 08/26/11 08:43 AM ETFor far too long the quality of our national security has been judged by the quantity of Pentagonspending and by the size of our armed forces.The truth is, the more we spent like this, the more we have wasted and the less we actuallythought about the meaning of national security. This muscular approach is ill suited for thenational security challenges facing the United States in the 21st Century.Over the past 10 years, the DOD budget increased from $297 billion to $549 billion, notincluding the Overseas Contingency Operations, which alone stands at $159 billion forFY11. Even if we factor in inflation, in an era of constant budget deficits, this rate of spending isunsustainable.Out-of-control defense spending is a major cause for the calamitous state of our overall budget.This threatens the peace and prosperity that responsible national security planning is designed toprotect. We cannot allow the Pentagon to continue to spend exorbitant amounts of moneywithout thought to overall strategy or long-term interests.In the July agreement reached over the federal debt limit resulted in a $350 billion reduction inplanned DOD spending over the next 10 years; with the possibility of a future $500 billion overthe same period.Yet, many of those who benefit from DOD business-as-usual argue that an $850 billionreduction in spending over 10 years would be devastating to our national security.This argument is wrong.This budget debate should not be viewed as a catastrophe for national security; rather, itrepresents an opportunity to seriously review our national security strategy.This is an opportunity to make responsible long-
term decisions about what is in America’s
national security interest.