Defense: What We Spent, What We Wasted, & What We Need

Tomorrow, the Pentagon will begin to reveal plans to cut $500 billion over the next ten years. In a new report and a Wall Street Journal op-ed, American Enterprise Institute (AEI) defense expert Mackenzie Eaglen explains that:

  • President Obama’s forthcoming 2013 defense budget will surely kill what little is left of the US military’s modernization agenda. The administration presumes that money spent equals better capabilities.


"Amid shrinking budgets, Washington has decided that 40-year old programs will suffice. It’s true in business and it’s true in war. Innovate or die."

  • In fact, bigger defense budgets after 2001 did little to increase the US military’s cutting-edge capabilities. The money needed to fight the wars did anything to increase the U.S. military’s cutting-edge capabilities. These funding increases came at the expense of tomorrow.


"The traditional margins of American technological superiority are declining across the services and domains. Those margins—too often taken for granted as a birthright—have helped uphold the implicit contract most Americans have had with the all-volunteer military and ensured our forces were never in a “fair fight.” That contract no longer exists. . . We’ve mortgaged the future to pay for the wars of today and yesterday in the Middle East."


Mackenzie Eaglen is a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and has worked on defense issues on Capitol Hill and at the Pentagon. She is available for interviews and can be reached at mackenzie.eaglen@aei.org or through charles.morrison@aei.org.

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About the Author

 

Mackenzie
Eaglen
  • Mackenzie Eaglen has worked on defense issues in the U.S. Congress, both House and Senate, and at the Pentagon in the Office of the Secretary of Defense and on the Joint Staff. She specializes in defense strategy, budget, military readiness and the defense industrial base. In 2010, Ms. Eaglen served as a staff member of the congressionally mandated Quadrennial Defense Review Independent Panel, a bipartisan, blue-ribbon commission established to assess the Pentagon's major defense strategy. A prolific writer on defense related issues, she has also testified before Congress.


     


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  • Phone: (202) 862-7183
    Email: mackenzie.eaglen@aei.org
  • Assistant Info

    Name: Charles Morrison
    Phone: (202) 862-5945
    Email: charles.morrison@aei.org

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