Election 2012: Informing the national security agenda: The U.S. national security budget

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Post-Event Summary
On Tuesday, AEI, the Center for a New American Security (CNAS) and the New America Foundation (NAF) joined to discuss an issue that will undoubtedly face the next administration: U.S. defense spending in the context of American grand strategy. Former under secretary of defense for policy Michèle Flournoy predicted that the “sequester” mechanism — which would draw at least $500 billion from the defense budget — will be addressed in the upcoming U.S. presidential elections. Flournoy also described the inflection point the U.S. faces because of the world’s changing strategic climate and the impact today’s decisions will have in years to come.

David Barno of CNAS then sketched the budgetary environment in which defense decisions are increasingly made, observing that using more limited budgets to maximize defense will be necessary. NAF’s Michael Waltz called for reforming the U.S. arms export regime in order to maintain American jobs in the arms sector and to keep programs alive.

Tom Donnelly of AEI posed the question of whether it is possible to retain U.S. military power given trends toward a social democratic state.  He likewise contended that the challenge of the last decade has not been the quality of U.S. armed forces, but rather their quantity.

The next event in this series — taking place on July 17th at the New America Foundation — will consider U.S. foreign policy in the greater Middle East.


Event Description

On Tuesday, May 15, join the American Enterprise Institute, the Center for a New American Security and the New America Foundation to discuss an issue sure to face the next administration: U.S. defense spending in light of American grand strategy. With the “sequestration” mechanism set to cut at least $500 billion from the Department of Defense, on top of budget reductions in recent years, discussants will consider how these cuts could affect defense policy. Former Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Michèle Flournoy will provide introductory remarks.

This event continues a unique collaboration among these institutions in the presidential campaign season, "Election 2012: Informing the National Security Agenda." Past conversations covered the U.S. role in the world and policy in East Asia, and a later event will consider U.S. relations with the greater Middle East.

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