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 [email protected] or through [email protected]

For help reaching any AEI scholars and for all other media requests, please contact Jesse Blumenthal at [email protected] (202.862.4870).

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