The sequester—Washington’s mindless across the board budget cuts—is here. Pentagon leaders have until now taken the easy way out by targeting two pots of money for the biggest hits: modernization and readiness. Modernization is the military’s investment in the future, while readiness pays for a healthy force today. While the automatic cuts are not saving substantial sums of money, if they are going to hit defense spending, they need to hit the right targets. Will President Obama allow that and will the Pentagon meet the challenge?
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President Obama and Congress have delayed sequestration by two months, but only by actually stopping defense sequestration will the United States avoid being thrown off the strategic cliff.
As commander-in-chief, President Obama has the prerogative to define U.S. defense strategy downward. But he does not have the prerogative to define defense facts. And he certainly should not hide behind the Joint Chiefs of Staff when he does so.
The Obama administration's recent report on how it would slash nearly $500 billion more from national defense over the next decade leaves lawmakers, the military, the defense industry, and the American public largely in the dark about the consequences of these massive spending cuts.
The Defending Defense Coalition brings together the Foreign Policy Initiative, AEI and the Heritage Foundation to promote a sound understanding of the U.S. defense budget and the resource requirements to sustain America’s preeminent global military position.
The question of how best to reduce America’s federal debt and annual budget deficits will remain a contentious issue. Yet surely both Democrats and Republicans can agree that the men and women of the U.S. Armed Forces—and the defense industrial base that provides them the cutting-edge tools they need to keep the country safe—should not be held hostage to politics.