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Blog: Debt, Deficits, and Defense

Jul 01, 2010 | By Jean Sammon

It seems like all we hear these days from members of Congress is that we have to cut our federal budget deficit, and that means we don't have any money to spend on things like unemployment benefits, healthcare, food programs, housing, and education. But one thing that has remained sacred is the military budget.

Fortunately, there are now some members of Congress who are pointing out that we can achieve cost savings in our military budget while still meeting our legitimate security needs. Representatives Barney Frank (D-MA), Walter Jones (R-NC), and Ron Paul (R-TX), and Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) are leading this movement.

In a briefing at the Capitol in June, Rep. Frank introduced members of a Sustainable Defense Task Force who recently produced a report "Debt, Deficits, & Defense: A Way Forward" which shows how we could save up to $960 billion in defense spending over the next 10 years.

Members of the Task Force pointed out that our national strength does not just come from the Pentagon, and that financial stability is a national security imperative. Defense accounts for 65% of the growth in discretionary spending since 2001, and we will not be able to control deficits and debt without cutting the unncessary items from the Pentagon budget.

Rep. Frank said he thought the top three places to find savings in the military budget are troops in Europe, nuclear weapons, and missile defense. Others mentioned reducing forces in Japan and reducing weapons that "over-match or mis-match" our threats.

You can find the full report from the task force at: http://www.comw.org/pda/fulltext/1006SDTFreport.pdf.