Defense authorization should advance efficiency and sound strategy

November 16, 2017
Contact: Eleanor May

WASHINGTON, DC—This week, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) Conference Report with a vote of 356-70. The bill proposes to close the gap between resources and missions by increasing Pentagon spending well above current, historically high levels—beyond President Trump’s request—and far in excess of the defense spending cap for fiscal year 2018. Unless a budget agreement is reached to increase the caps, appropriations consistent with the authorization would trigger across-the-board cuts. While the bill includes modest reforms to improve efficiency, it fails to set strategic priorities or to re-evaluate ongoing missions.

Defense Priorities President Edward King responded to the House passage with the following statement:

"Defense authorization legislation is a chance to modernize America’s defense policies. The modest procurement reforms are welcome, but scarce taxpayer resources continue to be wasted on programs and activities that don’t contribute to the common defense. In addition to having a well-trained and equipped military, the American people deserve a well-run system with missions that are clearly connected to core national security interests: defending America, our prosperity, and our way of life. The U.S. must pursue an effective, realistic foreign policy, focusing on core concerns while abandoning peripheral activities. Failure to make difficult choices betrays both servicemembers who are sent into harm’s way and their fellow citizens at home.

“The NDAA conference report does too little to improve efficiencies at the DoD and fails to meaningfully review and set better priorities among missions and military assignments abroad. We must responsibly fund our military while ensuring that all activities provide value to taxpayers."