Grand Strategy needed before Pentagon spending boost

June 12, 2017

WASHINGTON, DC—TODAY, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joe Dunford will testify before the the House Armed Services Committee. They will then testify before the Senate Armed Services Committee on Tuesday, the Senate Appropriations defense subcommittee on Wednesday, and the House Appropriations defense subcommittee on Thursday. They will explain President Trump's proposal for $574 billion in base budget funding and $64 billion for Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) funding for fiscal year 2018.

Throughout these scheduled testimonies, we urge Mattis and Dunford to explain how the increase in Pentagon spending supports our overall grand strategy by answering the following questions:

  1. Will our allies take more responsibility for their own security, as President Trump has demanded? How can this administration get them to do so?

  2. How does President Trump set priorities for advancing America's national security?

  3. What's the strategy underlying the proposed level of defense spending?

  4. When will the administration share its plan for conducting national security policies with Congress?

At Defense Priorities, we believe that a secure and prosperous America requires a realistic grand strategy and updated defense and related policies for the modern world. An effective national security strategy must ensure that defense funds are spent efficiently to achieve strategic goals in coordination with other tools of statecraft and alongside allies and partners abroad.

The overall budget, in which defense is a declining share, must also be sustainable. As former Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Adm. Michael Mullen once said, the greatest threat to America’s national security is our debt. Defense Priorities could not agree more.