The Pentagon Must Spend Its Money Better, Not Just More of It

By Daniel DePetris

Too many in Washington believe that the bigger the Pentagon budget is, the safer the United States will be.  This frame-of-mind, however, only provides lawmakers with an excuse to continue their addiction to lavish spending.  

As former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Admiral Mike Mullen has said, the biggest national security threat to the U.S. is not any one foreign adversary or competitor, but rather the country’s massive federal debt.  In order to address this problem, the political establishment needs to right-size spending to support a foreign policy the U.S. needs instead of the one it wants.

At $716 billion, the U.S. spends more on the military than the next 11 countries combined.  The Pentagon already has enough resources to keep America secure.  What it needs is smarter policies, not more money. 

That means an end to counterinsurgency and nation-building operations in the Middle East; shuttering defense infrastructure the Pentagon no longer uses; efficient investments in research and technology to prepare for a return to great power rivalry; and a more restrained foreign policy that relies on all sources of America’s strength rather than just the military.

The status-quo is not affordable.  Washington can combat the debt crisis and resource the world’s strongest military at the same time.

Daniel DePetris is a fellow at Defense Priorities.

This Letter to the Editor was originally published by The Wall Street Journal on March 21, 2019. Read more HERE.