Long-term U.S. interests in Iraq and Afghanistan require that an American military presence will be maintained in those countries for the foreseeable future, most of the cost of which should be paid for through supplemental appropriations. However, the services have taken advantage of these ostensibly “emergency” war-funding bills to request money for significant non-warrelated projects. DOD should in the future submit appropriations for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan with the baseline request in one consolidated budget. This procedure will allow lawmakers to scrutinize the items from the supplemental and force Congress and DOD leaders to make trade-offs and hard choices when considering the FY 2010-13 defense budget priorities.
Scale back purchases of weapons systems designed for conventional warfare and reorient the force based on the need for greater irregular capabilities. It is too late to make changes in the FY 2009 defense budget, but American taxpayers can save as much as $38.6 billion over the next four years by eliminating weapons systems designed to deal with threats from a bygone era—weapons and programs that are not useful in defending our country from violent extremists or the other threats we now face.
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