As the United States inches closer to the August 2 deadline to reach an agreement on the national debt limit, the president and Congress are facing the need to consider spending cuts even in previously untouchable areas of the budget. In order to make the tough choices needed to reduce the deficit and protect the long-term health of our economy, defense spending must be on the table, particularly since the Pentagon’s budget has done much to contribute to our current fiscal woes. Total U.S. defense spending (in inflation-adjusted dollars) has increased so much over the past decade that it reached levels not seen since World War II, when the United States had 12 million people under arms and waged wars on three continents in order to deal with threats to our survival as a democratic nation.
Please join the Center for American Progress for a discussion of the role of defense spending in deficit reduction. This event will serve as the launch for a new CAP paper, "A Return to Responsibility," which examines the defense budget choices of past presidents faced with mounting debts and transitions from war to peacetime budgets. The paper argues that previous defense spending cuts—which have historically been bipartisan in nature—did not compromise U.S. national security or create a hollow military despite claims to the contrary. These examples and our current high level of defense spending make it clear that Congress and the Obama administration are well positioned to make sensible defense cuts that will protect our vital security capabilities abroad while building a stronger economy at home.
Lawrence Korb, Senior Fellow, Center for American Progress
Loren Thompson, Chief Operating Officer, Lexington Institute
Rudy deLeon, Senior Vice President, Center for American Progress