We Need to Make Targeted Reductions in Defense Spending

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This year, in accordance with the Budget Control Act of 2011, the Obama administration released a plan to reduce projected military spending by $487 billion over the next 10 years as part of an effort to reduce the federal deficit. These reductions are a smart first step to rein in the Pentagon’s $620 billion per year budget, which has increased by 46 percent since 2001 and reached levels that exceed peak military spending during the Cold War.

The $487 billion in proposed cuts, however, come from projected increases in the defense budget. As a result, these “cuts” essentially keep the defense budget steady at its current level, adjusted for inflation, over the next five years, before allowing a return to moderate growth thereafter. In short, the Obama administration has halted the explosive increases in military spending that have occurred since 9/11 but has done nothing to bring the budget down from its current level, which remains near historic highs.

As Congress works to come to an agreement to avoid sequestration and put the country on a more sustainable fiscal path, targeted reductions in defense spending must be part of our budget solution.

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