CONTACT: ROWAN HUMPHRIES
(MARCH 28—WASHINGTON) The Council for a Livable World is concerned that President Joe Biden’s decision to request $813.3 billion for national defense spending in fiscal year 2023 is driven more by a hasty reaction than a sound critical analysis of just what this nation needs to keep its citizens and allies safe. This request represents a massive $31.3 billion increase over the already excessive 2022 fiscal year defense budget that was just approved by Congress.
Vladimir Putin’s outrageous and illegal invasion of Ukraine should be taken as a signal to build efficient and effective defense capabilities that can make Americans more secure, not simply a rationale for throwing ever more money into an already bloated budget. With inflation already at levels not seen in 40 years, the times call for fiscal discipline, not profligacy. When we already spend more than the next 11 nations combined on national security, including Russia and China, and still feel it is not enough, we should be asking how to spend better, not more.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has demonstrated the weakness of its own military ambition and has demonstrated the effectiveness of two of America’s greatest, but most discounted, tools: diplomacy and economic pressure.
Right now, American diplomacy and economic power are our first line of defense, and we should prioritize the tools that are actually working to keep Americans safe. As Ukraine’s stubborn resistance has proven wrong all the experts who said Russia would topple the government within a week, so too must we realize that investing in new expensive hardware development is no guarantee of military success. The United States already maintains the world’s strongest and most advanced conventional and nuclear forces. Pouring even more money into our military budget without rigorous analysis of what additional security such spending will bring, will likely have little real return. It would be better to invest in the tools that are proving to be so essential right now.
Prioritizing smarter spending as part of an overall national security strategy is not compromising our national defense; rather, it would be spending our money more effectively to meet the real challenges we face today. While the details are still few, we look forward to seeing how President Biden’s budget request and forthcoming Nuclear Posture Review will follow through on his commitments to reduce the role of U.S. nuclear weapons in our national security strategy and to build a more fiscally responsible nuclear and military budget.