OpEd on Smarter Pentagon Spending by Generals Robert Gard and John Johns

Spend Smarter, Not More

This week, the government will run out of expenditure authority, but Congress is working to advance actual spending bills before the Wednesday deadline.

Our nation needs an open dialogue about government spending, especially on U.S. military programs that damage our national security by ballooning the national debt.

In January of 2012, President Obama released a new National Military Strategy designed to implement the revised 2010 National Security Strategy, both of which we believe are fundamentally sound. The 2010 NSS, in a broad redefinition of national security, stated that the United States must revitalize its economic, moral and innovative strength if we are to continue in a world leadership role.

The revised military strategy cited the country’s dire budget problems that necessitate more modest foreign policy goals and made a clear break in emphasizing working with the international community, over unilateral action, to seek global stability. While it did stress the need to maintain military superiority, it declared that we must be more restrained in employing military force. As a result, we’ll be able to ensure our security with smaller conventional ground forces, rid ourselves of outdated Cold War-era military systems and invest in the capabilities we need for the future with smaller defense budgets.

Pentagon spending is slated for a trillion-dollar belt-tightening over a decade as a result of the Budget Control Act of 2011. The sequestration provisions for nonsensical across-the-board cuts have already been modified to allow greater flexibility in targeting spending reductions. Before the recent holiday recess, Congress gave the Pentagon a potential two-year sequestration reprieve with the Ryan-Murray budget deal and created the opportunity for a real congressional debate about how the Pentagon spends taxpayer dollars.

Read the full OpEd here.