29 November 2010

Contact: Christopher Hellman, (703) 945-3950 cell


defense issues backgrounder on the final report of the president's

national commission on fiscal responsibility and reform


The National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform is expected to release its final report on Wednesday, 1 December 2010.  In anticipation of the upcoming release, the Project on Defense Alternatives has prepared this compilation of background materials relevant to the defense budget component of the Commission’s findings.  The Project on Defense Alternatives is a member of the Sustainable Defense Task Force.


Included you will find:

       Deficit and Defense Reduction Plans

       Expert & leadership letters on defense spending to the National Commission

       Relevant congressional testimony

       Assessment of the political dynamics around defense budget reductions

       Policy analysis on defense spending and reductions

       Graphic presentations of relevant data

       Video coverage of relevant presentations

       Expert Contacts for Media


Deficit and Defense Reduction Plans


   Debt, Deficits and Defense: A Way Forward.

Sustainable Defense Task Force, June 2010

short summary

editorial support


   Co-Chairs Bowles-Simpson Draft Proposal, President's National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility & Reform, 10 Nov 2010


   America's Fiscal Defense Crisis. Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK). Defense Industry Daily, 27 May 2010.

   Restoring America's Future (“Rivlin-Domenici” plan)

   Choosing Defense Mission Priorities, Stimson Center

   Report by Commission Member Rep. Jan Schakowsky

  Toward Common Ground: Bridging the Political Divide to Reduce Spending. US Public Interest Research Group and the National Taxpayers Union.

  Investing in America’s Economy: A Budget Blueprint for Economic Recovery & Fiscal Responsibility. Demos, Economic Policy Institute, and the Century Fund, 29 Nov 2010.

  Getting Back in the Black. Peterson-Pew Commission on Budget Reform, 10 Nov 2010

Full Report


   How the Various Plans Compare: The Defense Budget and the Deficit. Winslow T. Wheeler, CounterPunch, 26-28 Nov 2010


   Interactive Budget Puzzle: You Fix the Budget, New York Times, 13 Nov 2010


Letters to the Commission on Defense Spending


    Experts Letter on Defense Spending, Coalition for a Realistic Foreign Policy and Project on Defense Alternatives, 18 Nov 2010

    Defense Reformers’ Letter, Center for Defense Information

    Frank-Paul Letter with 55 Congressional Co-signers, October 13, 2010


Congressional Testimony


Rethinking our Defense Budget, House Subcommittee on National Security and Foreign Affairs, 20 July 2010.

    Carl Conetta, Project on Defense Alternatives

    Benjamin Friedman, Cato Institute

    Todd Harrison, Ctr for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments

    Gary Schmitt, American Enterprise Institute

    Gordon Adams, Stimson Center



   DoD Budget Authority, 1948-2019

  DOD Budget Authority, 1997-2019, with and without contingency operations

  Gross Federal Debt as % GDP, 1940-2019

  Percentage Shares Global Military Spending, 1986 and 2008


Political Assessments


   Rift looming on the right over need to cut defense budget. Jennifer Rizzo. CNN, 19 Nov 2010.

   More Calls for Pentagon Cuts. William D. Hartung, TPM Café, 18 Nov 2010.

   Deficit Cutters Reject Gates on Shielding Defense Budget. Tony Capaccio. Bloomberg News, 12 Nov 2010

   The Pentagon Would Take $100 Billion Hit. Nathan Hodge. Wall Street Journal, 11 Nov 2010.

   Defense Spending Cuts for a New Congress? Not So Fast. David Wood, Politics Daily, 7 November 2010

   As the Armed Services Committee Turns. Laura Peterson. Taxpayers for Common Sense, 4 Nov 2010.

   Divided and Conquer? The GOP and the Defense Budget. Heather Hurlburt. The Democratic Strategist, 23 Sept 2010.



Policy Analysis


   The Fiscal Commission and Defense. Todd Harrison. Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, 23 Nov 2010.

   Don't look at Pentagon budget to cut back on federal spending. James Jay Carafano. Washington Examiner, 22 Nov 2010.

   Defense Must Fall, But Weapons Cuts Will Have Consequences. Loren Thompson. Lexington Institute, 19 Nov 2010

   Gates Warns Against Defense Cuts. WSJ Ceo Council blog, 16 Nov 2010.

   Defending Defense: Setting the Record Straight on US Military Spending Requirements. Heritage Foundation, American Enterprise Institute, and Foreign Policy Initiative, 13 October 2010

   Defense – New Realities, Innovative Response: Opportunities for contractors in a shifting global marketplace. Deloitte LLP, 27 September 2010.

   Strong and Sustainable: How to Reduce Military Spending While Keeping Our Nation Safe. Lawrence J. Korb, Laura Conley. Center for American Progress, 23 Sept 2010.

   Budgetary Savings from Military Restraint. Ben Friedman and Christopher Preble. Cato Institute, 21 Sept 2010.

   Get Ready for Another Debate Over Pegging Defense Spending to GDP. Josh Rogin., 27 August 2010.

   A Unified Security Budget for the United States, FY 2011. Lawrence Korb and Miriam Pemberton, Foreign Policy in Focus, 12 Aug 2010.

   Why Defense Matters For Deficit Reduction. Peter G. Peterson Foundation, 12 July 2010

  The Dynamics of Defense Budget Growth, 1998-2011. Carl Conetta. Project on Defense Alternatives, 1 June 2010

   The New Guns Versus Butter Debate. Todd Harrison. Ctr for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, May 2010

  The Pentagon's Runaway Budget. Carl Conetta. Foreign Policy in Focus, 3 March 2010.




   C-SPAN video of the Sustainable Defense Task Force report release briefing hosted by Rep. Barney Frank, 11 June 2010.

  Pentagon Budget Cuts on the Table. Rachel Maddow. MSNBC, 11 Nov 2010.

   Deficits and Defense: A Cato Institute Policy Forum. Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA); Loren Thompson, Lexington Institute; and Ben Friedman, Cato Institute. 12 Nov 2010.


media response team

Gordon Adams, Distinguished Fellow,

Stimson Center

(202) 464-2673

[email protected]

Carl Conetta, Co-Director,

Project on Defense Alternatives

(o) 301-493-8769

[email protected]

William D. Hartung, Director, Arms and Security Initiative, New America Foundation

(o) 212.421.5808, (c) 212.678.2356

[email protected]

Christopher Hellman, Communications Liaison, National Priorities Project

(o) 413.584.9556, (c) 703.945.3950

[email protected]

Lawrence J. Korb, Senior Fellow, Center for American Progress

(o) 202.478.6353, (c) 703.307.4394

[email protected]

Charles Knight, Co-Director,

Project on Defense Alternatives

(o) 617.547.4474, (c) 781.879.0190

[email protected]

Laicie Olson, Senior Policy Analyst, Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation

(o) 202.546.0795 x2105, (c) 240-409-2979

[email protected]

Laura Peterson, Senior Policy Analyst,

Taxpayers for Common Sense


[email protected]

Christopher A. Preble, Director,

Foreign Policy Studies, Cato Institute


[email protected]

Winslow T. Wheeler, Director, Straus Military Reform Project, Center for Defense Information


[email protected]

Benjamin H. Friedman, Research Fellow

Cato Institute


[email protected]




Christopher Hellman, Communications Liaison

National Priorities Project

243 King Street, Suite 109

Northampton, MA 01060

(413) 584-9556

[email protected]


Carl Conetta, Co-director

Project on Defense Alternatives

Washington DC office
[email protected]