Deficit-Buster Proposals Won’t Work Without Changes in U.S. Defense Strategy

Sandra Erwin. National Defense Magazine, 22 November 2010.


“The Defense Department’s biggest weakness is its budget strategy: the absence of strategic choice,” says Gordon Adams, American University professor who authored the defense recommendations in the Domenici-Rivlin proposal that was presented by former Senate Budget Committee Chairman Pete Domenici (R-N.M.) and White House Budget Director under Clinton, Alice Rivlin.

Cutting the defense budget should not be about doing the same with less, Adams says. The reaction to the Simpson-Bowles report, which takes aim at many big-ticket weapon programs and calls for work force reductions, was predictable. Every targeted program or agency, as was seen recently with U.S. Joint Forces Command, is making a case that it is essential to national security, and its supporters already are mobilizing lobbyists and advocacy groups.

The smarter approach would be for the Obama administration and Congress to agree to a scaled-back military strategy, says Adams. “At the end of the day, it’s about policy makers restraining their impulse to use the military in the reckless way it’s been used in the past 20 years,” he says.

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