Increase in Defense Spending — Will It Really Keep Us Safe?

President Obama and Congress are agreeing on something.  Isn’t that great?  It would be if they weren’t agreeing to spend more money that we don’t have.

Tom Coburn and William Ruger wrote about the bipartisan irresponsibility in USA Today:

President Obama had drawn a red line by vetoing the recently passed defense authorization act while clearly stating that he wouldn’t sign another continuing resolution. Instead, he demanded an increase in spending for both domestic and defense spending. Many Democrats and Republicans in Congress shared the president’s view and wanted to break, directly or indirectly, the bipartisan Budget Control Act (BCA) spending caps. Now they are rushing to raise spending and upend a constructive example of bipartisan fiscal restraint — they will likely do so within the week.

The basic problem is that instead of spending more money on defense, we should be spending more wisely.  Spending trends have not changed in over 20 years.  Evaluation of where the expenses are greatest and then making the hard decisions about how to reallocate funds could put the US military forces in a stronger position without increasing the budget.

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Rep. Mac Thornberry, R-Texas, Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, correctly put his finger on the basic problem back in 2014, noting that we need to “get more defense value out of the money we spend.” We’ve had a few successes, including moves to cut headquarters staff, the use of better logistical systems at Air Force depots and in the Air Force’s non-tactical vehicle reduction program.

We all want to be safe.  We all want the military to be able to protect the country when it is threatened.  But when the extra defense spending is used for ancillary items that do nothing to make us safer, we have to ask what can be done to balance the budget and to, at least, stay within the Budget Control Act (BCA) spending caps.