Research: Publications

Defense Sense: Options for National Defense Savings in Fiscal Year 2013

March 23, 2012 | Report

By Charles Knight, Ethan Rosenkranz, Carl Conetta, Christopher Preble, Benjamin H. Friedman

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Today the United States faces an unparalleled fiscal challenge. There is bipartisan support for halting the recent rapid growth in federal debt. And there is a commitment in law to cutting deficit spending by more than $2.1 trillion over ten years. Yet, national leaders remain at an impasse, unable to agree on a way to accomplish these ends. The only unity that Congress and the President may find this year is in taking action to revise
the Budget Control Act of 2011 and undo or delay the sequestration of funds that it entails. America needs more from its political leadership – and more is possible.

There has been insufficient progress with regard to defense spending, too. Here, a key issue is the Defense Department’s recurring or “base” budget, which is relevant to ensuring the nation’s long-term fiscal health. The
Pentagon has agreed to roll back its aspirations for real spending growth during the next decade. However, it has resisted making significant reductions from current levels of base budget expenditure, which is more
to the point.

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