August 21, 2015

The GOP’s Perpetual Need for More Defense Spending



I have an op-ed today at Townhall.com with Pete Sepp, the president of the National Taxpayers. We take on the few comments made on defense during the recent Republican primary debate in Cleveland. The common theme in nearly all Republican discussion on defense, and particularly among the party’s presidential candidates, is the need for “more.” As we write in our piece today, this entails “More Troops. More ships. And ultimately more spending.”

Pete and I argue that the persistent calls for more defense spending provide little information about how the increase will be paid for, misconstrue historic spending levels, and ignore entirely how defense dollars are spent. From our piece:

Our military’s challenges right now have less to do with how much it spends, but how it spends. The Pentagon remains the only federal entity that has not passed a financial audit. Meanwhile, the F-35 multirole fighter aircraft and the Littoral Combat Ship remain behind schedule and billions over budget. Military compensation costs have risen by more than 50 percent (adjusted for inflation) between 2001 and 2012. The Army and Air Force pay for excess facility capacity that was 18 and 33 percent, respectively, above their needs. And the department’s outdated strategic planning system ensures the services continue to pursue expensive Cold War platforms, even as potential adversaries pursue far less expensive, asymmetric capabilities to counter them.

Read the entire thing here.