It is time to discipline the defense budget, along with the rest of the federal budget. Americans understand the logic of fiscal discipline. Spending less requires doing less. Doing less requires setting priorities. Setting priorities means having clear options and a strategy for managing risk.
Over the past decade, U.S. defense spending has grown to roughly $700 billion a year, higher in real dollars than any year since WWII and equal as a percentage of the federal budget to that taken by Social Security, or income-based entitlements, or domestic discretionary spending. Today we face pressing problems of jobs and economic recovery, along with unprecedented debts and deficits. ADM Michael Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has rightly noted that today the “single-biggest threat to our national security is our national debt.”