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Defense Spending and the Super Committee

Recorded on September 22, 2011

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On Thursday, September 8, 2011, the Defending Defense coalition, a joint project of the American Enterprise Institute, the Foreign Policy Initiative, and The Heritage Foundation, hosted "Defense Spending and the Super Committee." The event took place on Capitol Hill with Senators Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), and Jon Kyl (R-AZ), as well as Congressmen Randy Forbes (R-VA), Duncan Hunter (R-CA), and Allen West (R-FL). Each leader focused on the risks of further cuts to long-term Pentagon spending. Senator Kyl, fresh from his first meeting with the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, said that he told other super committee members, “I’m off of the committee" if there are further cuts to defense spending

Below you will find additional resources on this topic as well as key quotations from the speakers and a summary of the event.


Key Quotations:

“Defense is not the cause of the problem and therefore it cannot be seen as the solution to deficit reduction.”
Senator Kyl

“You set a defense budget based on your needs and requirements for national security, not based on some artificial percentage or number because of deficit reduction."
Senator Kyl

“Not just so much from a strategic level, but also from a tactical level, through the operational level, back up to the strategic level, we have to go back and start developing a strategy first and foremost before we start looking to the military and basing the military upon the budget, or basing the military upon the numbers.”
Congressman West

"This pisses me off beyond belief that our party would subject the Department of Defense not just to more cuts, but to the end of the finest force ever created in the history of the world… This budget deal is a philosophical shift that I will have no part of."
Senator Graham

“I’m willing to do things that will be controversial to make the Department of Defense budget sustainable and more business-like. But what I’m not willing to do, as a Ronald Reagan Republican, is put on the table cuts in defense that would say to the country and the world at large, ‘defense is a secondary concern when it comes to Washington spending.’”
Senator Graham

"And the final [myth] is this, that we can make these kind of drastic cuts without a substantial risk to our future."
Congressman Forbes

“We cannot thoughtlessly slash defense and create a national security crisis on top of the economic crisis that we face.”
Senator Ayotte

“We cannot allow our national security to be subjugated to our failure to make the hard political choices in other areas.”
Senator Ayotte

"We're talking about securing America's future–as we pull back from that, you're going to see other countries take our place. And as other countries take our place, you're going to see our economic role diminish as well as our military role."
Congressman Hunter