June 6, 2016
As the Senate begins debate this evening on the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), senators will present various visions on the future of America’s defense programs.
Justin Johnson, a defense budget expert at The Heritage Foundation, argues that addressing the readiness crisis of the U.S. military is paramount. “That will require more money,” he said, “but lawmakers should offset those necessary investments cutting federal spending on other, far less critical agencies.” Earlier this year, Heritage published “The Budget Book,” identifying 106 ways to reduce the size and scope of federal government without weakening national defense.
“The Senate version of the NDAA falls short in remedying the military’s readiness crisis,” Johnson warned. “If passed as it stands now, our Army will continue to be its smallest size since World War II, and other branches will suffer similar shortfalls. All of the services will continue to scrimp on training and modernization—cost-saving measures that increase risk for our men and women in uniform.”
“Some Senators are proposing to increase investment in readiness programs by $18 billion,” Johnson noted. “That would set our military up for a stronger future.” But, he added, “A stronger future should not be built on an unstable foundation of crippling debt. Any investment increases should be made in conjunction with spending cuts in non-defense accounts.
“We must increase our national security budget, but do it the right way.”