September 7, 2016
Presidential candidates will tonight answer questions about commanding a military that is not able to adequately provide for America’s national security needs during NBC’s “Commander in Chief Forum.”
Also this week, Politico broke the story of a memo from senior Pentagon officials to the Secretary of Defense laying out how the Pentagon could “play hardball” against a funding gimmick included in the House defense policy and funding bills. The Pentagon memo outlines various ways to play political hardball in their fight against this gimmick including their “primary weapon” of a veto threat, seeking to increase divisions between Republicans and Democrats on the issue, and undermining the Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee.
“The next president is looking at a military that is not able to adequately provide for America’s national security needs,” said Heritage defense expert Justin Johnson. “Meanwhile, the Secretary of Defense and his team are choosing to fight against some of their best allies in Congress instead of charting a responsible course for the national security budget. Playing ‘hardball’ does not enhance the security of our country or serve the men and women in uniform.”
The Heritage Index of U.S. Military Strength studies the U.S. military capabilities and capacities against its threats. Its findings include recommendations of building a Marine Corps based on 36 battalions, the minimum needed to deal with major contingencies, and building an Air Force of 1,200 fighter aircraft needed to execute current missions.
Rebuilding requires support from the White House and from both sides of the aisle in Congress to fund the military without relying on gimmicks. The best path would be to increase the defense budget with corresponding cuts to non-defense portions of the budget.
For more information on how to invest in defense without ballooning the deficit, see the Blueprint for Balance.