How to Trim the Defense Budget Without Harming U.S. Security
As the COVID-19 pandemic drags on and its economic toll grows, politicians and observers on both sides of the U.S. political divide have called for cuts to the national security budget in order to free up funds for more pressing items. According to this logic, the defense budget is bloated, the federal deficit continues to climb, and the Department of Defense could, and should, do more with less.
Although preparing for the next pandemic is crucial, there is no justification for trading off security abroad for safety at home when both are necessary. Observers including independent Sen. Bernie Sanders have argued that domestic threats—such as pandemics—will become a greater security concern than foreign adversaries. That’s wishful thinking. A pandemic can’t make the United States’ security problems go away—in fact, it may make them worse. The country’s leaders can no longer evade or defer hard choices, and with a period of fiscal austerity on the horizon, there is no longer room for equivocating.