The Budget Control Act of 2011 has set the government on a path to dramatically reduce spending over the next decade, and a congressional "super committee" is now seeking to trim spending by more than $1 trillion beyond the cuts already enacted this year. As additional cuts are made, we must ask: How can the United States responsibly and effectively maximize its security in this era of growing fiscal austerity?
Authored by Center for a New American Security (CNAS) experts LTG David W. Barno, USA (Ret.), Dr. Nora Bensahel and Travis Sharp, the newly released report Hard Choices: Responsible Defense in an Age of Austerity answers this question and highlights the implications of tough budget cuts on America's military capabilities. Hard Choices outlines four budget cut scenarios and evaluates possible trade-offs among force structure, end strength, procurement and overhead. Barno, Bensahel and Sharp also offer several potential reforms to military pay and benefits.
On October 7, 2011, CNAS released Hard Choices at an event featuring a discussion with the report authors and leading defense and budget experts Gordon Adams, Professor of international relations at American University's School of International Service and Distinguished Fellow at the Stimson Center, and Tom Donnelly, Resident Fellow and Director of the Center for Defense Studies at the American Enterprise Institute.