March 02, 2017

Trump is right to spend more on defense. Here’s how to do so wisely.

By Michèle Flournoy

In his address Tuesday to Congress, President Trump promised to make sure that the U.S. military gets what it needs to carry out its mission by securing “one of the largest increases in national defense spending in American history.” More funding would surely be a good thing, although the issues of how much and what for are complicated. No one should be under any illusions that a higher Defense Department topline guarantees a more capable armed forces.

Trump is reportedly seeking $54 billion over the sequester caps imposed by the 2011 Budget Control Act, which would bring 2018 defense spending to $603 billion. While Trump may view this proposal as historic, it’s only 3 percent more than President Obama’s final budget request. Meanwhile, the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee has called for a much larger increase — to nearly $640 billion.

And as the post-9/11 defense buildup taught us, throwing more money at the Pentagon is not a panacea. What matters is how the money is spent. So what should we look for in the president’s budget request?

Read the full article at the Washington Post.

  • Reports
    • May 6, 2021
    Making Sense of Cents

    Executive Summary This report contextualizes the Biden administration’s discretionary funding request for the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) in fiscal year (FY) 2022, referr...

    By Stacie Pettyjohn & Becca Wasser

  • Commentary
    • April 28, 2021
    Sharper: The Next 100 Days

    As the administration marks its 100th day in office, what lies ahead?...

    By Anna Pederson & Chris Estep

  • Commentary
    • Foreign Affairs
    • April 21, 2021
    America’s Military Risks Losing Its Edge

    Much about the way the Pentagon operates continues to reflect business as usual, which is inadequate to meet the growing threats posed by a rising China and a revisionist Russ...

    By Michèle Flournoy

  • Commentary
    • Defense News
    • April 8, 2021
    The Pentagon must act now to address vulnerability in its enterprise

    The Defense Department cannot wait for another stress test before addressing fragility in its enterprise; it must learn and adapt now....

    By Tara Murphy Dougherty & Billy Fabian

View All Reports View All Articles & Multimedia