For many in the United States, whether they be liberal interventionists or conservative defense hawks, military spending cuts are radical and fall far outside of the Overton window. In 2017, the total military expenditure by the U.S. was $610 billion, the largest in the world. The Institute for Spending Reform (ISR), an Atlas Network partner, has created the Guide for a Stronger America to tighten the military’s budget while keeping both troops and taxpayers safe.
“Like any government bureaucracy, the Pentagon is prone to waste and mismanagement, but too many Republicans take it off the table for any changes or reform,” said Jonathan Bydlak, ISR's founder and president. “It's unfair to troops and taxpayers when limited dollars are misspent, yet too often, lawmakers equate ‘more money’ with ‘more safety’ or ‘better Defense.’”
ISR’s new website, strongamericaguide.org, hosts the report. The Guide for a Strong America was released just before the Pentagon’s first-ever audit in February and chronicles a list of 84 different options for reducing unnecessary spending.
“We want to provide a lasting framework that encourages lawmakers to think of smart Pentagon spending as in line with their goals of defending the nation, not in conflict with them,” continued Bydlak. “There are many options — 84 currently in our report — for saving billions of dollars and should be considered as tradeoffs in budgeting. We have already gotten significant earned media for the project thanks to our promotion, and sent it to Congressional staffers, but we are working to make sure it remains a prominent resource in future budget fights.”
The report is grouped into six different areas that could be targeted for spending cuts: Acquisitions & Equipment, Pentagon Restructuring, VA Services & Retirement, Personnel, Foreign Policy, and Bases & Infrastructure. Such spending reductions include recommendations like deferring development of the B-21 bomber for a decade, saving an estimated $27 billion.
“The biggest challenge is lack of a clearly defined strategy that drives acquisitions and funding decisions — as a result, projects that even the military itself doesn't want often keep getting limited funds sent their way,” said Bydlak. “Complicating matters, the U.S. does not budget under a regular process, and most bills are passed at the last minute, as part of massive packages, and under threat of government shutdown. We work to research better ways to budget and encourage Members of Congress to prioritize strategy instead of pushing through the biggest possible budget at the last minute.”
“With the return of trillion-dollar deficits, an over $20 trillion National Debt, and a world full of unpredictable threats, making sure that every dollar spent on National Defense is well-spent could not be more crucial,” concluded Bydlak.