Stimson in the News

Strategic Agility report cited at Breaking Defense

in Program

The deal struck this week by Rep. Paul Ryan and Sen. Patty Murray has
been well received by President Obama, House Speaker John Boehner, the
defense industry, and many people in the media and the public at large
who are tired of Washington’s budgetary gridlock. No one is popping any
champagne corks, but there is a widespread feeling that any agreement
that can eliminate the uncertainty that has dominated Washington
budgetary debates over the past two years is worth supporting.

But the Ryan/Murray deal can be improved. The Congress and the
president should rethink the need to give the Pentagon over $20 billion
more in fiscal 2014. More than enough money is available under the
budgetary caps established in current law to provide a robust and
forward-looking defense of the United States without this proposed
increase. At roughly $480 billion for the Pentagon budget proper – and
nearly $500 billion when nuclear weapons spending at the Department of
Energy is factored in – current plans are already about $100 billion per year higher than the Cold War average.

-snip-

President Obama and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel are not unmindful of
these shifts, but they have yet to fully act on their implications. One
set of proposals that seeks to bridge the gap between preparing for
current versus future threats
is a report on “strategic agility” put forward by a task force of
defense analysts, retired military officers and former defense industry
executives
organized by the Stimson Center. In its own words, the
task force’s approach would “seek to avoid involvement in protracted
ground conflicts, reform the way the DoD compensates and utilizes
personnel, and reduce expenditure on weapons that provide only marginal
improvements in capability.” It highlights diplomacy as the preferred
means of settling conflicts, but notes that the current State Department
operating budget is just 3 percent of the Pentagon’s.

To read the full story, click here

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