US Defense Budget

U.S. Defense

Combating 21st century challenges requires smart defense spending. Stimson examines ways to reshape modern defense spending to better address modern security threats.

Photo credit: The US Army via flickr

Current Research

January 8, 2020 | EXPERT: Gordon Adams

Editor’s note: This analysis is part of 2020 Presidential Inbox — an ongoing Stimson Center series examining the major global challenges and opportunities the next administration faces. READ MORE

May 23, 2017 | EXPERT: Laicie Heeley

The Trump administration’s fiscal 2017 supplemental request and Congress’ resulting appropriation have ushered in a new era of budgetary irresponsibility. READ MORE

April 26, 2017

While the potential government shutdown is drawing headlines this week, President Trump’s proposed 2018 budget should be raising even more eyebrows. READ MORE

February 15, 2017 | EXPERT: Laicie Heeley

The world has entered a new era of “gray zone” conflicts, ongoing shadow wars that present great strategic risk to the United States and the international community. READ MORE

May 24, 2016 | EXPERT: Laicie Heeley

As the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have drawn down, the Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) budget, initially intended for “emergency” war funding, has been used increasingly for purposes far afield of its original design. READ MORE

June 25, 2015 | EXPERT: Matthew Leatherman

The Army Goes to School: The Connection Between K-12 Education Standards and the Military-Base Economy finds that the quality of education available to soldiers’ children could be a retention issue for the Army. READ MORE

May 7, 2015 | EXPERT: Matthew Leatherman , EXPERT: Paul Holtom

The Stimson Center announced today that Paul Holtom and Matthew Leatherman have been appointed as Nonresident Fellows for the Managing Across Boundaries initative. READ MORE

February 9, 2015 | EXPERT: Barry Blechman

President Barack Obama’s fiscal 2016 budget request continues the political gamesmanship that has plagued the U.S. government for five years. Exceeding legislated budget caps on both defense and non-defense discretionary spending by $75 billion, the president is show- boating for his core domestic constituencies while trying to undermine Republican claims he is weak on defense. READ MORE

February 4, 2015 | EXPERT: Matthew Leatherman

Over the past ten days, Congress has received two reports that, taken together, raise the possibility of changing regular service-member’s compensation in favor of preserving layers of management above them and the missions those managers assign to them. READ MORE

January 13, 2015 | EXPERT: Matthew Leatherman

Imagine a business that’s restructuring costs. The idea is to restrain employee compensation and free up money for operations and investment, thus allowing the company to grow. READ MORE

August 8, 2014 | EXPERT: Russell Rumbaugh

In 25 years of providing pragmatic solutions, it is not surprising Stimson has always had an eye on the processes and institutions that would have to implement those solutions: a solution is pragmatic only if the policies it recommends can realistically be implemented in the real world. READ MORE

August 1, 2014 |

Chaos and conflict in Ukraine, Iraq, and Syria have prompted many calls for a more robust American response, but the Obama administration’s latest effort to address these crises is facing a difficult path through Congress. READ MORE

December 6, 2013 | EXPERT: Gordon Adams

Let's get this straight: the Defense Department and the defense industry survived the sequester. But you'd be forgiven for thinking otherwise, given a year of dire forecasts from the aerospace industry that 2013 would see the decline and fall of the economy -- and with it America's military capability. READ MORE

May 13, 2013 | EXPERT: Barry Blechman , EXPERT: Matthew Leatherman , EXPERT: Russell Rumbaugh

In an effort to help policymakers determine how to reduce the Defense Department budget without cutting essential combat capabilities, a Stimson Center report issued today compiles options and recommendations proposed by official groups and agencies that would save nearly $1 trillion over 10 years. READ MORE

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