By Noel Brinkerhoff
One positive thing that the sequestration mess has done is bring liberal and conservative groups together in calling for serious reductions in defense spending.
More than 20 organizations that don’t ordinarily agree on much found common ground in criticizing with what they called the “Pentagon’s bloated budget,” according to a public letter they released.
“The time has come to reduce wasteful and ineffective Pentagon spending to make us safer. There has been a great deal of doomsday rhetoric about the effects of sequestration. Our organizations believe that sequester might not be the best way to reshape Pentagon spending, but that should not serve as an excuse to avoid fundamental reforms,” the letter reads.
The unlikely coalition says the Defense Department can live with $50 billion to $100 billion less a year without undermining the country’s national security. After all, “our military might is not measured by how many dollars we spend but how we spend our dollars,” the groups insist.
The 22 signatories of the letter are:
Americans for Tax Reform, Campaign for America’s Future, Center for Freedom and Prosperity, Council for Citizens Against Government Waste, Cost of Government Center, CREDO, Freedom Action, Friends Committee on National Legislation, National Priorities Project, National Taxpayers Union, Peace Action, Progressive Democrats of America, Project On Government Oversight, Republican Liberty Caucus, R Street, Take Back Washington, Taxpayers for Common Sense, Taxpayers Protection Alliance, USAction, U.S. PIRG, Women’s Action for New Direction, and Win Without War.
Myriad suggestions have been made by the coalition for trimming the Pentagon’s budget. For instance, the National Taxpayers Union and U.S. Public Interest Research Group agree that the military can do without the C-27 J Cargo Aircraft. Cancelling it would save nearly $1.5 billion.
Other suggested savings include limiting military bands ($2 billion), delaying the rebuilding of Abrams tanks that the Army doesn’t want ($3 billion), reducing the number of deployed nuclear weapons ($28 billion), withdrawing 40,000 troops from Europe ($32 billion) and downsizing military headquarters ($40 billion).