Originally posted January 27, 2014.
The American people are being overrun by congressman and senators who are more interested in keeping their seats than in doing what is right for America. Cato Institute’s Chris Preble, in brilliant and concise detail, shows us what is wrong with today’s backward-looking military and how to look forward with a realignment that reflects the reality of today’s world. Mr. Preble succinctly explains why America should not continue playing the part of the world’s policeman. Chris shows that America is in fact less safe, not more safe, as we continue with a failed strategy of nation building. I would add that the Founders called for America “to raise and support Armies” and “to provide and maintain a navy.” In other words, the Constitution did not call for a standing Army. Here Todd Harrison and Mark Gunzinger explain how the Pentagon must be allowed to reduce waste in its budget without the influence of Congressional pork barrel spenders.
One important task remains. Congress needs to give the Pentagon greater flexibility to make smart reductions informed by strategy. This requires more than passing an annual appropriations bill and avoiding sequestration. It means Congress must set aside parochial political interests and allow the Pentagon to make tough decisions that are likely to be unpopular with some constituencies.
For example, the Defense Department has repeatedly asked Congress for another Base Realignment and Closure Commission so it can shed excess bases and facilities, which the military estimates is about 20% of its existing infrastructure. Yet current law prohibits the Pentagon from closing these unneeded bases and facilities, forcing it to waste billions of dollars every year. While no private company would tolerate such waste, key members of Congress have blocked efforts to close bases because this wasteful spending supports jobs in their districts.