Both the Senate and House of Representatives will begin consideration and markup of the National Defense Authorization Act this week. As the process moves forward, there is an opportunity to refocus America’s defense spending and efforts in the annual NDAA.
Concerned Veterans for America Executive Director Nate Anderson recently wrote about the need to focus on military readiness and rein in wasteful spending while prioritizing smarter use of resources in the NDAA. Anderson writes:
Given the massive increases in federal spending and deficits as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the years of unchecked defense spending growth must end. Acknowledging the national debt is our greatest long-term national security threat, all parts of the budget must be scrutinized. Continuing the status quo is a recipe for disaster — with erratic policymaking, squandered resources, and an unjust burden on the men and women of our armed services.
The problem isn’t a lack of funds. The problem is a failure to balance resources with priorities. Now is the time to chart a smarter course.
Much of our defense spending can be attributed to seemingly endless conflicts in Iraq, Syria, and Afghanistan. But 20 years of constant war has strained military readiness and put America in a dangerous position. Anderson continues:
Over this time, the defense budget has increased to record levels — currently $738 billion annually — with questionable impact on our security overall. Despite the unprecedented spending, our nation is unprepared to meet the security challenges of the future. The readiness of many fighter squadrons has decreased and aircraft accidents remain high — in part due to the wear and tear of constant deployments. The Navy is also struggling with readiness issues, as more operational requirements are placed on fewer ships.
It’s time for lawmakers to work in a nonpartisan way to focus defense resources where they’re needed most, and to reject attempts to maintain the status quo in service of outdated thinking and narrow special interests.
This year’s NDAA is an opportunity to reduce wasteful spending that hurts our military readiness, crack down on unnecessary and costly acquisitions, and ensure no add-ons for non-defense issues are included in the bill.