November 8, 2013
Can the Defense Budget Shrink Without Risking National Security?

Every municipal police and fire department has mastered the oldest bureaucratic budget maneuver in the book: If told to cut your budget slightly, don’t eliminate unneeded positions, buy less fancy office furniture, or delay buying new cars and equipment.
Just announce the closure of an entire police or fire station.
As the Chicago Tribune reported not long ago, “‘Everybody on the City Council is in favor of facilities consolidation until they start to talk about the police station in their neighborhood,’ said Ald. Ricardo Munoz, 22nd, who added that he would fight attempts to close the station in his ward.”
Since protecting citizens’ lives is the first duty of government, public-safety functions are usually the last to feel the effects of tightened budgets. This is especially true at the federal level, where cuts to the defense budget are generally portrayed as assaults on the nation’s very existence. There are a variety of reasons to tread softly on any sort of defense cuts: You only get to err by under-defending the country once. The battlefield edge today, and even more so in the future is a product of advanced—and expensive—technologies. Those who put their lives on the line for the rest of us deserve the best equipment and protective gear, and the most reasonable pay and benefits, that we can afford.
But does that mean that we cannot cut the defense budget without short-changing national security? To hear some tell it the answer is “no.” But the Defense Department is part of the same government that most Americans abjure for its inefficiency, waste, and fraud. In fact, you can find just about everything that’s wrong with government in the defense budget. Oklahoma Republican Senator Tom Coburn, no liberal, has derided the Pentagon as the “Department of Everything” for its wide-ranging activities.
Read more. [Image: Jacquelyn Martin/Reuters]

Can the Defense Budget Shrink Without Risking National Security?

Every municipal police and fire department has mastered the oldest bureaucratic budget maneuver in the book: If told to cut your budget slightly, don’t eliminate unneeded positions, buy less fancy office furniture, or delay buying new cars and equipment.

Just announce the closure of an entire police or fire station.

As the Chicago Tribune reported not long ago, “‘Everybody on the City Council is in favor of facilities consolidation until they start to talk about the police station in their neighborhood,’ said Ald. Ricardo Munoz, 22nd, who added that he would fight attempts to close the station in his ward.”

Since protecting citizens’ lives is the first duty of government, public-safety functions are usually the last to feel the effects of tightened budgets. This is especially true at the federal level, where cuts to the defense budget are generally portrayed as assaults on the nation’s very existence. There are a variety of reasons to tread softly on any sort of defense cuts: You only get to err by under-defending the country once. The battlefield edge today, and even more so in the future is a product of advanced—and expensive—technologies. Those who put their lives on the line for the rest of us deserve the best equipment and protective gear, and the most reasonable pay and benefits, that we can afford.

But does that mean that we cannot cut the defense budget without short-changing national security? To hear some tell it the answer is “no.” But the Defense Department is part of the same government that most Americans abjure for its inefficiency, waste, and fraud. In fact, you can find just about everything that’s wrong with government in the defense budget. Oklahoma Republican Senator Tom Coburn, no liberal, has derided the Pentagon as the “Department of Everything” for its wide-ranging activities.

Read more. [Image: Jacquelyn Martin/Reuters]

  1. ajilivizion reblogged this from theatlantic
  2. patrickrwelsh reblogged this from theatlantic and added:
    This debate has been going on forever. I still don’t know what the hell “national security” really means in relation to...
  3. foxrdleroy reblogged this from theatlantic
  4. 23ivanalves said: U freakin idiots voted for these cuts and we’re bigger idiots that voted for u idiots in congress
  5. hapli reblogged this from theatlantic and added:
    Yes.
  6. alstefanelli reblogged this from theatlantic
  7. gafasdelsol reblogged this from theatlantic
  8. jakeandmiri reblogged this from theatlantic
  9. boulder-coast reblogged this from theatlantic
  10. liberalbubblehead reblogged this from theatlantic
  11. sfdjeytdhs reblogged this from theatlantic
  12. goldengateglory reblogged this from theatlantic
  13. iamvictoriaanne reblogged this from theatlantic
  14. rex916 reblogged this from theatlantic
  15. deliriousdeluxedelovely reblogged this from theatlantic and added:
    YES. WHY YES IT CAN. DAMMIT #mrsmithgoestowashington
  16. meaningandhappiness reblogged this from theatlantic
  17. browngurlwfro reblogged this from theatlantic
  18. michaelk42 reblogged this from theatlantic