National Security: Less is More

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The Pentagon, and all the other national “security” spending, is a major reason we have  taxes, deficits, and budget problems.

The Center for Defense Information, a think tank run by former military officers say:

“Pentagon costs, taken together with other known national security expenses for 2015, will exceed $1 trillion.”

“There is much more than $495.6 billion in the budget for the Pentagon, and there are piles of national security spending outside the Pentagon…”

They list total national security spending outside the Department of Defense such as: the Department of Energy nuclear weapons programs, military retirement costs not in the DOD budget, the Veterans Administration, Department of Homeland Security, and interest on the debt. The total for 2015 is $1009.5 trillion or 85% of the discretionary budget!

Is this level of defense spending necessary? Much of this is for outdated cold war relics like nuclear weapons and the new F-35 fighter plane. The U.S. officially has 662 overseas bases in 38 foreign countries but other estimates put the total at 900 locations and 140 countries. The military spends $500 million on military bands. The Pentagon runs 234 golf courses around the world at unknown cost.

Could we get by with less? When you think about the legendary waste, fraud, cost overruns, cost-plus contracts, and loose accounting of the Pentagon, the answer is pretty clear. Yes we can!

What are we afraid of? In the “home of the brave” we seem to be extremely paranoid. Who are the enemies that require 85% of our resources? What country could possibly invade the U.S.? We are the third largest nation geographically and the third largest in population. We  lead the world with 40% of worldwide “security” spending. We spend more than the other top 13 countries. Clearly there is no other country with the military, logistical, or economic strength to invade, or occupy, our country.

But what about terrorism? Yes, terrorists can strike anywhere but nuclear weapons and F-35 fighters do not work against terrorist cells. We might be more safe from terrorists if we had a smaller military and less aggressive foreign policy.

What are our REAL security needs?  Real security is a living wage job, healthcare, and a secure retirement. Real security is a foreign policy that makes friends rather than bombing other people. Real security is living in a community, and a world, without fear, intolerance, or inequality. Real security is NOT NEEDING A GUN OR A HUGE MILITARY!

We need better budget priorities that put people and our real needs first. Contact your elected officials today and demand cuts to total Pentagon spending.