A new report from the Sustainable Defense Task Force, formed by House Financial Services Committee Chair Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) identifies reductions in Pentagon spending while maintaining strong defense capabilities as the best response to the nation’s mounting fiscal restraints. These options cover the full range of Pentagon expenditures including procurement, R&D, personnel, operations and maintenance, and infrastructure. They apply to strategic and conventional forces, as well as command, support, and infrastructure.
“Leaders from the left, right and center agree on two major policy changes: the U.S. deficit must be reduced and the Pentagon budget can reverse its exponential growth while keeping Americans safe,” claimed Paul Kawika Martin, policy and political director of Peace Action (the nation’s largest grassroots peace organization) and a member of the task force.
The task force was formed in response to a request from Representative Barney Frank (D-MA), working in cooperation with Representative Walter B. Jones (R-NC), Representative Ron Paul (R-TX), and Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR), to explore possible defense budget contributions to deficit reduction efforts that would not compromise the essential security of the United States. The report will be released at a briefing on Capitol Hill on June 11th.
The Sustainable Defense Task Force
Benjamin Friedman – Cato Institute
William Hartung – New America Foundation
Christopher Hellman – National Priorities Project
Heather Hurlburt – National Security Network
Charles Knight – Project on Defense Alternatives
Paul Kawika Martin – Peace Action
Laicie Olson – Center for Arms Control & Non-Proliferation
Miriam Pemberton – Institute for Policy Studies
Prasannan Parthasarathi – Boston College
Winslow Wheeler – Center for Defense Information
Christopher Preble – Cato Institute
Carl Conetta – Project on Defense Alternatives
Lawrence Korb – Center for American Progress
Laura Peterson – Taxpayers for Common Sense
Phi Beta Iota: Released 11 June 2010, the report is taking on momentum as it is embraced by a variety of activist organizations. It is obvious that neither defense nor intelligence, both over-funded and under-managed by 75%, will be reformed between now and the end of the Obama Administration. However, if Ron Paul, Ralph Nader, Cynthia McKinney, and Jackie Salit were to come together with Michael Bloomberg to launch a nation-wide campaign demanding Electoral Reform in time to clean out both the Senate and the House, replacing the old dogs (“less turnover than the Politburo” was Ronald Reagan/Nancy Noonan line), then a Transpartisan/Postpartisan independent candidate, such as the older and wiser Michael Bloomberg, could field a coalition sunshine cabinet, a balanced budget, and specific policy reforms such as we have been suggesting since Al Gore took the fall in 2000.