The Center released the following statement in response to the Pentagon’s new strategic guidance and remarks by the President, the Secretary of Defense, and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs…
The Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation today applauds the Pentagon’s decision to scale back Pentagon spending in a way that best provides for the strength and security of our country, but labeled the move “only a step in the right direction.”
“After an unfocused Quadrennial Defense Review, the Pentagon has come together to provide a cohesive look at the military we will need long after the current wars come to an end,” said Laicie Olson, Senior Policy Analyst, “Further reductions, if similarly strategy-driven, could be made while fully protecting the United States from military threats.”
While the full details of the plan will not be released until the Pentagon presents the Fiscal Year 2013 budget to Congress, the President outlined their direction today, stating that “over the past ten years, since 9/11, our defense budget grew at an extraordinary pace. Over the next ten years, the growth in the defense budget will slow, but the fact of the matter is this—it will still grow… In fact, the defense budget will still be larger than it was toward the end of the Bush Administration.”
Olson adds that “The proposed cuts are still modest compared to drawdowns after Korea, Vietnam and the Cold War.”
The question now is whether the Pentagon will eliminate a host of outdated and unnecessary programs that still exist.
“President Obama was right to note that our national security will be better served by getting rid of outdated Cold War-era systems so that we can invest in the capabilities we need for the future,” said Kingston Reif, Director of Nuclear Non-Proliferation. “To avoid excessive cuts to essential programs, the Pentagon must cut the bloated U.S. nuclear weapons budget, which is irrelevant to emerging 21st century security priorities such as terrorism, cybersecurity, and intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance.”
The new Pentagon strategy document states, using italics for emphasis, “it is possible that our deterrence goals can be achieved with a smaller nuclear force, which would reduce the number of nuclear weapons in our inventory as well as their role in U.S. national security strategy.”
Added Reif: “Further reductions in U.S. nuclear forces and scaling back planned investments in new strategic nuclear weapons systems and warhead production facilities make both strategic and economic sense”
The Center anticipates the release of full budget details, and awaits a significant adjustment in both strategy and savings.