There is no shortage of opportunities to reform and reduce the size of the Pentagon, the world’s largest bureaucracy, in a way that is in line with conservative principles and goals. The Guide for A Strong America is one resource for conservatives willing to take on the fight. Indeed, this process is exactly how we should be examining the hundreds of billions of dollars in non-defense discretionary spending, too––focusing on those items that are working and taking a scalpel to those that aren’t.
A robust debate is already happening on the right. In addition to our organizations, conservative groups including FreedomWorks, Concerned Veterans for America and Americans for Tax Reform have voiced support for putting Pentaton spending cuts on the table, while the Charles Koch Institute and Defense Priorities have made compelling cases for strategic restraint. There are some current Republican and bipartisan amendments that would advance the cause by boosting Defense department audit efforts and reining in off-book accounts. And Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Mike Enzi (R-WY), and Mike Braun (R-IN) have also taken some laudable steps to improve DoD’s inconsistent audit efforts.
Congress also needs another 10 years of discretionary budget caps, and even stronger enforcement to limit cheating on those caps (as happened in the past). Many Democrats will have to sacrifice unchecked growth in non-defense spending, and defense hawks in both parties will have to sacrifice unchecked growth for Pentagon priorities that aren’t making us any safer.