Christopher Preble

Hagel Should Trim Defense

If the Senate confirms Chuck Hagel as secretary of defense, he will confront a set of challenges similar to those faced by Charles E. Wilson in 1953, James Schlesinger in 1973 and Dick Cheney in 1991. In each of those cases, recent long and costly wars were drawing to a close, and traditional enemies were disappearing or being replaced.

Fiscal Cliff Solution Should Include Sen. Coburn's $68 Billion in Pentagon Spending Cuts

The fiscal cliff is looming and Washington is scrambling to reach a deal to avoid a Thelma and Louise ending in January. To start, policymakers need to identify spending cuts, and they could begin with Senator Tom Coburn’s (R-OK) just-released report on wasteful and duplicative spending in the Pentagon. The report identifies savings totaling at least $67.9 billion over the next decade in the Department of Defense.

On Veterans Day, Support the Troops by Scrutinizing the Missions

Today is a federal holiday in observance of Veterans Day and we should all pause a moment to reflect on the sacrifices our veterans have made. But today is also an opportunity to reflect on the current state of civil-military relations. In today’s New York Times, Tom Ricks addresses this and notes:

GOP Groups’ Ads on Sequestration, Defense Jobs Are Misleading

It is no surprise that the defense contractors want to protect their profits by getting taxpayers to pony up more money.

Military Spending and the Economy

Two months ago, Cato published a study by economist Benjamin Zycher, a senior fellow at the Pacific Research Institute, that showed that military spending contributes very little to GDP growth, and concludes that cuts would have very little long-term impact on GDP. On the contrary, Zycher estimates that cuts on the order of $100 billion a year would reduce costs in the wider economy by $135 billion per year. I wrote about that study when it was published here.

PolitiFact Weighs in on Obama and Sequestration

The Romney campaign is airing a television ad in Florida, and similar ads in other states, accusing President Obama of pushing “defense cuts” that “threaten thousands of jobs.”

Challenging the Need to Modernize the U.S. Nuclear Arsenal

Over the weekend, the Washington Post published a lengthy story by Dana Priest on plans to modernize the nation’s nuclear arsenal. It is difficult to comprehend the strategic rationale for the nation’s nuclear arsenal and force structure, and politics and parochialism (especially the jobs associated with the various nuclear labs) add a further layer of complexity. 

The Flawed Bipartisan Consensus on Military Spending and Foreign Policy

I have a new piece up at this morning, commenting on the GOP’s apparent confusion about government spending and the effects that such spending has on others.

The Truth About Sequestration

Cato has just released a new video, titled “The Truth about Sequestration,” that tells the real story about sequestration, the automatic budget cuts required by the Budget Control Act.

Truth in Budgeting and Personnel Costs in the OCO

This week, likely on Wednesday, the full House of Representatives will take up the defense appropriations bill passed out of the Armed Services Committee in May.


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