The 2014 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), H.R. 1960, is on the floor today in the House. Currently, the federal government’s expenditures, including last year’s defense budget of $486.3 billion, have placed the United States in a financial crisis. Now Washington is attempting to increase that massive amount to $552.1 billion, exceeding the sequester allocation by $52 billion.
Proponents of a large military have frequently called upon citizens’ patriotism for a carte blanche and then abused that blank check. When forced to address waste and overspending, they have instead cut high profile defense programs and publicly painted the sequester as dangerous. Congress and the military should be focused on implementing efficiency in spending what was allotted under the sequester. A recent study completed by NTU and R Street outlined 100 recommendations which could save the government approximately $1.9 trillion by 2023 by reducing weapons systems, personnel and compensation, and programs and processes while continuing to provide for the safety of American citizens. These cuts include frivolous, politically spurred agendas like the continued production of Abram tanks which the Army insists that they do not want, but are defended by some in Congress because they "create jobs."
While America’s security is of utmost importance, economic stability is a central part of this equation and cannot be overlooked. As the United States is scheduled to significantly scale back wartime activity in the Middle East, the wartime budget should likewise contract to reflect peacetime levels. It is imperative that lawmakers pare back excessive expenditures in the 2014 NDAA and work toward fiscal sustainability.