2016 Republican Party Platform – Defense Spending

Earlier this week, the Republican National Committee released its 2016 Platform. Though aspirational in nature and somewhat short on specifics, the document does give clues into the Republican Party’s policy agenda going forward. National Taxpayers Union (NTU) analyzed the 2016 Platform from the taxpayers’ perspective.  Over the course of the week, we will be highlighting the positives and negatives in the Platform.

There is no question the United States should continue to maintain the world’s most powerful military. At the same time, we are a nation swimming in red ink. Taxpayers deserve a more thoughtful calibration of these considerations.

Auditing the Pentagon

As the Platform correctly notes, the Pentagon has never been audited. This is a terrible distinction for the Department of Defense and America’s taxpayers should be thankful the Platform calls for a long-overdue audit. While NTU is certainly in favor of a strong military, no government agency using tax dollars is beyond scrutiny. With a massive debt threatening not only our economy but also our national security, it is imperative we ensure all tax dollars are wisely spent. It’s beyond time for a full audit of the Pentagon.

Lifting the Budget Caps for the Military

Providing for the national defense is the primary function of the federal government. While we are pleased with the Platform’s call to audit the Pentagon, we are concerned about its support for increased military spending. Specifically, the Platform demands lifting the spending caps for the military and Defense Department put in place by the Budget Control Act (BCA) of 2011.

Former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mike Mullen’s recently warned that the national debt is the greatest national security threat we face. That is part of the reason we have been strongly supportive of the spending caps on both military and domestic spending. The BCA has curbed spending across the government and saved taxpayers enormous amounts of money. In short, the BCA’s caps have been the most effective tool for slowing the growth of government spending in decades. The BCA caps should remain in place for all of the federal government, including the Defense Department.