Cutting the Pentagon's Budget is a Gift To Our Enemies

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Political gridlock in Washington triggered across-the-board spending cuts, known as the sequester, in March. As a result, the Pentagon was given six months to eliminate $41 billion from the current year’s budget, and unlike past cuts, this time everything is on the table. In 2011, America spent $711 billion dollars on its defense—more than the next 13 highest spending countries combined. But the burdens it shoulders, both at home and abroad, are unprecedented. Could the sequester be a rare opportunity to overhaul the armed forces, or will its impact damage military readiness and endanger national security?

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  • Donnelly90x90

    For

    Thomas Donnelly

    Co-Director, Marilyn Ware Center for Security Studies, AEI

  • Krepinevich90x90

    For

    Andrew Krepinevich

    President, Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments

  • Friedman90x90

    Against

    Benjamin Friedman

    Research Fellow, Cato Institute

  • Schake90x90

    Against

    Kori Schake

    Research Fellow, Hoover Institution


    • Moderator Image

      MODERATOR

      John Donvan

      Author & Correspondent for ABC News

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Donnelly90x90

For The Motion

Thomas Donnelly

Co-Director, Marilyn Ware Center for Security Studies, AEI

Thomas Donnelly, a defense and security policy analyst, is the co-director of the Marilyn Ware Center for Security Studies at AEI. He is the coauthor with Frederick W. Kagan of Lessons for a Long War: How America Can Win on New Battlefields (2010). Among his recent books are Ground Truth: The Future of U.S. Land Power (2008), Of Men and Materiel: The Crisis in Military Resources (2007), The Military We Need (2005); and Operation Iraqi Freedom: A Strategic Assessment (2004). From 1995 to 1999, he was policy group director and a professional staff member for the House Committee on Armed Services. Donnelly also served as a member of the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission. He is a former editor of Armed Forces Journal, Army Times, and Defense News.

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Krepinevich90x90

For The Motion

Andrew Krepinevich

President, Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments

Andrew F. Krepinevich, Jr. is President president of the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments. He assumed this position in 1993, following a 21-year career in the U.S. Army. Krepinevich has served in the Department of Defense's Office of Net Assessment and on the personal staff of three secretaries of defense. He currently serves on the Chief of Naval Operations' (CNO's) Advisory Board and on the Army Special Operations Command's Advisory Board. Krepinevich has served as a consultant on military affairs for many senior government officials, including several secretaries of defense, the CIA's National Intelligence Council, and all four military services. Krepinevich's most recent book is 7 Deadly Scenarios: A Military Futurist Explores War in the 21st Century. Krepinevich received the 1987 Furniss Award for his book, The Army and Vietnam.

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Against The Motion

Benjamin Friedman

Research Fellow, Cato Institute

Benjamin H. Friedman is a research fellow in defense and homeland security studies. His areas of expertise include counter-terrorism, homeland security and defense politics. He is the author of dozens of op-eds and journal articles and co-editor of two books, including Terrorizing Ourselves: Why U.S. Counterterrorism Policy Is Failing and How to Fix It, published in 2010. He is a graduate of Dartmouth College and a Ph.D. candidate in Political Science and an affiliate of the Security Studies Program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

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Schake90x90

Against The Motion

Kori Schake

Research Fellow, Hoover Institution

Kori Schake is a fellow at the Hoover Institution, where she is writing a book about the American experience as a rising power from 1840-1921.  She has worked in the Pentagon's Joint Staff, the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the National Security Council, and the State Department's office of policy planning.  During the 2008 presidential election, she was a senior policy advisor to the McCain-Palin campaign  She previously held the distinguished chair in international security studies at the U.S. Military Academy, and taught in the faculties of the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies and the University of Maryland School of Public Affairs.  She blogs for Shadow Government at Foreign Policy.  Her most recent book is State of Disrepair: Fixing the Culture and Practices of the State Department (2012).

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Declared Winner: Against The Motion

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Voting Breakdown:
 

64% voted the same way in BOTH pre- and post-debate votes (14% voted FOR twice, 48% voted AGAINST twice, 2% voted UNDECIDED twice). 36% changed their minds (5% voted FOR then changed to AGAINST, 1% voted FOR then changed to UNDECIDED, 8% voted AGAINST then changed to FOR, 2% voted AGAINST then changed to UNDECIDED, 7% voted UNDECIDED then changed to FOR, 13% voted UNDECIDED then changed to AGAINST) | Breakdown Graphic

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    11 comments

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    • Comment Link Emily Sunday, 29 June 2014 02:56 posted by Emily

      It's said these cuts would put us at 2008 levels. We were pretty good at killing in 2008, if I remember correctly. The military is the most inefficient segment of our government, they can't even account to where the money goes. I think the Pentagon can more than make up the 41B with efficiency efforts.

    • Comment Link Miles Kelley Saturday, 22 June 2013 07:35 posted by Miles Kelley

      In response to commentators Robert Kaussner and Larry Krieger, I'd suspect that liberal 'against' debators would still present nearly the same stance as what we saw.

      In fact, from a liberal perspective, I believe the current panelists would be preferable to a more liberal opposition; Moderate, independent, or conservative listeners would be far more prone to give the 'against' side a fair shake, rather than ideologically dismissing them out of hand. These presumably non-liberal panelists furthered the stereotypically liberal stance very capably by ensuring that the argument would not fall upon deaf ears.

    • Comment Link David Friday, 21 June 2013 10:51 posted by David

      What a horrible debate. This debate had so much potential to be informative, but even the moderator said "so exactly what do you two sides disagree about?"

      I personally cannot wait till this generation speaking dies off and the internet generation takes over. This group doesn't even talk about the trend of global cooperation, and focuses on the old world model of imperialism.

      This whole conversation is about us vs them, where it could have been, how do we make a greater us through cooperation.

      This debate was nothing more than warmonger propaganda disguised as a reasonable conversation.

    • Comment Link John Samples Thursday, 20 June 2013 19:37 posted by John Samples

      Ben Friedman is a liberal Democrat on most issues and a libertarian on foreign policy. How does that make him a conservative?

    • Comment Link William Palumbo Thursday, 20 June 2013 17:17 posted by William Palumbo

      Why would conservatives want a massive military when it's being used to back the Muslim Brotherhood and al Qaeda in Syria? I didn't realize POTUS was a Sunni partisan, but then again, not many people did when they voted for him TWICE.

    • Comment Link bruce k Wednesday, 19 June 2013 18:08 posted by bruce k

      Going to war is a gift to the military industry and all the capitalists and investors who take the money they make and take over the country's economy and then declare war on our system ... adding liberal voices to the enemies list.

      Our war-making ability is getting better, but we are not assailing the real threats in this world, Russia and China, in fact we are giving most of our economy to China. There is no realilty in this "enemy" talk, this is all about the military-industrial-energy-capital ... and the bad guys can fit right into our system if they have the money to buy in.

      We can defeat the peasant armies by more refined terms, the same way we can bring in our own people, education, health-care, rule of law, etc.

      This is all rationalization by the people who profit economically by the "hammer" system we have that forces all problems to be nails, urgent nails, that keeps us confused and unable to think clearly about how we really could bring the world closer to democracy, not take ourselves farther away.

    • Comment Link Marylia Kelley Wednesday, 19 June 2013 18:03 posted by Marylia Kelley

      More money for the Pentagon does not equal more security for the people of the United States and the world.

    • Comment Link steve sherman Wednesday, 19 June 2013 17:25 posted by steve sherman

      The United States is the major arms supplier for the world. Arms that are sometimes sold and traded and end up being used against our own troops. The wars must continue for the military/industrial complex Eisenhower warned us about.

    • Comment Link Susan Shaer Tuesday, 21 May 2013 11:54 posted by Susan Shaer

      Our enemies are not afraid of us now - with all that we have and are preparing to have. What will frighten them is when we get smart about our security and design a system that fits today's needs. When we are a country that honors health care, education, job creation, and a clean environment as real security, we will really be powerful.
      We now have a budget that over emphasizes Pentagon spending so much that we look at every threat with the eye to use our military might. If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail. But diplomacy and development go a much longer way than destroying a country, and then leaving.

    • Comment Link Robert Kaussner Tuesday, 21 May 2013 11:23 posted by Robert Kaussner

      I have the same question as Larry above. What gives in this particular selection of primarily conservative debate teams on both sides?

    • Comment Link Larry Krieger Sunday, 19 May 2013 05:34 posted by Larry Krieger

      Why are there no liberal voices on this panel??

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