August 28, 2015
The debate about defense spending will likely reignite in September as Congress returns from recess and the end of the fiscal year draws near. Unfortunately, much of that debate will not be very helpful or informative.
Instead of arguing the merits of a particular military spending level, much of the debate will revolve around Democratic opposition to increasing defense spending without proportional increases to non-defense spending. The usual arguments for cutting defense spending will likely pop up as well. But what’s really needed is a more thoughtful debate. Once you get beyond the talking points and the political agendas, what should the United States spend on defense?
The Ideal Defense Budget Debate
Determining what the United States (or any country) should spend on national defense is much easier in theory than in reality. But let’s start with the theory.
The first step is determining the vital interests of the United States. What must we, as a country, protect? Almost everyone would agree that we must protect America and our citizens from attacks by terrorists or nation-states. But beyond protecting the homeland and its people, it gets more complicated. Should the United States protect its allies? International commerce and the commons in and on which this commerce happens? The human rights of individuals in other countries? These are the types of questions that need to be answered in order to determine the vital interests of the United States.
Read the full article at the Heritage Foundation: What Should America Spend on Defense and Why?