Federal budget experts and ordinary citizens alike are asking for greater scrutiny of defense spending as part of a larger effort to reform the federal budget.
“The rationale for including defense in a deficit reduction plan has invoked the concept of shared sacrifice—everyone contributing in the face of shared danger,” Alice Rivlin, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, said recently. “I prefer to think of it as shared opportunity, subjecting all spending, defense and domestic, to more rigorous tests for efficiency and effectiveness.”
In events sponsored by The Concord Coalition around the country, many voters say they want greater accountability from government, including with the defense budget. “People want a strong military with smart spending, not just heavy spending,” says Phil Smith, Concord’s national political director.
Some elected officials seem to have gotten the message. Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.), for example, said recently of the hundreds of billions of dollars in the defense budget: “If we can’t find some waste, fraud and abuse within that, then we have no business being in Congress.”
The Will and the Wallet: Views on defense from outside the beltway