A former top military official said last week that defense spending restraints after major conflicts have encouraged the Pentagon to innovate and prioritize while allowing the government to make needed investments to boost economic productivity.
James Cartwright, a former vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, spoke in Des Moines at the 2015 Caucus Federal Issue Series forum on national defense.
Cartwright, who retired in 2011 after 40 years of military service, expressed concern that the spending caps in the Budget Control Act (BCA) of 2011 were coming to be seen not as the ceiling for defense spending but as the floor.
“I’m not saying don’t go buy the F-35s,” the former general added. “I’m just saying that without an imperative, we (the military) don’t change our behavior. We just keep buying the same things. And I worry that absent the Budget Control Act, there won’t be sufficient imperative on the national security side to go after the creative and the differentiating type of capabilities that we’re going to need.”
The program was presented by First Budget — a joint initiative of The Concord Coalition and Fix the Debt — and the Iowa Caucus Consortium, The Greater Des Moines Partnership and Microsoft.