A veto threat by Obama and a concerted effort by Senator McCain and others resulted in a huge symbolic defeat for the military-industrial complex. It feels good to know that we are slowly getting our priorities closer to where they need to be.
This is a great start. We need a strong military. The world needs someone to defend those who can’t defend themselves and it’s our responsibility to step into that role. No one else can lead the effort to make this world a better place. Let’s make our military stronger by making it smarter, shutting down programs that don’t work and using the money we save to help others.
Here are a few suggestions for some programs we should be shutting down:
- So-called missile defense programs should be next up for major cuts. Missile defense efforts do nothing except inflame other countries and spend large quantities of our money. They do nothing to protect us or anyone else.
- We need to work on reducing our nuclear stockpiles in concert with Russia. These weapons have no military use and never have. Let’s talk ourselves and Russia down off the roof and begin quickly reducing our nuclear weapons toward zero.
- Our Navy needs to remain strong because it’s a primary way we get our troops and heavy equipment to where they need to be and of course it’s a primary way of projecting our power. But we need to take a hard look at whether we continue to need Big Navy systems like nuclear attack submarines, destroyers, and carriers. The answer may well be yes, but we need to ask the question.
- We need to aggressively cancel weapons systems that don’t fit the modern world. We are getting better at this, canceling some systems designed for cold war adversaries, but we can do much better.
As soon as practical, we need to reduce our reliance on defense and other government contractors to provide critical services. We need to make government jobs competitive in salary, environment, and prestige with private sector jobs in order to attract the best talent into the government. A government that’s dependent on contractors, who often have interests quite different from those of the government, is not going to serve the country as well as it should. The government needs a cadre of leaders and technical experts that rival the best the private sector has to offer and that have as their primary interest the benefit of the nation. Only that fundamental change will create the government that we need.