Some progressive members of the Democratic Party are calling for a cut in defense spending to free up money for domestic programs. However, that might create consequences that are at odds with what progressives want. The Pentagon budget is an economic stimulus and jobs generator for thousands of communities, not to mention the closest thing Washington has to an industrial policy. Only 3% of the budget is currently spent on prosecuting foreign wars in places like Afghanistan. Budget cuts could bring a return of readiness issues that endanger warfighters and undermine the new administration’s credibility on national security. Beyond that, the military needs a technology refresh if it is to keep up with China’s military modernization, and the jobs created in the process could impact voting in swing states. I have written a commentary for Forbes here.
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