Share your views on hot topics

Do you favor U.S. defense budget cuts?

September 5, 2011

The U.S. Defense Department is preparing to cut at least $350 billion from its previously projected spending through the next decade. Additional Pentagon cuts of up to $600 billion would kick in absent congressional passage by year’s end of at least $1.2 trillion more in deficit reduction over the same period.

Last week, General David Petraeus, while retiring from the Army to become CIA director, warned against sacrificing U.S. military capabilities to ease the budget woes. How will the savings, if implemented, affect the level of national security? On the tenth anniversary of September 11 attacks how safe do you feel?

At the Reuters Aerospace and Defense Summit in Washington DC from September 6 to 8 top executives from leading Pentagon suppliers and other experts in the sector will be interviewed by Reuters reporters on the expected cuts and more topics from cybersecurity to big-ticket arms programs such as the $382 billion-plus F-35 fighter aircraft, the Pentagon’s costliest purchase.

Will the expected U.S. defense budget cuts jeopardize national security?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

According to the Preamble of the US Constitution we have the obligation to provide for the defense of the country. I would go much further; we must have a stable country meaning without the proper defense programs or defense initiatives our country cannot provide any of the freedoms we enjoy now. The preamble reads, “We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.’
If anyone has any doubts take a look at Libya, Egypt, Iraq, Pakistan, and now Syria! They have, “a perfect union, justice, tranquility, general welfare or liberty” due to a lack of internal defense or security required for a stable free government! If we continue to dilute the Military our country will fall even quicker! What we have to do is evaluate and make smart cuts not arbitrary cuts based on governmental or political pressure!

Posted by Jusaf2 | Report as abusive

The deeper the better. We could halve the budget and still have more military power than we need to defend the homeland.

Posted by anarcurt | Report as abusive

I say demobilize all military forces and have a skeleton crew to train people to repel an invasion (hint: it won’t happen).

Shut down the DoD, Homeland Security, CIA, military aspects of State, etc. Shut them all down.

Retrain the engineers in the DoD industries to work on renewable energy and solutions to improve everyday life.


Eisenhower was right…

Posted by upstater | Report as abusive

Jusaf2..that was about the dumbest post I’ve ever read. If we keep spending money at the rate we are spending it (of which Defense is our single largest expense) there won’t be an America. We spend more on defense than the rest of the world combined. That is simply retarded. If we cut defense spending in half, we cut immediately cut this years deficit by a third. And we’d still spend more money on defense than the rest of the world combined.

Posted by xyz2055 | Report as abusive

“We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

Let’s see, one out of six is “defense.” So, maybe one sixth of the budget should be for defense. Today, approximately $1 Trillion is spent on defense and related activities out of a total budget of $3.456 Trillion. That’s approximately 29% of the total US budget.

Thus, it could be argued that the total defense and defense related budget shouldn’t exceed $576 Billion. In other words, we should cut the defense and defense related budgets by 44% or $424 Billion. Over ten years that $4.24 Trillion.

During the mid to late 1990s when we were most prosperous the inflation adjusted defense and defense related spending was about $400 Billion. So, it really wouldn’t be hard to save $600 Billion per year for a ten year savings of $6 Trillion.

Posted by GCN | Report as abusive

Our defense budget is SIX TIMES the next largest country’s military machine! China has one carrier, we have ELEVEN!

Now if that isn’t utterly out of control I don’t know what is…

Posted by stanrich | Report as abusive

U.S. spends more on defense than the whole friggin planet COMBINED. I think we’re safe from other countries. I’m not so sure about from our own though.

Posted by azjoe13 | Report as abusive

Gut the military. It is grossly bloated. It is a cancer in our economic survival. We can’t afford this anymore.

Posted by 24dogs1cat | Report as abusive

500 billion dollars a year and rising for the pentagon and for what? to take on two bit dictators? the threat of communist russia taking over the world is long gone (if it actually was a threat). most countries in the world that could be considered a threat wouldnt have weapons of mass destruction if we didnt sell them to them in the first place. the defense contractors will have to find another line of work.

Posted by moderator79 | Report as abusive

I see a lot of comments about the relative size of our military, but little discussion as to why it is the size it is. It is not simply because it is ‘bloated.’ Accumulating a military force of this magnitude is a deliberate action and it was done with a purpose, a purpose nobody so far has mentioned.

The US military plays an active role throughout the globe. We protect our allies and trading partners. We intervene militarily when nations infringe on the liberties of their people and their neighbors. We foster the creation of democracies in these nations. Historically, democratic nations do not attack each other, and this means more world peace. Democratic nations are more prone to accept capitalism and become trading partners for us and the rest of the world, meaning the economies of everyone grow.

We create weapons and weapons systems that are on the cutting edge of technology. This means we have to invest a lot of R&D dollars, and have many false starts. However, we are then able to resell these systems to our allies for a profit.

You may or may not agree with those purposes, but you should understand that they exist. You should understand that cutting back on our military means that there are less boots out there to respond to global events that destabilize markets and political systems. You should understand that you live in a globalized economy and you will feel the effects of these instabilities. You should understand that the UN is already tapped resource wise dealing with over 13 conflicts, and that there is nothing to fill the power vacuum left from a cut in US military power.

Posted by ItGotRidiculous | Report as abusive

@ ItGotRidiculous: Let’s re-phrase this accurately, without the Nixonian ideology:

The US military plays an active role throughout the globe. We “protect” our allies and trading partners, some of whom don’t want our military “help.” We intervene militarily when it helps our corporate masters (which is nearly always), and we infringe on the liberties of other nations’ peoples and their neighbors. We historically lie in order to justify those interventions, such as with the Pueblo, the WMDs in Iraq, etc. We foster the creation of compliant capitalist regimes in these nations, often using force and assassination, and often in direct opposition to, and contrary to, our rhetoric regarding democracy. Historically, democratic nations do not attack each other, but we attack everyone, being presently engaged in six wars … and this means more world peace? Democratic nations are more prone to reject our militarism, where they can escape the economic dictates of the military-industrial complex our own president warned us about, and instead direct their own production toward health care, education and infrastructure. Anyone can become trading partners for us, or will whether they want to or not, and we will use our military to restrict their trading opportunities with the rest of the world, meaning the economies of everyone are subject to exploitation, control and punitive correction, where deemed necessary.

There, that cleans that up. You had a couple grammatical errors, there.

George Orwell explained quite elegantly the purpose for war, in “1984″. As a veteran of the Spanish Civil War and the conflicts with the Bolsheviks (whom he detested), he saw very clearly that the purpose of war is to divert the production of the citizenry away from benefits for the citizenry. The purpose of war, and our ridiculous military-industrial complex, is to produce corporate profits, and to control the people. That is, our OWN people.

We will not be a truly free nation until we free ourselves from the dictatorial Sparta we have permitted to come into existence here.

Posted by BowMtnSpirit | Report as abusive

How much of our national security is threatened specifically because we have such a large and far-reaching military? National security and oil security have become synonymous and has made new enemies where perhaps none would have existed in the first place.

Posted by evolume | Report as abusive

We can be strong militarily without dedicating our entire budget to the process. The republicans have grown the defense budet, (even outstide the 2 wars) as a percentage of GDP over the past 10 years… We need to draw a line in the sand and spend our money wisely. Everyone wants to attack Medicare/medicate and Social Security as wastefull, but dig into that defense budget and see what waste there is there. How many Carrier Groups do we need to defend ourselves??? And Ohh by the way, where does it say we need to defend our allies for free? Isn’t it about time they started contributing? This is all such BS… Save the world, while the homefront is burning…

You’ve all drank the repub’s coolaid, and you will die from it…

Someone posted this article in another blog… I think it explains things quite well: lections-gop-operative-who-left-cult/131 4907779

Posted by not_fooled | Report as abusive

In 2001, defense spending was just over $300 billion and that couldn’t prevent a bunch of idealistic gangsters from hijacking planes and killing 3000 people. Now defense spending has more than doubled (nearly $700 billion). Sure, no more attacks on American soil, instead many more \ are dying on the other side of the globe. In Afganistan, 2606 coalition forces dead, 16000+ wounded, 14000 – 34000 civilians. Money well spent?
Republicans say “cut cut cut” but then say “WAR WAR WAR” in the same breath without a hint of irony.

Posted by evolume | Report as abusive

Not-so-funny fact: More Americans were killed by Iraq war than by 9/11. Thanks, Mr. Bush.

Posted by NewConstitution | Report as abusive

If box cutters, supposedly, were responsible for 9/11, who needs to spend the kind of money our defense establishment spends without adding to the security of the country? An intelligent human being can defeat any weapon system with a cheap anti-weapon. How about Molotov cocktail against tanks? Palestinians shooting cheap rockets at Israel? So, at the end of the day, do we feel more secure with the diamond paved weapons our defense establishment invents and produces, which then must be used to fight wars, and be replaced? This is a scheme to line pockets of politicians, who are paid out of profits these wars produce. It is more like military-industrial-political complex.

Posted by contrarianview | Report as abusive

The dollars we spent on Defense and war is enormous. We will not have a country left if we keep such spending. All empires in history have fallen because the war machine bankrupted their nation. We could cut the budget in half and still spend more than the largest countries in the world combined. First and foremost we need to concentrate on economic power, the standard of living, then military power will take care of itself.

Posted by DDavid | Report as abusive

i’ve read that Air Force has given clearance for its version of the Joint Strike Fighter to begin tests–a major milestone but the problem is. The program could cost a trillion dollars over the next 50 years. 79fc6f8fac85b000003/pentagon-you-know-wh at-s-cool-a-trillion-dollar-fighter?ev=1 0&evp=tl

Posted by johnysmith | Report as abusive

Post Your Comment

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see