Michael W. California

On the state of the defense budget

The budget of the Department of Defense is far larger than what this country can support, this author proposes a reduction of the budget and an allocation of the freed up resources to other areas.

To the 45th President of the United States of America

I am a dual enrollment student at Santa Barbara City College and I have recently been studying the United States Government partly because of the assignments of my class, and partly because of my own political aspirations. In my reading and learning about the federal budget, I have discovered something queer in it’s makeup. Namely, that the budget for the Department of Defense, at least for discretionary spending, is equal to the budgets of all the other government departments combined. In fact, in the proposed discretionary fiscal layout for 2016 (National Priorities Project), the Military swallowed up 54% of the entire budget.

Not that there aren't good reasons for this figure, the first being R&D, and the second being the fact that in the entire world, there are at least 700 United States Military bases (http://news.nationalpost.com/news/graphics/graphic-mapping-a-superpower-sized-military). Whatever the purpose for this mass deployment around the world, I am certain that we could get by with only three quarters of these bases, or even just half, and that the budget of the DoD could be reduced accordingly. I have two reasons for this line of thought.

First: the chance for internal infrastructural growth. This country’s infrastructure is in a deplorable state, and the budget allocated to it is nowhere near enough to pay for simple upkeep, let alone modernization. Actual growth could easily be accomplished if we reduce the DoD budget. Education could also benefit by this reduction in budget, for it would be able to employ more university professors and take in more students. This would be key in creating a technologically advanced Armed Forces, and expanding the economy of the country in general.

My second point is that, as Dwight Eisenhower pointed out, a Military-Industrial Complex has formed. The large budget is partly a result of this complex forming, and one of it’s primary incentives for forming. In the first place, money dedicated to R&D is not used by the Armed Forces directly, it is instead doled out to corporations selected to carry out whatever contract for a weapon system the military needs to be created. Armed Forces officers often benefit by this relationship, as they are given corporate jobs after their time in the army is finished, and thus have a real incentive to please the people who truly sign their checks.

This is the rationale for cutting the defense budget, but it falls to our Commander-in-Chief to consider whether this would be the correct course of action to take. I would say to you this; we must secure our own house before we go on any military adventures. This country can support the type of army the government has created, but we need a strong industrial base, and a well educated populace. In my personal opinion, we must secure ourselves, before we can return to our great worldly presence.

Yours truly,

Michael W.