Our country is strained by decades of deficit spending and an ever-increasing national debt.

Most annual spending is not even voted on, and the largest department in the discretionary budget is mostly kept off the table for reforms.

This department, the Pentagon, has yet to complete an audit, and too often, the default position is to circle the wagons around any attempts to reform spending or cut programs, even in cases where the Pentagon itself requests the change.

Few would dispute the importance of the constitutional imperative to provide for the common defense, but when dollars are a surrogate for strategy, both troops and taxpayers suffer.

Troops at Risk
Troops at Risk

  • Inefficient operations make America less able to confront threats abroad, and unnecessary spending prevents prioritization of programs that keep our troops safe in the field.
  • Under risk of shutdown, military leaders must budget under continuing resolutions, damaging readiness and future planning. Pentagon officials are forced to advocate for every dollar they can get, unsure where the next will come from, incentivized not to cut waste in the hope of getting what they need for vital needs.
Troops at Risk
Taxpayers at Risk

  • Overspending causes slower economic growth and fewer jobs due to crowding out of private markets, and increases pressure for tax hikes down the road to pay for today’s spending.
  • When the largest department in the discretionary budget is off the table for meaningful reforms, necessary cuts become less attractive than trading more spending for more spending.

Adm. Michael G. Mullen, USN (Ret.), former Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman, has said:


“The health of the country, the prosperity we care about, and the security we care about are just inextricably linked ... if we don’t get our fiscal house in order, it’s going to dramatically affect our security of our country.”

Guide for a Strong America seeks to identify potential trade-offs that will keep America safe while caring for troop needs and economic realities – which is not a mutually exclusive proposition.

  • “If we are going to effectively tackle the long-term national security threat posed by our national debt, then we need to seriously examine how our defense dollars are being spent. Waste and inefficiency within the Pentagon not only contributes to our nation’s debt and deficit, it also diminishes the effectiveness of our nation’s armed forces."

    Dan Caldwell, USMC (ret.)
    Concerned Veterans for America

    “I'm concerned that our increasing fractious political process, particularly with respect to federal spending, is threatening our ability to properly defend our nation both in the short term and especially in the long term."

    Dan Coats
    Director of National Intelligence

    “This guide is a much-needed first step toward encouraging politicians to consider all available options for substantive Pentagon reform. Our troops deserve better than broken bureaucracy, and politicians shouldn't fool themselves into thinking that throwing money at the problem is the solution."

    Capt. Dan Grazier, USMC (ret.)
    Project on Government Oversight