This memorandum describes what I believe are serious problems in our defense budget and some ideas to address them. I appreciate that some of these thoughts are controversial – even to the point that I have some reluctance in suggesting them. However, if we are to fulfill our mandate, we must make some difficult choices, not just recommend that others do so. In other cases, such as exacting financial accountability from the Department of Defense, I believe we all can agree. Indeed, without our adopting controversial, but vitally important, ideas, I fear we cannot achieve our mandate.
Despite the sacrifice, heroism, and professionalism that our military personnel have shown in Iraq and Afghanistan, America’s defenses have been decaying, despite – perhaps even because of – increasing budgets. The ongoing corrosion and growing expense have been with us for decades, and span numerous presidents and political parties. Our Commission affords us an opportunity to start some very late due diligence on national defense spending. If these reforms are taken without the usual forms of compromise that always seem to occur – and prevailing practices that corrode our defenses are truly discarded – a stronger American military will result.