Free Market Groups' Study Shows How Conservatives Can Reform Pentagon Budget; Offers 100 Savings Options Totaling $1.9 Trillion

Jun 04, 2013, 15:16 ET from National Taxpayers Union

ALEXANDRIA, Va., June 4, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Is it possible to defend America's national interests and defend taxpayers' wallets at the same time? According to a joint report released today from the free-market National Taxpayers Union (NTU) and the R Street Institute, the answer is an emphatic "Yes." The study, designed to help show politically conservative leaders how they can balance defense and fiscal policy in a thoughtful way, outlines 100 specific policy changes worth $1.9 trillion in savings over various periods of time.


The study's authors, NTU Executive Vice President Pete Sepp and R Street Institute Senior Fellow and Outreach Director Andrew Moylan, do not suggest that enactment of the entire list from beginning to end is desirable or feasible; many proposals would overlap or conflict with each other. Rather, the recommendations illustrate the full range of options available to policymakers. Among them:

  • Wasteful, unnecessary, or low-priority weapons systems, such as the SM-3 Block II-B missile (eliminated in favor of less expensive options), the F-35 fighter (replaced with other jets), refurbishment of M-1 tanks (delayed), and the Virginia class submarine (reduced in procurement). 50 recommendations for $385.8 billion in savings.
  • Personnel, compensation, and benefit reforms ranging from less spending on military bands to capping the troop presence in Europe; from health care benefit restructuring to adjusting the "high-three" retirement formula. 20 recommendations for $618.6 billion in savings.
  • Overhauling deficient processes and management structures, including a reduction in DoD printing costs, consolidation of foreign language contracts, combining support services at joint bases, and a full audit of Pentagon finances. 30 recommendations for $878.5 billion in savings.

The paper also briefly recounts the history of conservative involvement in military spending restraint, and provides seven suggestions to help conservatives "move beyond occasional success and become an ongoing influence" in Pentagon budgeting decisions. Among them: resurrect a version of the Congressional Military Reform Caucus (which rose to prominence in the 1980s), this time with a broader mission of exploring the viability of certain military strategies in a fiscal context.

"Although in past decades fiscal conservatives have not been silent in the discussion over Pentagon spending, we must now find a stronger voice on behalf of a defense posture that reflects the limited-government values of our movement," Moylan and Sepp concluded. "Keeping the nation safe from its enemies is the most important task of the federal government, one that means planning for economic as well as military strength."

NTU is a nonpartisan citizen organization founded in 1969 to work for lower taxes and limited government. The R Street Institute is a think tank founded in 2012 that supports free markets, limited and effective government, and responsible environmental stewardship. The report, Defending America, Defending Taxpayers: How Pentagon Spending Can Better Reflect Conservative Values, is available at

SOURCE National Taxpayers Union