The Pentagon Budget: Prospects for Reform

Policy Forum
March 16, 2015
12:00PM to 1:30PM
Hayek Auditorium
Featuring Dov S. Zakheim, Senior Advisor, Center for Strategic and International Studies; Mackenzie Eaglen, Resident Fellow at the Marilyn Ware Center for Security Studies, American Enterprise Institute; Todd Harrison, Senior Fellow, Defense Budget Studies, Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments; and Christopher A. Preble, Vice President for Defense and Foreign Policy Studies, Cato Institute; moderated by Kate Brannen, Senior Reporter, Foreign Policy.

During the Cold War, annual Pentagon spending averaged about $458 billion in today’s prices; over the next decade, its projected budget will average over half a trillion dollars per year. Yet, while our spending is consistent with Cold War levels, that money pays for fewer troops; supports less base capacity; and buys fewer ships, aircraft, and tanks. In short, we are getting less bang for our buck. And the situation is only getting worse as personnel costs continue to demand an ever-increasing share of the Pentagon’s budget.

There is broad agreement that reforms are needed. But what reforms? And are they possible? Our panel of experts will seek to answer these questions, highlighting the changes they believe are necessary to cure the Pentagon’s spending ills, and debating whether such reforms are politically viable. Please join us for this important discussion.