Welcome to the Defense Download! This new round‐up is intended to highlight what we at the Cato Institute are keeping tabs on in the world of defense politics every week. The three‐to‐five trending stories will vary depending on the news cycle, what policymakers are talking about, and will pull from all sides of the political spectrum. If you would like to recieve more frequent updates on what I’m reading, writing, and listening to—you can follow me on Twitter via @CDDorminey.
- “Bolton Calls National Debt ‘Economic Threat’ to US,” Toluse Olorunnipa. Hot off the presses! National Security Advisor John Bolton calls for significant cuts to discretionary spending in order to get the country back on the path of fiscal sustainability. The new trajectory? Bolton, and the President himself, have called for defense spending to be cut or levelled off in the short-term—a radical change from the administration’s previous two budgets.
- “In The Shadow of Reagan’s Legacy, Trump Is Failing,” Alexandra Bell. This article talks about why Reagan negotiated the INF treaty that President Trump is trying to dismantle and juxtaposes Reagan’s belief in arms control as a stabilizing force against the current administration’s actions.
- “The Nation Needs A 400‐Ship Navy,” Thomas Callender. In the interest of showing the true breadth of this field, I’ve included this new report by the Heritage Foundation that calls for an increase over the adminstration’s current 355‐ship plan for the Navy. Building to a 400‐ship Navy will require $4–6 billion more annually than is already allocated, during a time of competing priorities and sky‐high debt (see first article).
- “Mattis wants to boost fighter readiness. Here’s how industry could help,” Valerie Insinna. Last month, Secretary Mattis said that he’d like to get fighter readiness up to 80 percent—this would include all the F-35, F-22, F-16, and F/A-18 fighter jets. Readiness has been a rallying cry from the Pentagon for several years, but if Mattis intends to put his money where his mouth is, that could mean fewer dollars for new procurement projects in favor of upgrading and sustaining current platforms.