Defense Spending, National Security, and the War on Terrorism

Policy Forum
February 10, 2005
12:00PM to 2:30PM EST
Featuring Charles V. Peña, Cato Institute; Stanley Weiss, Business Executives for National Security; Winslow Wheeler, Author, Wastrels of Defense; and moderated by Christopher Preble, Cato Institute.
The fiscal year 2005 defense budget is more than $400 billion, a seven percent increase over the FY04 defense budget. The administration argues that the increased military spending is necessary for the war on terrorism. The Defense Department projects its budget to grow to more than $487 billion in FY09. Is that sum necessary for U.S. national security and to fight the war on terrorism? How much of the defense budget is wasted on nonessential projects? How can defense spending be better allocated? With the defense budget comprising nearly half of all government discretionary spending, and with U.S. defense spending projected to eclipse what the other nations of the world combined spend on defense before the end of this decade, can the United States sustain such high levels of defense expenditures?