Getting outside the box on national defense

A quick shout-out for two studies you should look at, particularly if you’re interested on how the United States could spend less money on defense without making itself dangerously insecure. The first is Debts, Deficits, and Defense: A Way Forward, and is from the Program for Defense Alternatives here in Boston. The second is a ...

Walt-Steve-foreign-policy-columnist20
Walt-Steve-foreign-policy-columnist20
Stephen M. Walt
By , a columnist at Foreign Policy and the Robert and Renée Belfer professor of international relations at Harvard University.
SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images
SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images
SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images

A quick shout-out for two studies you should look at, particularly if you're interested on how the United States could spend less money on defense without making itself dangerously insecure. The first is Debts, Deficits, and Defense: A Way Forward, and is from the Program for Defense Alternatives here in Boston. The second is a study by Patrick Cronin of the Center for New American Security, entitled "Restraint: Recalibrating American Strategy."   There are points I might challenge in both studies, but each one shows smart people wrestling with the fiscal and strategic realities that are going to shape U.S. national security policy in the years and decades to come. To their credit, the authors of both studies are not wedded to inside-the-Beltway orthodoxy and they recognize that the United States will be much better off once it reduces its current level of over-commitment. 

A quick shout-out for two studies you should look at, particularly if you’re interested on how the United States could spend less money on defense without making itself dangerously insecure. The first is Debts, Deficits, and Defense: A Way Forward, and is from the Program for Defense Alternatives here in Boston. The second is a study by Patrick Cronin of the Center for New American Security, entitled "Restraint: Recalibrating American Strategy."   There are points I might challenge in both studies, but each one shows smart people wrestling with the fiscal and strategic realities that are going to shape U.S. national security policy in the years and decades to come. To their credit, the authors of both studies are not wedded to inside-the-Beltway orthodoxy and they recognize that the United States will be much better off once it reduces its current level of over-commitment. 

Stephen M. Walt is a columnist at Foreign Policy and the Robert and Renée Belfer professor of international relations at Harvard University. Twitter: @stephenwalt

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