National Security Strategy – Possibly Outdated, Definitely Expensive

Trump's First National Security StrategyNational Security Strategy – Possibly Outdated, Definitely ExpensiveSo much for reducing debt.

National Security  | Quick Take
Dec 19, 2017  | 3 min read | Print Article

Even at Taxpayers for Common Sense we can’t be “all tax policy; all the time.” So when President Trump released his National Security Strategy earlier this week, we dove right in and pored through it looking for interesting nuggets. For instance:

Under Pillar I: “Protect the American People, the Homeland, and the American Way of Life” a high priority is listed as keeping America safe from cyber threats. At TCS we agree with this idea and believe the U.S. is vulnerable to cyber attacks. But we also know that billions of dollars have been spent without a clear indication that our government assets are any safer. How much has been spent? No one seems to be able to answer that question but you can review our deep dive on this issue and use our data visualization tool to learn more.

Under Pillar II: “Promote American Security” the new strategy notes, “The national debt, now over $20 trillion, presents a grave threat to America’s long-term prosperity and, by extension, our national security.” We couldn’t agree more with the sentiment but we question how adding to the debt and the deficit by employing off-budget spending lines such as the Overseas Contingency Operations account and the new National Defense Restoration Fund will help to reduce the debt. (Not to mention a deficit-fueled tax cut totaling more than $1 trillion – sorry couldn’t help a little tax there).

Under Pillar III: “Preserve Peace Through Strength” the Trump administration continues to beat the drum for the need to buy more defense items from American manufacturers. We’ve said this before and we’ll keep on saying it: our troops deserve nothing less than the best equipment that money can buy, no matter where it is manufactured. This false narrative, reinforced by Congressional parochialism, that only American companies should be allowed to produce equipment for the Pentagon is both outdated and potentially dangerous.

And also under the Pillar III, the President reiterates his belief that all three legs of the nuclear triad must be modernized. However, as the Congressional Budget Office noted in its most recent cost estimate for modernizing nuclear weapons and their delivery systems, we’re going to need about $1.3 trillion to accomplish this. So much for reducing the debt.

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We’ll keep reading and writing about the new strategy.