Throughout the Republican presidential primary race, there has been no shortage of comments by the candidates on their views of the Pentagon budget. The topic has been highlighted in debates, press releases, and interviews, and it is not going away. Unfortunately, the candidates are being unrealistic, vague, or both, about their plans for the appropriate levels of defense spending.
The Army JLENS blimp fiasco, the $43 million Afghan gas station, the fumbling F-35 program, the NDAA veto, government shutdowns, the Syrian train-and-equip program, etc. These are just some of the issues that have come up in recent times that highlight the desperate need to work towards defense reform in the United States. And the work should start now.
Sequestration, the budget mechanism that kicks in if and only if Congress does not budget to the caps set under the 2011 Budget Control Act, has been framed as the big bad wolf of Washington. But this frequent mischaracterization of sequestration as a vague, threatening entity neglects a key facet of budget construction: sequestration won’t kick in unless Congress fails to do its job.