Feb. 2: Your Day of Defense Budget Reckoning
If it doesn’t make any sense to you to spare defense programs from the spending freeze, pay attention to next Tuesday. At 8:30 a.m., Undersecretary of Defense Michele Flournoy heads to the Council on Foreign Relations to explain the results of the forthcoming Quadrennial Defense Review, the Pentagon’s master planning document that spells out defense priorities and guides its medium-term budgeting. In any QDR, you can read between the lines and find defense programs that don’t fit into the overall document’s vision of a prudent defense. Cutting those programs is a good test of an administration’s commitment to fighting Pentagon bloat.
But only spend an hour with Flournoy! At 9:30 a.m., Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Adm. Michael Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, will testify before the Senate Armed Services Committee about the next year’s defense budget. Watch to see if Gates and Mullen say that they’re using the QDR — as they’ve indicated in the past — to guide further defense cuts to wasteful programs.
Also, I don’t see a link yet, but CNN’s Dana Bash tweets that Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) says that the Pentagon and the Department of Homeland Security should be included in the spending freeze.