Jointness, meaning cross-service cooperation, is generally a good thing. But one can have too much of a good thing, and the Pentagon has too much jointness. Jointness in organizing military operations makes so much sense that the concept is overprescribed. Enhancing interservice competition for resources and relevance would encourage military innovation, civilian control, and economies in the vast Pentagon budget.
In this episode of The Truth of the Matter podcast, host Andrew Schwartz welcomes Kathleen Hicks, Andrew Hunter, and Todd Harrison from the CSIS International Security Program to discuss the Bad Ideas in National Security series. In addition to analyzing their own pieces, they nominate their frontrunners for what might be considered the “worst” bad idea.
Critics of Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) funds point to regular base budget activities funded under OCO and its use to skirt discretionary spending limits. However, blaming OCO for our defense budget blunders, or calling for its complete elimination, punishes those who need OCO’s benefits without effectively punishing those who’ve instigated its abuse.
President Trump signed off on a two-year budget deal that does many good things: it keeps that the government running, raises the debt ceiling, funds defense and domestic programs at levels their proponents can accept and does all this two months before the fiscal year begins. The downside is that the deal adds $1.6 trillion to the deficit over the next ten years, a bill the current generation has no intention of paying and which it happily sends to its children and grandchildren.