The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018, signed into law on February 9, is in many ways a victory for defense hawks in Congress and the administration. It increases defense funding by $165 billion over the next two years—the most that anyone could have reasonably expected. But defense hawks shouldn’t start popping the champagne corks just yet. While this deal may ease the budget pressures on the Department of Defense (DoD) for now, it comes with many risks—namely that policymakers will lose interest in much needed defense reforms and squander much of the additional funding.
CSIS hosted a roundtable discussion on the prospects for rationalizing the Department of Defense’s real property assets in a strategic context. These experts from across the political spectrum and with widely divergent views on national security nevertheless agreed that some process for base closure and realignment was needed. They also discussed how any future base closure and realignment process needed to learn from the past, to be fair to the local communities, and to accommodate congressional concerns.
On August 1, DoD submitted a report to Congress outlining its plans to split the responsibilities of the current Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition Technology and Logistics (AT&L) into two new positions. Rhys McCormick and Andrew Hunter answer the critical questions surrounding the reorganization of the defense acquisition system.
One of the largest sources of waste in the defense budget is the massive number of excess bases DoD maintains in the United States. The military has requested permission from Congress to launch another round of base closures every year, projecting savings of roughly $2 billion per year. But every year, Congress denies those requests.
By the end of June, we should have an idea of what the FY 2018 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) will look like, and acquisition reform is sure to be on the agenda. Andrew Hunter explains why we should avoid the standard cynicism surrounding acquisition reform efforts and analyzes HASC Chairman Mac Thornberry’s latest bill.
As the President-elect has indicated since winning the election, defense reform is likely to remain a high priority in the new administration. Decisions that the new administration make over the coming years will shape the future military. This analysis provides recommendations that should be considered for reforming the defense budget.
Given the various foreign policy and national security challenges, it will be critical that the new administration develop a strategic approach for their policy objectives. Strategy will help the new administration achieve goals, drive change, and determine which issues may benefit from continuity. This analysis provides recommended steps for an effective review process to help develop a strategy for national security challenges.
With the expansion of presidential war powers and an incoming administration, Congress is in an ideal position to reconsider the appropriate relationship with the executive branch on the use of force. This report provides a recommendation Congress should consider to re-establishing Congress’ role in authorizing military operations.