Pushing Partisanship Aside

In an open letter on Monday, a bipartisan group of 25 members of the national security think-tank community urged Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and congressional defense overseers to address the “growing imbalances within the defense budget” before they “threaten the health and long-term viability of America’s volunteer military.” Associated with think tanks ranging from the liberal Center for American Progress to the conservative American Enterprise Institute, these experts called for an additional BRAC round, a thorough review of the appropriate size and structure of the civilian workforce, and a comprehensive evaluation and modernization of the military compensation system. The June 3 missive acknowledges that “there is no shortage of useful ideas” to address these concerns and that no change will be painless. During a Monday panel discussion on Capitol Hill (see below), members of this group argued it’s critical for the Obama Administration and Congress to take action now. “Those of us who have joined together in support of these efforts find ourselves with differing views on many other issues, including the proper level of defense spending and how that money can best be allocated,” states the letter. “But, we are all in strong agreement on the need to pursue these key reforms for a transforming military.” (See also link to video of the Capitol Hill briefing.)