Budgets, especially at the federal level, are never easy things to get right the first time, and unfortunately President Trump’s proposed budget falls into that most common category.
While I certainly applaud a budget that strives for national security, the idea of increasing defense spending on the backs of the diplomacy and development aid is not only misguided, it’s dangerous. Earlier this week, I co-authored a letter saying just that; the letter was signed by more than 120 retired generals and admirals and was submitted to congressional leaders and the Trump administration. I spoke with MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell about it, which you can watch below:
As I told The New York Times in an interview, so often, the far less expensive ‘soft power’ tools — humanitarian relief, medical diplomacy, foreign aid and strategic communications, for example — are under sister agencies such as the State Department and USAID; cutting them harshly, like the President has proposed, would be a mistake.
However, when focusing on the defense budget increase alone, the American people need to know how the additional funding will be spent. I hope the administration will focus on expanding 21st century assets, like cyber, unmanned vehicles and Special Forces. In addition, as an admiral, I know that the U.S. Navy’s fleet is in need of updated technology, including new ballistic missile submarines, which serve as the backbone of our nuclear deterrence strategy, Joint Strike Fighters, and more Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense Systems that have the ability to knock down impeding nuclear strikes. I spoke with Bloomberg radio about the Navy’s needs and more – you can listen to that conversation here.
While the U.S. military may be due for a few upgrades, it is still unmatched when compared to any other military in the world. I spoke with WBUR’s Radio Boston about this. You can find the interview here.
Although I do believe we need an increase in defense spending in some form, in the end, cutting state and foreign aid would only serve to diminish our security. I discussed this with MSNBC’s Morning Joe, and you can watch the segment here.
As always, thank you for reading.
Dean Stavridis with his basset hound, Lilly.
Dean James Stavridis is the 12th leader of The Fletcher School since its founding in 1933. A retired Admiral in the U.S. Navy, he led the NATO Alliance in global operations from 2009 to 2013 as Supreme Allied Commander.
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