Since the Budget Control Act went into effect, the U.S. military has been operating in a particularly tumultuous budgetary environment. Partly in an attempt to rectify problems from years past, this year’s defense plan from the armed services committees totals near $700 billion, although it is not yet clear if Congress really will appropriate amounts of that magnitude, given the binding constraints of the Budget Control Act and other fiscal realities. Amidst these concerns, a high operational tempo continues to threaten readiness across the services. There also remains a need to innovate and address multiple ongoing threats across the world.
On October 11, the Foreign Policy program at Brookings hosted an event examining the full range of defense concerns and priorities ahead. Featured speakers included Representative Rick Larsen, D-Wash., and Representative Don Bacon, R-Neb., both of whom sit on the House Armed Services Committee. Michael O’Hanlon, Brookings senior fellow, interviewed the congressmen and moderated the discussion.