While the conventional wisdom holds that the United States Congress can be a hindrance to U.S. military planning and budgeting, history tells a different story. From the acquisition of aircraft carriers and submarines in the 1930s to unmanned vehicles in the 2000s, Congress has played a vital advocacy role in America’s defense innovation process.
Today, in a time of constrained budgets and amidst a refocus to the Asia-Pacific region, many questions remain about the proper force structure and defense strategy for the U.S. military, including:
- How should the Pentagon prepare for the future under the budget burden of sequestration?
- What technologies and future warfighting strategies will the United States need to adopt to dominate the battlefields of tomorrow?
- What opportunities exist for Congress to help prepare the Pentagon for these new warfighting regimes?
On July 24, the Center for 21st Century Security and Intelligence at Brookings hosted a conversation with Reps. J. Randy Forbes and Jim Langevin. Rep. Forbes is the chairman of the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Seapower and Projection Forces, where he is responsible for the sustainment of Navy and Marine Corps programs as well as the Air Force bomber and tanker fleets. Rep. Langevin is the ranking member of the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Intelligence, Emerging Threats and Capabilities and is widely seen as a leader on national security and cybersecurity issues. Michael O’Hanlon, senior fellow and director of research for Foreign Policy at Brookings, moderated the discussion.