In this Brookings Foreign Policy paper, Michael O’Hanlon suggests how the Pentagon might cut certain weapons, forces, and other capabilities that would cumulatively save up to $200 billion over ten years.
These savings would be greater than those assumed by the Pentagon in 2012. But they would be much less than those implied by possible sequestration or the Simpson-Bowles deficit reduction commission. O’Hanlon believes his moderate plan for defense cuts, while itself difficult to implement, is feasible within the basic national security strategy of the United States today—a strategy he supports. However, deeper cuts would require more fundamental changes to that strategy, and greater risks to national security. For these reasons, O’Hanlon argues against sequestration, or any other plan implying similar cuts to the ten-year defense plan. The ideas in this paper will be further developed in a forthcoming Brookings book by O’Hanlon later this spring.
At the end of the day, as we all know thorny national security issues don’t just involve the military; political-military considerations invariably bleed into them. If the senior military’s leadership views are going to be just constrained to military advice … who is thinking about issues from that broader perspective?
President-elect Bolsonaro has embraced tough-on-crime measures that egregiously violate basic human rights and eviscerate the rule of law. Responding to Brazil’s 63,880 homicides in 2017, Bolsonaro calls for increasing protection for police officers who kill alleged criminals and arming citizens. He calls for further militarizing urban policing, reducing the age of criminal liability from 18 to 16, reinstating the death penalty, authorizing torture in interrogations and imprisoning more people... Brazil’s police are already notorious for being one of the world’s deadliest in the use of force. In many favelas, Brazil’s retired and current police officers operate illegal militias that extort and control local communities, murdering those who oppose them and engaging in warfare with Brazil’s highly-violent gangs and in social cleansing. Bolsonaro is simply threatening to turn the rest of the police into state-sanctioned thugs.