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New Report: Unified Security Budget Task Force Recommends Spending Reforms to Strengthen National Security, Reduce the Deficit

October 31, 2012

Narrows Funding Gap Between Offense and Prevention to Strengthen Security, Reduce Deficit, Create Jobs

Washington DC — As sequestration is being intensely debated in Congress, the Unified Security Task Force today released “Rebalancing Our National Security: The Benefits of Implementing a Unified Security Budget,” recommending military spending shifts to shed wasteful programs and to balance offense and prevention with the aim of strengthening security and reaching the achievable target of $1 trillion in cuts over 10 years. Within the decade, this plan would achieve a 20 percent increase in the international affairs budget—concentrated in the core missions of diplomacy and development—and focus on investments in climate stabilization, while allowing for $200 billion for deficit reduction and $240 billion for domestic nation-building.

Read the full report here.

“As we wind down two wars, we can responsibly begin to reduce a military budget that has grown larger during the post-9/11 period than at any time since World War II,” said Miriam Pemberton, co-author of the report and research fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies. “At the same time, we can shift resources to strengthen our engagement with the rest of the world. This report lays out a blueprint for doing so.”

“The report critiques the funding imbalance between the military (Defense Department) and nonmilitary (State Department and Department of Homeland Security) components of the American security apparatus. And it injects some sanity and real numbers into the political debate over how to best protect U.S. national security,” said Lawrence J. Korb, report co-author, Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress, and former assistant secretary of defense under President Ronald Reagan. “We need to protect the underfunded nonmilitary programs that help our nation defend itself and prevent global crises from escalating into military confrontations, which are often costly in both American lives and dollars. The military can become leaner and stronger, but politicians need to consider the broad array of security tools at their disposal.”

This report further recommends that the largest addition to the prevention budget be in the area of climate security and requests that the federal budget process include a climate change mission area. Federal expenditures on climate should be accounted for, as was a duty of the Office of Management and Budget before the requirement was recently suspended by Congress, and presented in a unified way in the federal budget. Because of the U.S. military’s real and growing concern over climate change as a threat multiplier—a phenomenon with the ability to exacerbate and accelerate instability and conflict—this unified security budget proposes to add $20 billion a year in investments to stabilize the climate through domestic and global efforts.

Read the full report here.

To speak with Institute for Policy Studies research fellow and report co-author Miriam Pemberton, please contact Lacy MacAuley at 202-445-4692, or lacy@ips-dc.org. To speak with Center for American Progress Senior Fellow and report co-author Lawrence J. Korb, please contact Christina DiPasquale at 202.481.8181 or cdipasquale@americanprogress.org.

A full listing of members of the Unified Security Task Force—with expertise in defense spending through the Department of Homeland Security, offense spending through the Department of Defense, and prevention spending through nonmilitary foreign engagement programs in the Department of State and the U.S. Agency for International Development—can be found in the report here.

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The Unified Security Budget Task Force has reported annually since 2004 on the imbalance in security spending, which is tilted to heavily toward military expenditures.

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