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9) Won’t the plan’s defense cuts threaten national security?

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Admiral Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has said that the greatest threat to our national security is our debt.  As Senator Tom Coburn said during the Commission deliberations, “peace through strength can’t be achieved by wasting money. We’re buying things we don’t need.” The practice of deciding what constitutes a strong defense purely on the budgetary top line has led to a process in which there is not as much scrutiny of how money is being spent. With all this and much other evidence, the Commission concluded that the Department of Defense and other security agencies can greatly reduce spending and increase efficiency without affecting their ability to keep our nation secure.

A recent GAO report on duplication and overlap in government identified billions of dollars of savings that could be achieved through greater efficiencies and consolidation of functions within the Department of Defense. The Commission put forward over $100 billion in illustrative defense savings options, including eliminating wasteful and outdated weapon systems, reducing the number of contractors, and reducing excessive defense entitlements. None of these reforms would impact force structure or do anything to undermine our national defense.