U.S. Army Reserve soldiers receive an overview of Washington D.C. as part of the 4th Annual Day with the Army Reserve May 25, 2016. The event was led by the Private Public Partnership office. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. 1st Class Marisol Walker)
The Pentagon Authorization Bill Deserves to Be Defeated

Late on the night of June 21st, the House Armed Services Committee passed its version of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) by a vote of 58 to 1. The sole opponent of the bill as written was Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA).

Khanna’s reasons for voting against the bill were persuasive:

“I voted against the NDAA because it puts Pentagon spending on track to a trillion dollar defense budget. Too much of that money is going to defense contractors, who are ripping off American taxpayers at every turn by raising prices to unprecedented levels. . . . While we should invest in defense technologies of the future, we must focus on investing in the health of our people, in the education of our people, in the industries of the future as we compete with China, and mitigating the climate crisis, which is our greatest national security threat.”

Khanna suggests that the failure of other members of his committee to vote against the bill is attributable in part to “groupthink in the Beltway” and a fear of seeming weak on national security. But members of Congress need to go deeper, and not merely support a high top line figure for the Pentagon and assume that their responsibility for supporting an effective defense has thereby been discharged. The challenge is not how much to spend on the Pentagon, but whether the funds are being invested in capabilities that provide for a modern defense capability in service of a viable strategy.

Read the full piece in Forbes.

More from