U.S. President Joe Biden tours a Lockheed Martin weapons factory in Troy, Alabama, U.S. May 3, 2022. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

How Much Is Enough? Reining in Runaway Pentagon Spending

June 16, 2022
12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
Zoom Webinar

The Biden administration’s proposal for Fiscal Year 2023 of $813 billion for national defense is far higher than the peaks of the Korean or Vietnam Wars, and is well over $100 billion more than at the height of the Cold War.  And if hawks in Congress have their way, these staggering figures could be increased by an additional $50 to $100 billion.

Rather than being based on a carefully considered assessment of U.S. security interests, these enormous sums for the Pentagon are driven by a misguided defense strategy that seeks global military primacy; pork barrel politics and corporate influence over members of Congress with military factories or bases in their states or districts; and waste, fraud and abuse in the expenditure of defense dollars. 

This Quincy Institute panel will analyze the factors behind overspending on the Pentagon and propose reforms that can make America and the world safer at a considerably lower cost. The discussion will feature Gordon Adams, Distinguished Non-Resident Fellow at the Quincy Institute; Shailly Gupta Barnes, Policy Director, Kairos Center and the Poor People’s Campaign; and Julia Gledhill, analyst at the Project on Government Oversight. QI’s William Hartung will moderate.


Gordon Adams
Dr. Gordon Adams is a Distinguished Non-Resident Fellow at the Quincy Institute, Professor Emeritus of International Relations at American University’s School of International Service, and a Distinguished Fellow at the Stimson Center. From 1993-97 he was Associate Director for National Security Programs at the Office of Management and Budget, the senior White House official for diplomacy, foreign assistance, defense, and intelligence budgeting. He is author of The Iron Triangle, the Politics of Defense Contracting (1980), and co-author of Transforming European Militaries: Coalition Operations and the Technology Gap (2006) and Buying National Security: How America Buys and Pays for its Global Role and Safety at Home (2010).
Shailly Gupta Barnes
Shailly Barnes is the Policy Director for the Kairos Center and the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival. She has a background in law, economics and human rights and has spent over 15 years working with and for poor and dispossessed communities. Around poverty, systemic racism, ecological devastation and militarism, Shailly has worked with policy experts, impacted people and lawmakers to: develop reports, policy briefings, articles, fact sheets, testimonies and other resources; organize hearings on Capitol Hill, including a hearing on poverty in front of the House Budget Committee; and organize truth commissions, public events and conferences.
Julia Gledhill
Julia Gledhill is an analyst in the Center for Defense Information at POGO. She conducts research to expose government waste, corruption, and wrongdoing, with specific focus on the Department of Defense. Julia also supports CDI with strategic advocacy on Capitol Hill. Before joining POGO, Julia worked as a Program Associate at the Friends Committee on National Legislation. Her primary focus was lobbying Congress to repeal dangerous post-9/11 war authorizations, but she also tracked legislative activity related to broader war powers reform, U.S. air and drone strikes abroad, civilian casualties resulting from such military operations, the U.S. torture program, and the closure of the U.S. military detention facility at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba.
William Hartung (Moderator)
William D. Hartung is a senior research fellow at the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft. His work focuses on the arms industry and U.S. military budget. He was previously the director of the Arms and Security Program at the Center for International Policy and the co-director of the Center’s Sustainable Defense Task Force. He is the author of Prophets of War: Lockheed Martin and the Making of the Military-Industrial Complex (Nation Books, 2011) and the co-editor, with Miriam Pemberton, of Lessons from Iraq: Avoiding the Next War (Paradigm Press, 2008). His previous books include And Weapons for All (HarperCollins, 1995), a critique of U.S. arms sales policies from the Nixon through Clinton administrations.