Cut Pentagon Budget in Half Says Trump Defense Chief

February 14th, 2023 - by Brad Dress / The Hill

Former Acting Defense Chief Under Trump
Calls for Military Budget to Be Cut in Half

Brad Dress / The Hill

(February 10, 2023) —Former acting Defense Secretary Chris Miller is making the case for the Pentagon’s budget to be cut in half in his new memoir, “Soldier Secretary,” arguing the US military should be molded into a leaner and nimbler fighting force with prioritized areas of focus.

At the end of his memoir, Miller writes the US must adapt to the threats posed by foreign adversaries like Russia and China by reforming the military, which he calls “too big and bloated and wasteful.”

“Our colossal military establishment was essential for our Cold War victory, but the Cold War has been over for 30 years,” Miller writes. “If we are truly going to end American adventurism and retool our military to face the challenges of the next century, we should cut military spending by 40-50 percent.”

The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for fiscal 2023 authorized $857 billion in topline defense spending, an increase from the $777 billion passed in the last fiscal year.

The US spends far more than any other nation on defense, including China, which is in second place, spending around $300 billion on defense.

“We could cut our defense budget in half and it would still be twice as big as China’s,” Miller writes in his memoir.

The Pentagon’s budget has slowly climbed over the years, which has attracted critics on both the left and the right. House Republicans are currently using the looming threat of a debt ceiling default to cut government spending.

Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) has agreed to cap all spending at fiscal 2022 levels, which would amount to a 10 percent cut to the defense budget.

But many conservative lawmakers are zeroing in on cutting what they call “woke” programs, like diversity training.

Miller said he does not believe there is a real incentive in Congress to make significant changes to the defense budget.

“There’s no incentive to reduce military spending,” he said. “I think there’s whispers, but [we need] someone with the courage and experience to get in there and force it.”

In his book, Miller said slashing the budget by 40 to 50 percent wouldn’t be as dramatic as it sounds, arguing it would return the US to pre-9/11 spending levels, which he says would make sense since “we are no longer waging wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.”

Note: Miller was Pres. Trump’s acting Secretary of Defense and was criticized for his slow response to the Jan 6 insurrection. Also, Miller was accused of obstructing the transition to Joe Biden’s administration.

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