U.S. Should Move Toward Holistic Budget For National Security, Experts Write In Opinion Piece

Foreign Affairs: The Case for a National Security Budget
Brett Rosenberg, associate director of policy at National Security Action, and Jake Sullivan, co-chair of National Security Action

“…It has become ordinary, even orthodoxy, for national security professionals to lament how the underfunding of civilian tools has fueled an overmilitarized foreign policy that is ill-equipped to take on today’s most pressing challenges. … Unfortunately, this rhetorical consensus has not produced the necessary rebalance in resources. … The current budget process apportions dollars along rigid departmental lines, and focusing on a single department — even if it is the largest — will always prevent other instruments of U.S. power from getting the attention and funding they need. To rectify this imbalance and integrate national security considerations across bureaucratic lines, Washington needs to fundamentally rethink the way it approaches the funding of its foreign policy. The United States should move toward a unified national security budget, which directly links funding decisions to a comprehensive National Security Strategy (NSS) and distributes resources to whichever department or agency can best get the job done. This national security budget will better match the means and ends of U.S. foreign policy and ensure that the country approaches a new international environment with both the military and the civilian tools it needs. … What is more, a unified national security budget will have to avoid the unintended effect of further ‘securitizing’ foreign policy. Labeling disparate efforts as security related can help procure funding but also risks twisting the purposes of those efforts. The United States should, for example, provide disaster assistance and fight disease because it’s the right thing to do, not only because doing so enhances national security…” (11/19).

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