Small Wars, Big Defense: Paying for the Military after the Cold War

Synopsis

One of the most difficult issues facing the United States government is how to maintain an adequate defense in a period of budget stringency. The Iraqi invasion of Kuwait made it clear that the United States must be able to respond to rapid changes in the international scene. On the other hand, with the extraordinary events in Eastern Europe, reductions in US-Soviet tensions, and a worsening budget deficit at home, it is equally obvious that the military budget will be squeezed substantially in the early 1990s. The issue of defense spending is at the forefront of the US political agenda, and with it a host of fundamental questions: How much military strength does the US really need in a post-Cold War world? How can economic policy handle large cuts in defense? And what is to be done with the people and companies now working on defense projects? In Small Wars, Big Defense, Murray Weidenbaum, the former Chairman of the President's Council of Economic Advisors, draws on years of government and industrial experience to offer a provocative look at the troubled US military complex as it confronts a radically changing world. After a careful assessment of present and likely future threats to US security interests, he takes a hard look at the the American military and defense industry, demonstrating how cycles of "feast and famine" in military budgeting have been so wasteful. He calls for a fundamental reform of the spending process, including an overhaul of the procurement system, more sensible ways of paying military personnel, and reductions in regulation of the defense contractors. At the same time, he offers concrete policies on how the American economy can best adjust to large defense cutbacks and move toward a more civilian-oriented economy. Finally, he presents ideas for getting the most out of lower defense budgets, while maintaining the capability to reverse course if necessary. A timely book on the most pressing cluster of political and economic issues of our time, Small Wars, Big Defense will be required reading for planners, politicians, military personnel, and anyone with an interest in the direction of this country's future.

Additional information

Contributors:
Publisher: Place of publication:
  • New York
Publication year:
  • 1992