Thursday, December 8, 2016

PF Jan 2017 - Increase Military Spending - Con Position

Resolved: In order to better respond to international conflicts, the United States should significantly increase its military spending.

Con Position

The Con position will argue against the call to significantly increase military spending. In fact, Con may be able to argue that military spending can be cut. Bear in mind, there is a lot of ground between significantly increase and cut all spending.  Con can "slightly" increase spending, keep spending the same, slightly cut spending or slash it to the bone. In addition, Con is greatly helped when reporters like those at the Washington Post print articles about how the Pentagon has a penchant for massive bureaucratic waste to the tune of $125 billion . The news is writing your case for you. Moreover, the Con will be taking a serious look at the role of the United States in world affairs. For example, we have been shoring up European as well Far Eastern security since the end of Second World War.  The nations under our umbrella of protection are fully-capable of defending themselves or at least able to bear a greater percentage of the cost to uphold their own security. Additionally, the nature of how conflicts are executed have changed significantly. Technology has greatly reduced the need for massive, invasions and hundreds of thousands of troops occupying ground.  Satellites, drones, and smart, precision weapons are game changers. The days of the massive, lumbering, troop movements is replaced with small, precision and rapid-response interdiction teams striking targets and moving on. Actually, there should be no need to discuss the pro and cons of the effectiveness of rapid-response interdiction teams or drone warfare. These are simply justifications for reducing spending and there are other justifications. A major focus of the recent U.S. presidential campaigns has been the need to upgrade the infrastructure and this will cost billions of dollars.  Airports and shipping ports need massive upgrades, highways and bridges need replaced, energy and communications systems need to be constructed.  All of this work will help support growth and advancements in a wide range of endeavors, including better national defense. Should we mention schools? Many school systems are in terrible condition and our institutions of higher learning are too expensive and driving students deeply into debt. Perhaps some federal money can be applied to education resources. For sure, running the country is expensive and there is only so much revenue to go around. Do we really need to be the world's police force? Do we really need to stick our noses into every conflict which erupts between protagonists?  Perhaps it is time to rethink our position and start to roll-back some of our imperialistic tendencies. Let us begin by resisting the call to significantly increase military spending.

Limited Funds

One major contention for the argument to reduce military spending can be visualized as a pie-chart. The pie is a fixed size determined by government revenues most of which are collected by taxes. The cost of maintaining the government is enormous and by far one of the biggest slices is being handed over to the Defense Department for its many spending needs and we can argue about how much of that "slice" goes into wasteful endeavors.

Beattie (2015):
Capital is finite, and capital going into one spending category means that there is less money for another. This fact gets more interesting when we consider that any government spending exceeding revenues results in a deficit that is added to the national debt. The ballooning national debt has an economic impact on everyone, and military spending is one of many contributing factors. As the national debt grows, the interest expense of the debt grows and the cost of borrowing subtly increases due to the risk that increased debt represents. In theory, the increased debt will also drag on economic growth and eventually a driver towards higher taxes.

The sizable chunk of the pie used for defense leaves little for other purposes, such as the much discussed need to increase infrastructure spending. When there is no more "pie" the government borrows which increases the federal deficit which also requires slice of the fiscal "pie" to pay-down on the debt. Something has to give since debt itself is a security risk.

Newbie (2016):
The United States defense budget amounts to roughly $600 billion a year, just over half of all federal discretionary spending. Meanwhile, the U.S. national debt has ballooned to roughly $19 trillion. In fact, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Michael Mullen famously remarked that “The most significant threat to our national security is our debt.”

To regain control of the federal budget and begin investing in much needed infrastructure, education, alternative energy, and technology needed to ensure future viability in an increasingly competitive world. The U.S. must finds to limit military spending without sacrificing our national defense. According to a report in CNSNews, Government workers outnumber manufacturing workers by nearly 2 to 1. All of those government jobs are supported by taxes. The defense budget supports a vast number of public sector employees. One way to reduce spending and actually increase private employment is to cut public sector jobs in the defense industry since job-draining taxation is needed to support the public sector. The theory, in true trickle-down fashion, is tax cuts create jobs.

Beattie (2015):
Jobs are a big part of the economic impact of military spending. Of course there are the active troops, but there is also a considerable infrastructure built up around them that requires contractors, trades, consultants, and so on to support the military. Then there are the private businesses that spring up as a result of the military spending, including everything from weapons manufacturers to the restaurants that pop up near military bases. Here again, the free market economists point out that the public dollars going to support those jobs directly or indirectly are actually sucking the equivalent number of jobs—or more—out of the private economy due to the taxation needed to create them.

Cutting the Fat

A major contention for Con can center around the massive amount of waste and inefficiencies in the current defense budget. As I have already mentioned in the introductory remarks, it has recently been reported that $125 billion of bureaucratic waste was 'hidden" by the Pentagon.  This kind of waste and cover-up is fraudulent, but there is so much more to the story that was not reported by the Washington Post.

Gault (2016):
U.S. military spending is out of control. The Defense Department budget for 2016 is $573 billion. President Barack Obama’s 2017 proposal ups it to $582 billion. By comparison, China spent around $145 billion and Russia around $40 billion in 2015. Moscow would have spent more, but the falling price of oil, sanctions and the ensuing economic crisis stayed its hand.
As Trump has pointed out many times, Washington can build and maintain an amazing military arsenal for a fraction of what it’s paying now. He’s also right about one of the causes of the bloated budget: expensive prestige weapons systems such as the Littoral Combat Ship and the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.
The much-maligned F-35 will cost at least $1.5 trillion during the 55 years that its manufacturer, Lockheed Martin, expects it to be flying. That number is up $500 billion from the original high estimate. But with a long list of problems plaguing the stealth fighter, that price will most likely grow.
“I hear stories,” Trump said in a speech before the New Hampshire primary, “like they’re ordering missiles they don’t want because of politics, because of special interests, because the company that makes the missiles is a contributor.”
America’s defense is crucial. But something is wrong when Washington is spending almost five times as much as its rivals and throwing away billions on untested weapon systems.
Given the horrifying picture of huge bureaucratic waste and cost overruns, there are solutions to managing cost while maintaining a strong defense posture.

Schnurer (2013):
Fortunately, there are ways to cut defense spending without hurting military capabilities. Besides maintaining its war-fighting capability, DoD, like any entity, maintains a back-office bureaucracy to oversee its business functions. That overhead accounts for roughly 40 percent of its budget. It’s hard to compare different industries, or even government agencies, but one examination of 25 industries showed average overhead rates ranging from 13 to 50 percent, with the average across all industries being 25 percent. A RAND study of overhead and administration costs among defense contractors found them to be “tremendous drivers” of weapon costs at 35 percent. The largest domestic programs—Social Security and Medicare—get by with costs in the single-digits.
Cutting Pentagon overhead to the average would save roughly $80 billion a year. Looked at another way, the department employs 800,000 civilians. Not only is that more than the population of four states, it’s not quite half of all civilian federal employees, more than twice as many as the next-largest agency (Veterans Affairs), four times the number of civilian employees at the Department of Homeland Security and basically the size of all the remaining federal agencies combined. Think there might be some savings possible there?

Moreover, a change in implementation of our defense strategy would allow the U.S. to cut military costs.

Newbie (2016):
Posen outlines a more modest military force structure best suited to his vision of restraint. Christopher Preble of the Cato Institute argues that “If [the United States] were less actively engaged and forward deployed than we were today, [the U.S.] could rely much more heavily on Reserves and the National Guard to augment a small active duty army in the truly rare instances where [the U.S. would] need a large physical presence in a distant place.” According to Preble, returning more troops home would be a return to “that model which worked really well for this country for a really long time.”

Power Rollback

Much of current U.S. defense posture and assumed need to maintain a strong military capability is based on age-old policies which require a kind of "keeping up with the Jones" mentality.  Whenever a perceived enemy developed new military capability we had to match or exceed that capability. If they build more or better warplanes, we build better systems for detecting and shooting them down. The notion of an 'arms race" comes from this kind of continuous escalation of capabilities. However, the world of today is rife with economic hardships and that reality is altering the way nations are allocating funds for military purposes.  Even our strongest rivals for international power are cutting back.  For example Russia, which relies on oil sales for revenues has been hurt by low oil prices and economic sanctions arising from the invasion of Crimea and Ukraine.

Sputnik (2016):
The 2016 military spending in the country was expected to amount to 3.14 trillion rubles (over $41 billion at the current exchange rate) or 4 percent of GDP. A 5-percent cut amounts to some 160 billion rubles.
The Russian economy, highly dependent on energy exports, is experiencing a slowdown caused by a sharp decline in global oil prices and, to a lesser extent, by Western sanctions imposed on Moscow over its alleged role in the internal Ukrainian conflict — a claim the Kremlin has repeatedly denied. In 2015, Russian military budget were reduced by almost 4 percent.

And not only Russia is cutting.  Even China, which annually increases its military spending by double-digit percentages, is experiencing a decline in its economy.  For the first time in years, though they continue to spend more, the size of their increase has been significantly cut.

Bodeen (2016):
Spending at all levels of China's government is being curbed because of a drop in the economic growth rate, which fell to a 25-year low of 6.9 percent in 2015 and is expected to decline further this year. For most years since 2000, China posted double-digit increases in military spending, and this will be only the third time in that period with a single-digit increase, including 2010's increase of 7.5 percent.
The lower increase is a reflection of the "new normal" of more moderate economic growth that President Xi Jinping has been touting for the past two years, said Alexander Neill, a senior fellow for Asia-Pacific security for the International Institute for Strategic Studies based in Singapore.

When our major competitors for world dominance cut back, why do we need to significantly increase military spending?  Already we spend more than both of our rivals and with them cutting back we can afford to maintain or reduce our current spending.

The New Reality

In reality, American power is in decline and that is not necessarily a bad thing. The new reality is there is a shift in the balance of power driven primarily by the U.S. loss of will to continue to present itself as the world's police force. We are war-weary and there is no need to be the big-brother protector for allies who have long since risen from the ashes of the Second World War.

Bandow (2012):
Today the U.S. is effectively bankrupt, but continues to write security checks which it cannot cover. America accounts for almost half of the world’s military expenditures and provides defense guarantees to prosperous, populous allies throughout Asia and Europe.  Moreover, U.S. forces wander the globe attempting to create democracy and stability ex nihilo.  At the same time Washington props up unpopular dictatorships throughout the Persian Gulf and Central Asia.  This strategy is unsustainable.
The U.S. should start acting as a true Great Power.  Many events elsewhere interest and affect America, but not in any vital or important way.  Rather than seeking to control everything and manipulate everyone overseas, Washington policymakers should calibrate response to importance, which in many cases would mean doing less or even nothing.  Benign neglect often is the best foreign policy.
Perhaps it can be shocking for some debate judges to hear the U.S. wants to give some ground rather than continue to project power in every corner of the globe, continuously, but the fact of the matter is, most American's tend to accept this position.

Bryant (2015):
No longer is there much appetite for America playing its long-standing role of global policeman, even in the face of the rise of the group calling itself Islamic State.
The cost, human and financial, is considered too great. Americans increasingly think that other countries should share the burden.
Obama, while continuing to trumpet "American exceptionalism", regularly prefaces remarks on foreign affairs by acknowledging the limits of US power, again with little public outcry.
The upshot is that the United States is no longer so keen to exert leadership in an increasingly messy world.
A decline in U.S. hegemony does not mean we are weak nor does it mean our nation is vulnerable. We still possess enormous reach and striking power. It simply means we are more willing to accept a realignment of power in which our allies now begin to take more responsibility for their own interests.

Newbie (2016):
The role of U.S. allies was also discussed. Harvard University’s Stephen Walt argues that moving to a new grand strategy could be used to force “our allies to do much more of the heavy lifting in the areas in which they live and where their interests are much greater than ours.” Eugene Gholz of the University of Texas at Austin agreed, suggesting that “our current allies should be our friends not allies,” noting how expensive it is to provide for other countries’ defense.

Small Steps Approach

Finally, I would like to close this Con position with one more approach.  As I said in the introductory remarks for the Con position it is possible to argue the U.S. can still increase spending and avoid walking on Pro ground.  As long as the spending is "modest" a strong Con team may argue it is not "significantly" increasing spending. In order to advance that idea, I will leave you with the following quotation.

O'Hanlan (2016):
Some improvements to defense capabilities are needed in light of current and projected challenges. Yet, there are ways to make American defense posture and policy more efficient. Modest budgetary increases should be adequate in the years ahead. An annual U.S. defense budget of around $535 billion in base funding, plus another $25 billion or so for nuclear weapons-related activities in the Department of Energy, plus up to $40 billion or so in supplemental funds for wartime operations and related matters makes sense. The presidential candidates should spell out the defense spending level they would seek as well as a detailed specification of the ways the money would be spent.
I don't wish to take this argument much farther other than to show such evidence exists and suggest that an experienced team could subsume many Pro advantages and avoid many of the impacts of reduced spending advocated by the Pro.  The debate will tend to center around the bright-line of what constitutes "significant" so I will leave it the clever debater to work through that contention.

For links to the Intro and Pro positions or for more information about Public Forum debate, click the Public Forum tab at the top of this page.


Bandow, D (2012), Why Are American Troops Still Stationed In Europe?, Forbes, Oct 29, 2012, accessed 12/5/2016 at:

Beattie, A (2015), How Military Spending Affects The Economy, Investopedia, July 21, 2015, accessed 12/2/2016 at:

Bodeen C (2016),China says it will boost military spending by about 7 to 8 percent this year, the smallest increase in six years, ..., U.S. News & World Report, March 4, 2016, acccessed 12/5/2016 at:

Bryant N (2015), The decline of US power?, The BBC, 10 July 2015, accessed 12/5/2016 at:

Gault M (2016), Donald Trump is right about defense spending – and that should scare you, Reuters News, March 2, 2016, accessed 12/5/2016 at:

Newbie, M (2016), The U.S. Defense Budget: Too Big, Too Small or Just Right?, The National Interest, October 13, 2016, accessed 12/3/2016 at:

O'Hanlan,M (2016), U.S. Defense Strategy and the Defense Budget, The Brookings Institute, Budgeting for National Priorities Project at Brookings, report finalized July 2016, accessed 12/5/2016 at:

Schnurer, E (2013), How to Cut Defense Spending Without Hurting the Military, Defense One, November 8, 2013, accessed: 12/5/2016 at:

Sputnik (2016), Russia to Cut 2016 Military Spending By 5%, Sputnik News, Feb 19, 2016, accessed 12/5/2016 at:

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

PF Jan 2017 - Increase Military Spending - Pro Position

Resolved: In order to better respond to international conflicts, the United States should significantly increase its military spending.

Pro Position

The Pro side of this debate is faced with justifying a significant increase in military spending and in the Introduction, I defined what is military spending which includes military personnel, weapons, and all the various items, facilities and services required to support them. It does not include care for veterans, cleanup costs from previous operations, demobilization and so on. Basically an increase in military spending is an increase in the capacity to defend from aggression, engage in war, or carry out military operations (even humanitarian operations) in regions experiencing conflict. Since the resolution states, in order to better respond to international conflicts, it is a matter of debate as to what constitutes international conflict. For example, the area in and around the South China Sea is hotly disputed by several nations including the U.S. but that may not be considered an international conflict by some definitions, so funding for regional military bases or arms may not be legitimate under the strictest interpretation of international conflict. To justify disagreements as conflicts, use and defend definitions which permit that interpretation. However, we can still take advantage of the fact the resolution does not qualify international conflicts as current or on-going. Some disputes are very likely to erupt into "hot" conflicts requiring military intervention and so we argue for increased military spending as a way to augment our readiness or defense posture as a hedge against future international conflict. Regardless, I think it would be difficult to completely separate the clause "In order to better respond to international conflicts" from the Pro advocacy. One may assume the Pro is advocating increased spending because our current level of spending is inadequate to properly respond to international conflicts and this describes the category of harms which needs solved. What I mean is, these conflicts will be or now are creating negative impacts for the United States. The USFG tends to evaluate the costs of conflicts in accordance with their impact on so-called national interests. National interests are just about anything the government considers as important to the security and well-being of the citizens of the U.S. or in keeping with a more "realist" view of the world, those things which impact the security of the government itself.

The U.S. Interests

The United States vital interests are those which preserve the security of the nation and protect the well-being of the people, not only from attack but from other kinds of harms such as economic instability or lack of access to markets, and reduction in needed resources. Threats against these interests are on the rise.

Johnson[2] (2016):
The first vital interest is the protection of America’s people and homeland. Threats against America’s people and homeland are rising, including from North Korean nuclear weapons and long-range missiles, the prospect of a nuclear-armed Iran, attacks—direct and indirect—from ISIS, and nation-state sponsored cyber-attacks. Each of these requires a different set of responses, but all threaten the American people and homeland.
The second vital interest is the prevention of serious conflict in key regions of Europe, the Middle East, and Asia, and to be able to win in war should a conflict arise in spite of preventive efforts. Threats in these regions are rising. Russia continues to threaten European stability. The Middle East faces a range of security threats. China and North Korea both pose threats in Asia. Preventing serious conflict in these regions, besides the obvious humanitarian reasons, is a major concern for the U.S. because major conflict in these regions has negative security and economic consequences for America.
The third vital interest is the protection of access to the global commons of sea, air, and space. The protection of these commons enables Americans, along with everyone else, to freely trade and transport goods and resources. The threat to the global commons is most easily seen at sea. A significant portion of global trade transits through key chokepoints like the Strait of Hormuz. Conflict in the South China Sea could pose a risk to the 25 percent of global trade that travels through that region.[2] A threat to the global commons would cause significant economic damage and impact American citizens.

Many threats exist in the world today which are on the brink of hostilities. The current ability of the U.S. to respond to international conflicts has been hurt by spending cuts. The U.S. military has expressed concerned that the U.S. ability to respond is very low.

Johnson[1] (2016):
First, we live in a world of growing threats against U.S. vital interests. China, Russia, Iran, and North Korea are driving the details of the Pentagon’s latest defense budget proposal. In the 2016 Index of U.S. Military Strength, China, Russia, and Iran were assessed as being particularly aggressive against the interests of the United States, while North Korea was rated as downright hostile. Each of these countries is actively attempting to coerce and bully its neighboring nations, and they all pose high to severe threats to the United States and our interests.
Second, the U.S. military budget has been cut by 25 percent in the last five years. This has resulted in dramatic declines in the U.S. military’s ability to fight and win. Fifteen years of conflict and years of tight budgets have taken a grave toll, worsened by these budget cuts. Top military leaders have told Congress that their readiness is, as the vice chief of staff of the Air Force recently put it, “at a near all-time low due to continuous combat operations, reduced manpower, an aging fleet, and inconsistent funding.”
Third, a big part of why the U.S. maintains a large military is because we have learned that major conflict in Europe, the Middle East, and Asia can be devastating to our economy.

The U.S. national interests are protected by U.S. hegemony; the ability to influence and manage threats by the projection of military power when diplomatic initiatives fail. Current budgetary constraints are diminishing the U.S. capability to meet its military objectives which diminishes hegemony.

Johnson[2] (2016):
The U.S. military is charged with defending America’s vital interests, but according to the 2016 Index of U.S. Military Strength, it is having an increasingly more difficult time doing this.[4] Sustained budget cuts and continued demand for forces have stretched the military thin. The U.S. can dissuade many of the threats it faces with other instrument of national power (e.g., diplomatic engagement or economic initiatives) and a credible ability to project military power. The current budget trajectory, however, is leading to a smaller and less capable military. In short, the U.S. will have less ability to deter potential adversaries or defeat them in battle should deterrence fail. Potential threats to U.S. vital interests are likely to become realities.

One expert explains the U.S. ability to respond to international threats and conflict requires a balance of personnel, equipment and training. History repeatedly affirms when the U.S. reduces military spending, world events can quickly turn against us and result in severe consequences.

Dunn (2013):
Failure to maintain an appropriate balance among these dimensions during the current period of budgetary uncertainty will significantly degrade America’s ability to respond to threats to its interests. This can lead to major strategic setbacks and significant loss of life. The challenging balancing act requires wise and effective leadership across all defense-related institutions.
History repeatedly shows that unanticipated events often catch us by surprise and that as a nation, we have paid a high price in blood and treasure to compensate for our lack of preparedness. Lower levels of defense resourcing have not been the sole cause of unpreparedness. In many cases, there is an inability to answer the fundamental question of “what are we preparing to do?” Absent an effective answer that guides the allocation of resources, we can end up with forces that are inadequately manned, equipped, or trained to meet a comprehensive range of threats, some of them unanticipated.

The Spillover Effects

Left alone, international conflicts can present severe threats to neighboring countries and regions in which the U.S. holds vital interests.  For example, we can look to the current Syrian Civil War as a perfect example of how an internal, political conflict has spilled-over and drawn-in neighbors and their allies. Thus the U.S. ability to respond to these conflicts before they spillover is crucial to protect or vital interests. The Syrian War has resulted in the spread of ideologies which spark wider conflict.

Young, et al (2014):
The spread of violent conflict is similar in many ways to the spread of an infectious disease, either within given cultures and populations or between them. Like a virus, extremist ideologies, ethnic sentiment, and religious anger know no boundaries. Refugee flows bring ideologies and transmit anger that radicalizes youth and neighboring populations who share lineage and language. Geography provides access and facilitates the further spread of these ideas along with the movement of people and weapons. The contagion can spread easily into the body of adjoining societies where conditions already may be fragile.[5]

Diplomatic solutions alone, often fail and we have seen this already in Syria. Whether or not, lack of more overt U.S. involvement in the conflict could have prevented many the spillover effects in irrelevant. What is needed is now is intensified engagement by the U.S.

Wittes (2016):
In political and security terms, the war’s spillover into neighboring countries and now into Europe can still get worse. Key states like Lebanon and Jordan are at risk of destabilization and/or extremist terrorism the longer the conflict goes on and the more of its consequences they must absorb. Turkey, as we know, has already suffered attacks by extremist groups. And the war has continued to be a powerful source of recruitment for extremists, drawing fighters and fellow travelers from around the world. ISIS and Al Qaeda feed on the civil conflict and the chaos on the ground is what gives them room to operate. It is indeed imperative that the United States remain engaged, and intensify its engagement as needed, to secure an end to the conflict as soon as possible.[3]

Increasing our military presence in Syria can reduce casualties and avert the ongoing humanitarian crises. But even more importantly, a strong military presence in Syria could lead to another kind of spillover. A spillover in regional soft-power which restores U.S. regional influence.

Cambanis (2016):
Increased U.S. intervention would represent a useful reassertion of American power and engagement in the crisis, and it would achieve multiple humanitarian and strategic aims. At worst, the Syrian crisis would be as problematic as it is today, but there would be fewer civilian casualties, and the United States would gain leverage with its allies on other matters because of its beefed-up engagement in Syria. At best, a more aggressive U.S. effort in Syria would limit Russian overreach, increase the likelihood of a political solution, and roll back some of the destabilizing regional consequences of the Syrian implosion.
Even in failure, increased intervention would mark a correction of American policy in the Middle East, which today suffers from a credibility gap,1 driven by two mutually reinforcing mistakes: first, an over-eagerness to pull away from regional crises, even when those crises implicate core U.S. national security interests, and second, a major gap between rhetoric and practice. That disconnect was vividly displayed when President Obama disavowed his “red line” and backed off his threat to bomb Bashar al-Assad for using chemical weapons, and continues to characterize a White House that speaks constantly of disengagement while devoting the lion’s share of its foreign policy attention at the Middle East.

And the scope of U.S. military involvement around the world is much greater than you may be aware. Not all U.S. military interventions are openly reported by the news media. Awareness of this fact provides some understanding as to why budget reductions can increase the likelihood of conflicts and spillovers.

Delman (2016):
To be fair, defining U.S. “military involvement” is tricky, partly because there are many levels of engagement between no military involvement and full-scale invasion, and partly because so much of the U.S.’s military activity is done from the shadows. That’s why, in consultation with Anthony Cordesman at Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) and Chris Harmer at the Institute for the Study of War, I’ve limited the definition of military involvement to countries that the United States is consistently bombing (overtly or covertly); where regular U.S. troops are engaged in combat; or where regular U.S. troops are providing intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance in support of another military force that is engaged in combat. By that definition, the U.S. is currently fighting in roughly eight countries. (For sanity’s sake, my definition excludes special-operations forces; Ken McGraw, a spokesman for U.S. Special Operations Command, or SOCOM, told me in early February that special-operations personnel were deployed in 82 countries that week alone.)

Military Spending Solves

The credible projection of U.S. military power will make the world a safer place. It is vital for the U.S. to restore its position as a benevolent superpower.

Eaglan (2016):
America’s decade of largely hollow defense increases unfortunately has left the military unready for the multitude of challenges of the 21st century. The arsenal of new equipment acquired for counterinsurgency operations over the past decade would be critical in a future land engagement but is poorly suited for many other threats that may emerge in maritime or air-dominated domains.
As advanced technologies proliferate to other states and entities, America’s military edge is shrinking as many high-tech modernization programs are continuously foregone. As senior Air Force leaders have testified, “Legacy fourth-generation aircraft simply cannot survive to operate and achieve the effects necessary to win in an integrated, anti-access environment.”
The services need new and innovative solutions to defeat enemy air defenses and anti-access and area-denial technologies. Part of the solution is stealth, including the Air Force’s nascent new bomber and the fleet of F-22 fighters. Another part of the solution includes the integration of electronic, sensor, space and cyber attack capabilities. But whatever the solution or, more likely, the basket of solutions—it is wholly unaffordable under current budget projections.
The level of investment needed in order to finance a credible deterrent posture, maintain robust overseas presence, and at the same time invest in new capabilities that can survive in contested environments is incompatible with ongoing and projected cuts to defense spending. The U.S. simply cannot sustain a global military and superpower posture under current plans.

As the U.S. cuts budgets and pulls back from conflicts, the rest of the world is arming itself to the teeth in reaction to perceived global threats.

Katz (2016):
Global military spending has begun rising in real terms for the first time since the U.S. began its withdrawal of troops from wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.
Defense budgets rose 1 percent to $1.68 trillion in 2015, making up about 2.3 percent of the world’s gross domestic product, Sipri said in a report Tuesday. While the U.S. spent the most at $596 billion, that was down 2.4 percent compared with 2014, while China’s outlay increased 7.4 percent to $215 billion.
Concern about a possible advance by Russia into North Atlantic Treaty Organization territory following the Crimea invasion and hostilities in east Ukraine led to a surge in spending in Eastern Europe, as Chinese ambitions in the South China Sea spurred arms purchases among Southeast Asian states.

By increasing U.S. military spending and reasserting the strategic dominance that a strong military posture provides, the rest of the world will feel more secure and disarmament will follow. This is reason enough to vote Pro.

Fu, et al (2013):
The result of fixed effect OLS of model 2 showed that both the lnGDP variable and the lnUSME variable have significantly positive influences, coefficient value 0.478, on military expenditure in the Asia-Pacific countries at the 10% significance level. A 1% increase in a country’s gross domestic product will correlate with its military expenditure increasing by 0.478% in order to protect its sovereignty; while an increase in U.S. military expenditure can significantly reduce every Asia-Pacific country’s military expenditure (the coefficient value of lnUSME is -0.307). The U.S. government offers beneficial security to Asia-Pacific countries; therefore, increased U.S. military expenditure reduces the military expenditure of Asia-Pacific countries.[37]

For all these reasons and more, we urge a Pro ballot.

For links to the Intro and Con positions or for more information about Public Forum debate, click the Public Forum tab at the top of this page.


Cambanis, T 920160, The Case for a More Robust U.S. Intervention in Syria, The Century Foundation, June 19, 2016, accessed at 12/3/2016 at:

Delman, E (2016), Obama Promised to End America’s Wars—Has He?, The Atlantic, Mar. 30, 2016, accessed 12/2/2016 at:

Dunn, RJ III (2013), The Impact of a Declining Defense Budget on Combat Readiness, The Heritage Foundation, July 18, 2013, accessed 12/2/2016 at:

Eaglen, M (2016), Should the United States increase or decrease its spending for defense?, The American Enterprise Institute, November 16, 2016, accessed 12/4/2016 at:

Fu TW, Lin, ML, Lin, UH (2013), The Effects of Military Competition between the United States and China on the Defense Spending of Asia-Pacific Countries
, Journal of International and Global Economic Studies, 6(2), December 2013, 32-44. Accessed 12/3/2016 at:

Johnson[1], J (2016), Russia and China Increase Defense Spending While US Continues Cutting, The Daily Signal, April 11, 2016, accessed 12/2/2016 at:

Johnson[2], J (2016), Congress Should Enact a Strong Defense Budget in FY 2017, The Heritage Foundation
Issue Brief #4521 on Defense Spending and Budgeting, February 29, 2016, accessed 12/2/2016 at:

Katz, BD (2016), The World Has Started Spending More on Weapons, Bloomberg, April 4, 2016, accessed 12/2/2016 at:

Wittes, TC (2016), War in Syria: Next Steps to Mitigate the Crisis, Testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, May 17, 2016, accessed 12/3/2016 at:

Young, W, Stebbins, D, Frederick, BA, Al-Shahery, O (2014), Spillover from the Conflict in Syria: An Assessment of the Factors that Aid and Impede the Spread of Violence, RAND National Defense and Research Institute, 2014, accessed 12/3.2016 at: