The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Laicie Olson, 202-546-0795, ext. 2105,

Frank, Task Force, Urge Pentagon Role in Deficit Reduction

Cite Potential Savings of Nearly $1 Trillion Over Ten Years


Financial Services Chairman Barney Frank (D-Mass.), along with a
bipartisan task force that includes members of the Center for Arms
Control and Non-Proliferation, Cato Institute, Center for Defense
Information and others, announced the release today of a new report
that identifies $960 billion in Pentagon budget savings that can be
generated over the next ten years from realistic reductions in defense
spending. The report was produced by the Sustainable
Defense Task Force, a group convened in response to a request from Rep.
Frank to explore options for reducing the defense budget's contribution
to the federal deficit without compromising the essential security of
the United States.

"I do not believe after this [proposed plan]
is circulated that people will be able to dismiss the argument that you
can responsibly, and at no cost to America's genuine security, make
reductions of over a trillion dollars for what has been proposed for
the military budget,"
said Frank.

The report comes at a time when the federal deficit is drawing increasing attention from policymakers in Washington. President
Obama has appointed a National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and
Reform to look at long-term budgetary trends; the administration's new
National Security Strategy has argued that we need to "grow our economy
and reduce our deficit" if we are to ensure continued U.S. strength and
influence abroad; Secretary of Defense Robert Gates has spoken of
eliminating unnecessary weapons systems and reducing overhead costs at
the Pentagon; and key Congressional leaders are speaking of a bottom-up
review of defense spending to look for potential cuts.

legacy of the recent economic crisis will be a high debt that must be
addressed across the board; any consideration of the deficit cannot
exclude defense spending
," said Laicie Olson of the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation, an author of the report.

making the case for substantial reductions, the report notes that
further reductions in the U.S. nuclear arsenal and limits on the
planned modernization of the nuclear weapons infrastructure could save
approximately $140 billion over 10 years. When missile defense and space spending are also selectively curtailed, that number is increased to $194.5 billion.

U.S. nuclear forces are far in excess of what is needed to deter a
nuclear attack on the U.S. and its allies; a reduction in the number of
nuclear weapons could help put the U.S. on the path to fiscal
," said Laicie Olson.

agrees, when asked what his top three priorities might be for realistic
savings within the defense budget, he included both nuclear weapons and
missile defense.


The full report may be downloaded from:

The Sustainable Defense Task Force

Carl Conetta, Project on Defense Alternatives

Benjamin Friedman, Cato Institute

William D. Hartung, New America Foundation

Christopher Hellman, National Priorities Project

Heather Hurlburt, National Security Network

Charles Knight, Project on Defense Alternatives

Lawrence J. Korb, Center for American Progress

Paul Kawika Martin, Peace Action

Laicie Olson, Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation

Miriam Pemberton, Institute for Policy Studies

Laura Peterson, Taxpayers for Common Sense

Prasannan Parthasarathi, Boston College

Christopher Preble, Cato Institute

Winslow Wheeler, Center for Defense Information

Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation is a Washington, D.C.-based 501(c)3 non-profit, non-partisan research organization dedicated to enhancing international peace and security in the 21st century. The Center is funded by grants from private foundations and the generosity of thousands of individual donors.