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


House 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

"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.

"The 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.
In 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.

"Current 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.

Frank 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 here.

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.