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Locher: Fiscal responsibility through national security transformation

November 17, 2010

Headlines about setbacks in Afghanistan, Iraq, terrorism, counterproliferation, and other challenges often vividly portray the ineffectiveness of the U.S. national security system in the 21st century. Less visible, but equally troubling, is the system’s gross inefficiency and wastefulness. The National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform should press for transforming the system to realize huge savings. In a $1 trillion national security budget, the potential for massive cost reductions is enormous. Why is the system wasting money? First, it has no foresight mechanism; it doesn’t begin to work on problems until they are expensive-to-solve crises. Second, the budget process is not oriented on what we hope to achieve – our missions and other outcomes; it funds capabilities that the departments desire which are often misaligned with our needs. Third, departments and agencies don’t work as teams; they work in isolated stovepipes, often with costly duplication or conflicting objectives. A transformed national security system can dramatically strengthen the nation’s security and at less cost. Over to you, Erskine and Alan.

– Jim Locher, President and CEO

This is from a series of posts by our staff in response to this question: How can national security transformation contribute to fiscal responsibility?

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