United States Senator James M. Inhofe (Republican of Oklahoma)

This afternoon Senator James Inhofe (R-OK) and Representative Trent Franks (R-AZ) introduced a joint resolution to maintain defense spending at 4 percent of our nation’s GDP. Heritage Distinguished Fellow and former Senator from Missouri, Jim Talent, commented that the legislation was “vital for America. There is a huge shortfall between what the military is spending and what it needs to spend.” This legislation, of course, comes in light of last month’s troubling announcement that the Office of Management and Budget, under the guidance of President Barack Obama, has requested that the Pentagon decrease the 2010 defense budget by 10

While the economic crisis is front and center in the nation’s psyche, America cannot afford to allow its security to fall by the wayside. Despite Congress’s historical predisposition, multi-tasking is critical. The numerous and diverse collection of threats the Untied States faces requires a military that is funded at a level in conjunction with the nation’s national security strategy and global responsibilities. Failure to maintain a robust defense budget will leave the United States unable to equip, train, and modernize a full-spectrum fighting force to meet these commitments.

As Heritage senior analyst Mackenzie Eaglen argues, “To adequately provide for the common defense and secure America’s vital interests, Congress should commit to funding the core defense budget at roughly today’s levels of 4 percent of GDP for the next 10 years.” As Senator Inhofe’s resolution correctly conveys, this commitment is not only a bargain, it is essential.