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Heritage’s newly released Issue Brief “What the FY 2014 Budget Should Do” provides a blueprint for turning back Washington’s unsustainable spending and keeping national defense fully funded.

Modernizing the U.S. military is critical. After all, “to provide for the common defense” is one of the primary constitutional responsibilities of the federal government. In light of North Korea’s threats, it is clear that the world is not getting safer. If the U.S. wants to meet its global responsibilities and maintain the security and safety of its citizens at home and abroad, it will have to fund its Department of Defense at a sufficient level.

Sadly, defense funding has taken a nosedive in recent years. Sequestration, a $43 billion cut to the defense budget, is in addition to an almost 10 percent reduction in the defense budget since 2010.

It is important that the Department of Defense find savings in its budget. In fact, The Heritage Foundation in 2011 identified more than $70 billion in annual savings to the Pentagon. These savings, however, should be done responsibly to restore readiness and provide modern equipment to the current force.

The Department of Defense is not the source of the nation’s current fiscal problems. The real problem is entitlement spending, which accounts for nearly 60 percent of this year’s $3.6 trillion in spending. The Heritage Foundation’s Saving the American Dream proposal achieves a balanced federal budget in 10 years while maintaining sufficient funding levels for defense that are essential for restoring necessary U.S. military capabilities.

As Heritage’s Baker Spring points out, “[I]t is possible for the federal government to get its spending habit under control while still maintaining a strong national defense. Adopting a federal fiscal policy based on Saving the American Dream is not just the sensible thing to do; it is necessary to preserving U.S. economic and military leadership.”