Americans overwhelmingly favor major defense cuts

A vast majority of Americans from both sides of the political aisle think significant reductions in defense spending are in order, according to a data from a new survey released July 16.

In districts represented by Republicans, 74 percent of those polled favored cutting defense, while in Democrat-run districts 80 percent were in favor of significant reductions in the military’s budget, according to the survey.  Red-district respondents called for cutting the Defense Department budget by 15 percent, while those in Democrat-controlled districts wanted 22-percent reductions – and in both cases that was true even in areas benefiting from military employers.

“The idea that Americans would want to keep total defense spending up so as to preserve local jobs is not supported by the data,” said Steven Kull, director of the Program for Public Consultation. PPC conducted the study in coordination with the Stimson Center and the Center for Public Integrity.

There were some partisan differences: Those responding from blue districts wanted bigger cuts to missile defense and naval force, while Americans in red districts called for more cuts to military health care.

In taking the survey, respondents received information about the defense budget and were given the opportunity to read multiple pro and con arguments about the military budget like those circulating on Capitol Hill, according to the Center for Public Integrity.

The results of the survey come as lawmakers and other Washington insiders are convening a number of hearings and meetings to discuss the potential fallout of sequestration.

If enacted in January, sequestration would mandate across-the-board cuts in government spending, including some $500 billion from DOD’s budget over the next 10 years. High-level DOD officials, including Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, have repeatedly blasted sequestration as a doomsday scenario that would devastate the military and jeopardize national security.

At 15 percent and 22 percent, the cuts called for by Americans in the survey exceed those that would come as a result of sequestration.

It remains to be seen if those constituent wishes will be reflected in the next defense budget, which has yet to be passed and could end up not passing until next year. While Senate leaders have said their version of the budget would be similar to that proposed by President Obama, Republicans have said they would add more to the budget, CPI noted.

About the Author

Amber Corrin is a former staff writer for FCW and Defense Systems.

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Reader comments

Wed, Aug 1, 2012

Governement transformation, just business transformation, starts with the end-in-mind. Ultimately we're seeking a leaner, more efficient enterprise that balances our national, societal and moral priorities. Government change, like fundamental business change, requires a collaborative approach to align activities relating to people, process and technology more closely with its business strategy and vision. Unfortunately, none of our branches of government or the branches of the military can formulate a strategy or vision.

Fri, Jul 20, 2012 JR

Totally agree that the jobs situation in the US needs to be fixed now, and that would solve most of the problems we as a nation now face. The presidential candidate Obama said in the summer/fall of 2008 that he would be focused "like a laser" on jobs. When he took office what did he do, pushed for a $940B health care bill!! Say what? Where did that come from?? For the first two years in office he had an extremely strong majority in both houses and could have done just about anything. So he focused like a laser on health care?? What hapened to the jobs promise? Well here we are 4 years later and official unemployment STILL above 8%. And I can't recall a single push by the president to address unemployment, other than the occasional "main street is fine" speech while he blasts Wall Street. Leave DOD alone. Don't scrap vet benefits one bit. They volunteered to risk all their tomorrows for our todays. That does not mean they should be punished. We owe it to them to take care of their health as they took care of our liberty.

Wed, Jul 18, 2012

I have emailed my congressman and senators suggesting that I am also infavore of cutting government. But that means all government - congressional staffs, presidential staff, appointee staffs,etc. The same thing with wage freezes. If we (government employees) must endure wage freezes so should every govenrment employee including the staffs mentioned above, congress, the president, judges,appointees,etc. Also I wonder if everyone is in favor of increased unemployment because that is what will happen if 20% of govenrment employees are RIFd. I suggested that the economy needs to be fixed so that private sector jobs reduce government employment.

Wed, Jul 18, 2012 Peter

re: 7/18 poster...well, remember that "power of the purse" rests with Congress, NOT the Prez -- he just signs the spending bill(s) that tell gov't what to spend on. (Although, it would be nice if ANY president would veto a spending bill once in a while!) So saying "deficit is all Obama/Bush/Bush/Reagan's fault" is on its face not absolutely correct (much as "surplus is due to Clinton" of course)

Wed, Jul 18, 2012

the real headline here should be, "Americans overwhelmingly favor major Federal Government Budget Cuts". Sure, there's probably some fat to be trimmed from defense...but that's the tip of the iceberg. Even the cuts mandated by sequestration aren't enough. I find it disingenuous of POTUS to be on the campaign trail talking Tax Fairness, while he is running $Trillion deficits year over year. His asking for additional tax money is somewhat like your cousin with a history of poor decisions and money management issues asking for a blank check to help them through a tough time. Would you give them a blank check? I wouldn't...that's called enabling...and it only makes the problem worse.

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