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The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have cost more than $1.5 trillion in borrowed money — about 10 percent of the national debt. With the end of combat operations in Afghanistan in 2014, the nation is positioned to curtail military expenditures significantly, just as we have done following every other war since World War II.
Despite a sharply divided Congress, the national security of the United States must not be a victim of partisan politics. Congress will attempt to pass spending bills before the Wednesday deadline. While these bills are debated, Congress must seriously consider the optimum investment of scarce American tax dollars. As America and our allies face the security threats of the 21st century, we need to ensure that spending for defense programs meets today’s security needs, not 20th-century protocols or special interests.
Retired Lt. Gen. Robert Gard Jr. is chairman of the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation and former president of National Defense University. Retired Brig. Gen. John Johns is a member of Council for a Livable World’s board of directors and professor emeritus of the National Defense University, where he taught National Security Strategy and National Military Strategy for 14 years.