Romney's military spending catch-22

GREENVILLE, S.C. -- Mitt Romney is trying to have it both ways on Pentagon spending.

The top-tier Republican presidential candidate pledged Friday to cut wasteful spending from the Defense Department and use the savings to support U.S. troops and veterans.

"I will not look for the military as a place to balance our budget," Romney told veterans who chatted with him over lunch at a local barbeque restaurant.

Romney's frame on the issue allows him to position himself as both a deficit hawk and military hawk. But his position takes billions of dollars off the table as Washington struggles to tame mounting debt.

Experts agree that the cost of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have made the rate of defense spending unsustainable, and that Pentagon cuts must be part of any deficit solution. Indeed, deep Pentagon cuts are in order if a special congressional committee cannot agree on a deficit-reduction package by Thanksgiving.

Playing to his conservative audience, Romney's remarks lacked such context.

"I believe our military continues to be critical to protect our freedom. I do not see the world a safer place," Romney told veterans seated at wooden tables arranged in horseshoe formation to make the gathering suitable for TV.

"That does not mean there is not waste in our military system. There is," Romney said. "Anybody who spends any time with the government knows there is opportunity for improvement."

Citing no specifics, Romney said he would root out waste in the Pentagon and use the savings to rebuild the Navy and Air Force, maintain a force of 100,000 troops, and care for veterans.

State polls show that Romney has a serious chance of winning this state, though his record as a moderate governor and his Mormon faith are hurdles in a state that mixes conservatism and Christianity with its politics.

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Going Agile:Revolutionizing Federal Digital Services Delivery

    Here’s one indication that times have changed: Harriet Tubman is going to be the next face of the twenty dollar bill. Another sign of change? The way in which the federal government arrived at that decision.

    Download
  • Cyber Risk Report: Cybercrime Trends from 2016

    In our first half 2016 cyber trends report, SurfWatch Labs threat intelligence analysts noted one key theme – the interconnected nature of cybercrime – and the second half of the year saw organizations continuing to struggle with that reality. The number of potential cyber threats, the pool of already compromised information, and the ease of finding increasingly sophisticated cybercriminal tools continued to snowball throughout the year.

    Download
  • Featured Content from RSA Conference: Dissed by NIST

    Learn more about the latest draft of the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology guidance document on authentication and lifecycle management.

    Download
  • GBC Issue Brief: The Future of 9-1-1

    A Look Into the Next Generation of Emergency Services

    Download
  • GBC Survey Report: Securing the Perimeters

    A candid survey on cybersecurity in state and local governments

    Download
  • The New IP: Moving Government Agencies Toward the Network of The Future

    Federal IT managers are looking to modernize legacy network infrastructures that are taxed by growing demands from mobile devices, video, vast amounts of data, and more. This issue brief discusses the federal government network landscape, as well as market, financial force drivers for network modernization.

    Download
  • eBook: State & Local Cybersecurity

    CenturyLink is committed to helping state and local governments meet their cybersecurity challenges. Towards that end, CenturyLink commissioned a study from the Government Business Council that looked at the perceptions, attitudes and experiences of state and local leaders around the cybersecurity issue. The results were surprising in a number of ways. Learn more about their findings and the ways in which state and local governments can combat cybersecurity threats with this eBook.

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.