In an appearance before the Senate Budget Committee today, Frank J. Gaffney, Jr., director of the Center for Security Policy, described the serious uncertainties that make levels of defense spending below those sought by the Bush Administration ill-advised and possibly quite dangerous. He also released a second iteration of the Center’s "scorecard" on the defense budget, revealing programmatic areas where the Center agrees — and disagrees — with the Bush plan.
Gaffney told the Budget Committee, "For all the talk of the end of the Cold War and the reduction of tensions, the world remains a very dangerous place for America and her interests….The reality is that, while hopeful change is indeed occurring across a broad front, in various ways such changes are giving rise to an international environment in which American military capabilities may be as important as ever — if not more important than in the past."
Gaffney’s testimony detailed a number of developments which suggest that — for all of its internal difficulties and economic problems — the Soviet Union is closer today to realizing long-term strategic objectives than at any time since World War II. In light of such developments, and threats from other quarters, Gaffney urged that three specific steps be taken:
- Before President Bush or the Congress act on CIA Director William Webster’s recent assessment of Soviet prospects — which can only be described as a prescription for radical surgery on the defense budget — a "second opinion" should be secured. Toward this end, the Center believes a "Team B" should be empaneled, involving a group of non-governmental experts tasked with reviewing the classified and unclassified data, the assumptions and conclusions on which Judge Webster’s analysis is based.
- Review the budget "top-line" and the specific programmatic recommendations contained in the Center’s new analysis, entitled Defense Scorecard II: An Assessment of the Bush Budget.
- Avoid defense burden-imposing initiatives like: transferring militarily relevant Western high-technology directly (or indirectly) to the USSR; assisting the Soviet Union in expanding its energy leverage over East European nations and others; and facilitating Soviet untied borrowing. Such initiatives unnecessarily jeopardize Western security interests and add to the costs of providing adequate defenses.