Will Panetta Make Sure Washington Provides for the Common Defense?

Michaela Dodge /

As the Secretary of Defense nominee Leon Panetta has his nomination hearing today, the American Enterprise Institute, the Foreign Policy Initiative, and The Heritage Foundation published a list of important questions that Congress should ask prior to Panetta’s confirmation.

As Panetta was a chief architect of the defense budget drawdown in the 1990s, Congress should make sure that the U.S. interests at home and abroad will remain protected and that the government will “provide for the common defense.”

The baseline defense budget is now 3.5 percent of America’s GDP, a figure well below the post–World War II average of 7.5 percent. Mr. Panetta will be required to execute President Obama’s deficit reduction plan, which calls for $400 billion in cuts to national security spending over the next 12 years. This would put the GDP percentage of the defense budget at its lowest in the entire post–World War II era. (more…)