Mackenzie Eaglen has worked on defense issues in the U.S. Congress, both House and Senate, and at the Pentagon in the Office of the Secretary of Defense and on the Joint Staff. She specializes in defense strategy, budget, military readiness and the defense industrial base. In 2010, Ms. Eaglen served as a staff member of the congressionally mandated Quadrennial Defense Review Independent Panel, a bipartisan, blue-ribbon commission established to assess the Pentagon's major defense strategy. A prolific writer on defense related issues, she has also testified before Congress.
Research Fellow for National Security Studies, The Heritage Foundation, 2006-2012
Principal Defense Adviser to Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), 2004-2006
Legislative Assistant, Rep. John Sweeney (R-N.Y.), 2003-2004
Presidential Management Fellow, United States Department of Defense, 2001-2003
M.A., School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University
Pretending that Congress should avoid a domestic base closure round because we need to target overseas bases first simply ignores reality and the real money it is generating as a result of these savings.
The imperative for reductions in the DoD civilian workforce is real after a decade of unchecked growth and a contracting military's needs decline. The new Secretary of Defense must move beyond feel-good speeches and make a detailed plan which he personally oversees to rein in this largesse.
Had Pentagon officials provided detail about how and where they would implement these painful spending reductions in April, politicians could clearly have understood the consequences of their choices. Not providing them publicly has only made it easier for Washington to absorb the sequester.
Not only is the fleet shrinking and aging, but it is also changing its composition by trading powerful combat ships before the end of their service lives for larger numbers of smaller and less capable ships.
With budgets coming and staying down, only structural solutions promise savings of the magnitude necessary to meet challenges such as sequestration. Unfortunately, so far, Washington is signaling that it is still unready for these types of dramatic changes.
The price of American strength is a military capable of protecting the nation's interests worldwide, day in and day out. The problem with cutting military capabilities is that the cost of doing so is often invisible--until they are needed. National defense is a long-term but essential investment that provides enormous returns by saving American lives and treasure.
Unfortunately, President Obama’s 2014 defense budget is a recipe for continued uncertainty, additional budget cuts, an ultimately reduced strategy and inability to safely and smartly plan for the long-term.
Despite the White House’s tendency to target modern military weapons systems for cuts before other pots of defense dollars, the Administration was surely pleased it had these capabilities on hand when needed in recent weeks.
Secretary Hagel gave up on making real change at the Pentagon before it even has a chance to begin. He appears to be saying that these challenges warrant scrutiny, but action is questionable at this point. This simply negates all of his reasoning and rationale for why these cost drivers must be tackled now.