Earlier this week, Pax Christi USA signed onto a letter circulated by the Friends Committee on National Legislation inviting the Senate Appropriations Committee to reduce the Pentagon budget military budget and work to create funding solutions that support justice, enhance sustainable human security and just peace and makes fiscal sense.
The letter reads, in part:
We note that the Budget Control Act has limited spending across the board since 2011, with one exception. The Pentagon’s Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) account has acted as a loophole that has allowed for total Pentagon spending to remain unchecked and out of balance with other priorities. This budgeting gimmick not only supports higher Pentagon spending intended in the Budget Control Act, but also reinforces investments in a militarized vision of society that contrasts starkly with the investments needed to support human potential.
Instead, we hope to see:
- Increased non-defense discretionary spending as needed to meet the real needs of the nation, and decreased defense spending, as major wars wind down and alternate means of building security develop;
- Increased investment in programs such as the Office of Economic Adjustment that help defense-dependent communities transition away from military- and government-dependent economies toward robust and diverse local economies;
- Decreased appropriations to modernize nuclear arsenals, when the U.S. already has stockpiles capable of destroying the world many times over.
- Attention to the surpluses created by over-funded weapons acquisition programs, resulting in surplus military hardware being made available to local police departments.
- Decreased investment in war-making and war preparations and increased appropriations for sustainable peacebuilding in State Department accounts such as the Complex Crisis Fund, Bureau of Conflict and Stabilization, and Office of Conflict Mitigation and Management. These programs have been growing over the last decade and now have real-life evidence of success – wars and mass atrocities prevented – without engaging military force.
The letter was addressed to member of the Senate Appropriations Committee.