With the resignation of Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and the arrival of a new Congress, Washington leaders should seize a new window of opportunity to save the Pentagon billions of dollars while improving America’s military posture. If past serves as prologue, however, it is more likely Congress will usher in another era of out-of-control defense spending for a military ill-suited to deal with current threats and a new war overseas.
An important shift is taking place in Washington. Secretary Hagel was brought on by the Obama administration to lead the Defense Department through the withdrawal of our troops from Afghanistan, a pivot to Asia, and what was supposed to be a post-war period to collectively breathe and right-size American forces. Instead, events in Iraq, Syria, Russia and elsewhere overshadowed that plan and have led to calls for increased Pentagon spending.