Commission outlines ways to cut defense spending by $1T over the next decade

A bipartisan commission appointed by Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) laid out ways on Friday to eliminate almost $1 trillion in defense spending over the next decade.

The Sustainable Defense Task Force, a commission of scholars from a broad ideological spectrum appointed by Frank, the House Financial Services Committee chairman, laid out options the government could take that could save as much as $960 billion between 2011 and 2020.

A report from the commission pointed to options including the elimination of programs, a reduction in weapons stockpiles and a reduction in troop sizes and deployment in order to shrink the growth.

“Leaders from the left, right and center agree on two major policy changes: The U.S. deficit must be reduced and the Pentagon budget can reverse its exponential growth while keeping Americans safe,” said task force member Paul Kawika Martin, policy and political director of Peace Action, a grassroots peace organization.

Deficit reduction has been a major issue for Republicans and President Barack Obama of late. Both sides have made their own proposals to cut spending and deficits, but most measures put forth eschew cuts to defense spending, be it discretionary or nondiscretionary. (The report attributes 65 percent in the growth of discretionary spending since 2001 to defense spending.)

Frank was set to unveil the proposals on Capitol Hill on Friday morning with a bipartisan set of lawmakers, scheduled to appear with Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden (Ore.) and Republican Reps. Walter Jones (N.C.) and Ron Paul (Texas).