A solid majority of Americans think the US should spend more on defense and feel they’re under greater threat, according to a Harris Poll commissioned by the Aerospace Industries Association, released Wednesday. AIA President Marion Blakey, speaking at the association’s year-end review in Washington, D.C., quoted the poll as saying that 69 percent of registered voters favor an increase in defense spending; broken down by party affiliation, it was 83 percent of Republicans, 63 percent of Independents, and 60 percent of Democrats. The numbers were similar when respondents were asked if they would support a candidate who favored increased defense spending. “I warn members of Congress” and candidates for 2016 “to ignore (this sentiment)… at your own peril,” Blakey said. She said it’s time to put aside “the rose-colored glasses of isolationists” and the “green eyeshades of fiscal ideologues” and devote adequate spending to defense. “The American people are genuinely concerned” that the risk posed by ISIS has made them significantly less secure than they were a year ago, Blakey said of other survey findings. The “modernization holiday,” which slowed the recapitalization of the US military during the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, “simply must end,” she asserted. The best way to address public sentiment and restore voter confidence in Congress—at historically low levels—is to rescind the looming budget sequester, “listen” to the public mood, and “end this dangerous procrastination,” Blakey said.
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.