A study conducted by the Program for Public Consultation found that if given a choice, the average American would cut defense spending by 23 percent in Fiscal 2013 to help reduce the federal budget deficit. That would result in a defense budget some $127 billion below Fiscal 2012 levels, according to the study, issued May 10. The Stimson Center and the Center for Public Integrity collaborated on the study. PPC questioned a random sample of 665 American adults via the Internet from April 12 to April 18. Republican respondents, on average, proposed cutting defense spending by 15 percent, or $83 billion. Democrats, on the other hand, proposed a 28-percent cut, or $155 billion. The majority of respondents chose to cut nuclear weapons, with an overall average cut of $5.1 billion, or 27 percent, in this area, making it the largest proposed cut percentage-wise in the survey. Special operations forces faired the best among the categories, although six in 10 respondents chose to decrease SOF funding, but only by 10 percent. “These views are likely to drive policymakers after the [Presidential] election,” said Matthew Leatherman, a Stimson analyst during a May 10 briefing in Washington, D.C., unveiling the study results. (PPC release) (PPC study full document; caution, large file.)
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.