The nation cannot afford to continue spending $716 billion annually on national security as it is slated to next year, Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.), ranking member on the House Armed Services Committee said Wednesday at the Defense News Conference. “I think the number’s too high, and it’s certainly not going to be there in the future,” he said, reported Defense News. Smith pointed to the rising debt along with the need to balance defense spending with domestic requirements such as infrastructure, health care and education. “I think we are going to take a more realistic look at that and then try to figure out how to fund it [national security],” he said.
Smith’s comments came two months ahead of an election which could cede control of the House to Democrats and hand the Armed Services Committee gavel to the 11-term congressman.
Despite the need to address severe spending challenges, Smith expressed confidence the United States would remain the preeminent world power. “We are going to be a major, major player, probably the major player, on the global stage” for a long time to come, he said. “But we are not going to be utterly and completely dominant.”
DOD photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Daniel Hinton