Spending on national security accounts for over 60 percent of the discretionary budget, and pressure to reduce U.S. defense spending is mounting. This paper, based on a speech given in June 2010 at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, briefly outlines the budgetary pressures for limiting U.S. defense spending, the lack of obvious targets for spending reductions within the defense budget, and the factors militating against a reduction in U.S. security commitments abroad. The author finds some potential for reduced defense spending if intelligence and law enforcement agencies and aid institutions can assume more of the counterterrorism mission or if the ability of partner nations to ensure their own security can be increased.
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