Mitt Romney made some lazy remarks the other day to veterans that further demonstrate he will offer few, if any, new ideas for governing our country. Flanked by John McCain and speaking to a crowd of veterans, Romney gave the same speech Republican presidential candidates have given for 50 years. “We have two courses we can follow,” said Mr. Romney. “One is to follow the pathway of Europe and shrink our military smaller and smaller to pay for our social needs. The other is to commit to preserve America as the strongest military in the world, second to none, with no comparable power anywhere in the world.” Surprise! Mitt Romney says he’ll follow that second path because the world is not safe, citing Iran, Mexican drug cartels, and Russia.
Republicans have always enjoyed a political advantage over Democrats on military issues, so it’s an easy and safe contrast for Romney to draw. But consider the reality of the world we live in, to say nothing of our federal deficit. We need to continue to reinvent our military power to meet the new threats that Romney enumerated plus many more, and we need to do it at a significant cost-savings. There is simply no way to reasonably balance the budget without addressing military spending. The good news is that the business model for the Pentagon is ripe for reinvention and cost-savings.
One can only wish that Romney would have the courage to say, “Look, I know a lot about turning businesses around, cutting costs, getting rid of waste, making them more efficient. I’m going to do that with the largest business in the United States: the Pentagon. We have the best fighting men and women in the world, and they deserve a military that better supports and equips them without wasting billions in tax dollars. That’s what I will do as president: not only keep our military the strongest in the world, but also make it the most cost-effective.”