Washington, DC – Just weeks after the Department of Defense failed its fifth consecutive audit, Congress is set to pass the largest Pentagon budget in history. The military is poised to receive $858 billion in this year’s defense policy bill, known as the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).
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The Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL) resolutely opposes this allocation.
“In a time of such immense human suffering, it is unconscionable that Congress would opt for even more unchecked Pentagon spending,” said Bridget Moix, FCNL general secretary. “Our country is so busy trying to outpace Russia and China with weaponry that we have lost sight of our communities’ real needs. If the trillions of dollars we have poured into ever escalating military might had been invested instead in building peace and meeting human needs, our world would be much safer. It’s time for a serious pivot.”
At $45 billion higher than President Biden’s initial request, this year’s Pentagon budget is also higher than the House and Senate Armed Service Committees recommended earlier this year. Instead of making hard choices, Congress is adding funds to replenish the war arsenal and continue funneling weapons to Ukraine and European allies. In doing so, Congress will be handing the arms industry a bonanza of multiyear, no-bid contracts.
“A new arms race won’t bring peace. It will only fill the pockets of military contractors even more, while people worldwide suffer from additional violence and all its repercussions,” Moix added. “Congress should instead be allocating funds towards humanitarian efforts, diplomacy, peacebuilding, and addressing the root causes of injustice and violence.”
For decades, FCNL has worked to convince the government to put peacebuilding, diplomacy, and violence prevention at the center of its foreign policy.
“Fueling the military industrial complex is not only costly; it is immoral,” said Moix. “We encourage our leaders to address conflicts through diplomacy, humanitarian aid, and accountability for those who have violated human rights and have committed war crimes. We also urge Congress to prioritize locally led peacebuilding in our foreign policy.”
Conspicuously absent from the NDAA was the repeal of the 2002 Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq (2002 Iraq AUMF)—the legislation that green-lit the war against the Saddam Hussein regime. This outdated legislation has since been leveraged to justify subsequent military action entirely unconnected from its original purpose, most notoriously, the January 2020 assassination of Iranian general Qassem Soleimani. FCNL and its nationwide network of advocates urge Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer to keep his promise and bring the 2002 AUMF repeal (S.J. Res. 10) to a floor vote before the end of the year.
To learn more, please visit www.fcnl.org.