Issue Briefs

Five Reasons Trump Won’t Reverse The U.S. Military’s Long Decline (From Forbes)

Five Reasons Trump Won’t Reverse The U.S. Military’s Long Decline

Loren Thompson

April 27, 2017

Donald Trump ran for the presidency promising that he would rebuild America’s military.  The joint force definitely needs renewal, but after 100 days in office, Trump doesn’t look like the leader who can accomplish it.  For starters, the military has been in gradual decline for a long time — roughly two decades — and that isn’t likely to be fully turned around during Trump’s tenure.  Second, the White House can’t deliver on necessary increases in defense spending because it has failed to give Democrats an incentive to go along with removing spending caps in current law.  Third, the president has so many other priorities that they are likely to eclipse his defense commitments.  Fourth, neither major political party has exhibited much enthusiasm for military spending increases if they require making sacrifices in other areas.  Fifth, current threats are so diverse and confusing that it is hard to build a consensus on how much money the military needs, and to what ends.  I have written a commentary for Forbes here



Loren Thompson

Loren B. Thompson is Senior Adviser of GPI , Chief Operating Officer of the non-profit Lexington Institute and Chief Executive Officer of Source Associates, a for-profit consultancy. Prior to holding his present positions, he was Deputy Director of the Security Studies Program at Georgetown University and taught graduate-level courses in strategy, technology and media affairs at Georgetown. He has also taught at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government. Mr. Thompson holds doctoral and masters degrees in government from Georgetown University and a bachelor of science degree in political science from Northeastern University.


The views and opinions expressed in this issue brief are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the policy of GPI.