Issue Briefs

What Would A President Pence Mean For America’s Military?

What Would A President Pence Mean For America’s Military? (From RealClearDefence)

Loren B. Thompson

June 20, 2017

If the troubled presidency of Donald Trump ends early, vice president Mike Pence would presumably become president. It doesn’t take much imagination to figure out what that would mean for domestic policy because Pence is a movement conservative who has been remarkably consistent over the years on subjects like abortion and regulation. When it comes to the military, though, Pence’s views are less clear. His father was a decorated combat veteran in Korea and his only son is a lieutenant in the Marine Corps.  Pence hails from a region and a tradition that venerates military service. His voting record over six terms in the House was generally hawkish. But like fellow Tea Party alumnus (and White House budget director) Mick Mulvaney, Pence looks like more of a deficit hawk than a defense hawk.  In other words, he probably wouldn’t back big increases in military spending unless they could be offset in a way that minimized new federal borrowing.  With personnel and readiness always funded first in the Pentagon’s budget, modernization of aging combat systems might lag in a Pence administration — despite his Hoosier-based affinity for heavy manufacturing. I have written a commentary for RealClearDefense here.


Loren-Thompson_avatar-300x300Loren 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 official policy of GPI.