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Press Release - JINSA Urges President to Protect Defense Spending as Vital to Economic Recovery

WASHINGTON - Ensuring the economic viability of the American defense industry should be a priority for the Obama Administration, the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs said today.

In response to the President's speech to Congress last week, JINSA Executive Director Tom Neumann took issue with the mention of defense spending as an area for cost-cutting and eliminating waste.

"Defense spending – aside from being crucial to our long-term security and our ability to protect our allies and assets abroad – is an integral part of the American economy," said Neumann in a letter to President Obama. "Some two million American workers in thousands of American manufacturing facilities produce the airplanes, vehicles, helicopters, ammunition, ships and equipment used by our servicemen and women as well as our friends and allies across the globe."

"Our military has been at war since 2001, and our stores and supplies need replenishing and upgrading," Neumann added. "Now we are ramping up in Afghanistan, further straining the supplies and equipment. An increase in defense spending – temporary, if necessary – could restore our arsenal, ensure current workers of their continued employment and add immediate jobs to the American economy."

Neumann cited economist Martin Feldstein, who wrote recently, "A 10% increase in defense outlays for procurement and for research would contribute about $20 billion a year to the overall stimulus budget. A 5% rise in spending on operations and maintenance would add an additional $10 billion. That spending could create about 300,000 additional jobs. And raising the military's annual recruitment goal by 15% would provide jobs for an additional 30,000 young men and women in the first year…. military suppliers have substantial unused capacity… With industrial production in the economy as a whole down sharply, there is no shortage of potential employees who can produce supplies and equipment. (And) almost all of the equipment and supplies that the military buys is made in the United States, creating demand and jobs here at home."

President Obama said in his February 24 speech, "We'll eliminate the no-bid contracts that have wasted billions in Iraq, and reform our defense budget so that we're not paying for Cold War-era weapons systems we don’t use."

"We can do better," said Neumann. "We can get ahead and we can provide our troops with the best equipment and resources possible to do the job we ask of them."

For further information or to arrange an interview with Tom Neumann, JINSA Executive Director, contact Jim Colbert at 202-667-3900.

The Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs is an independent, non-profit, non-partisan, non-sectarian educational organization established in 1976 to educate the public on national and international security issues, including the importance of an effective U.S. defense capability and the key role of strategic allies, including Israel, to promote democratic values in the Middle East.

Jewish Institute for National Security of America
1101 14th Street, NW, Suite 1030

Washington, D.C. 20005

(202) 667-3900 Office •