Think Tank: Increase Defense Spending

The armed forces would need an increase of $672.1 billion in funding during the next five fiscal years in order to modernize and rebuild, according to a report by the American Enterprise Institute (AEI).

The Washington, D.C.-based think tank also called for sustaining an Army large enough to continue the fight in the Middle East and be ready to win any possible conflicts that should arise in Europe or Asia.

“The United States now fields a military that could not meet even the requirements of a benign Clinton-era world. The services have watched their relative overmatch and capacity decline in almost every domain of warfare, and against select adversaries, for nearly two decades,” Mackenzie Eaglen, the report’s author, wrote.

Eaglen also called for:

* Increasing Marine Corps strength to 202,000, up from the present 185,000, and purchasing additional aircraft.
* Doubling the Air Force’s F-22 upgrade and F-35A production efforts, and increasing strength to 350,000 — up from the present 321,000.
* Expanding the Navy’s fleet to 339 ships, up from the present 310 — with an emphasized refocus on sea control.
* Expanding Army strength to 519,000 soldiers, up from the current 476,000, and creating “new, forward-based armored cavalry regiments in Eastern Europe.” Procurement of new weapons and “improvement of missile-defense capabilities” are also in order.