I don't know if most people are aware of this but over 20 percent of all federal spending is for defense. A major portion of that money goes to the defense and aerospace industry to manufacture equipment for warfare. The Pentagon is an immense organization and its main purpose is to guarantee American military supremacy. Because the defense and aerospace industry consistently receives the bulk of federal defense spending in the form of defense contracts, it has been able to recruit and continually employ the brightest scientific minds in America.
Here is an idea. Based upon the state of both the world and U.S. economy, a shift in U.S. spending priorities could solve a lot of America's problems. I believe that America has the most advanced technological capacity and the best and the brightest minds in the world. Again, many of these people work in the defense and aerospace industry. They have put men on the moon, built the international space station, created planes that can fly three times the speed of sound and have sent advanced, information-gathering robots over forty million miles away to Mars. Why can't we redirect a major portion of what we are spending to essentially kill people and use that money to develop products that the American people want, products utilizing technology that could solve our dependence on foreign oil?
If we redirected 25 percent of defense spending to renewable energy, we could spur competition and innovation amongst the top defense contractors for federal renewable energy contracts instead of military contracts.
Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and Boeing were the top three defense contractors in 2010, and variable combinations of the three consistently top the list of annual defense contractors. Add to these defense giants the innovative powers and virtuosity of NASA, and you have four very viable candidates to develop renewable energy technology at a much faster rate than is currently taking place. A cursory hypothetical goal that seems practical for these industry giants would be battery technology that would allow us to produce a four-passenger electric vehicle able to travel 200 miles on a single charge, and could be fully recharged within 30 minutes. This type of technological innovation in the automobile industry could eliminate our country's dependence on foreign oil and more importantly, the need for military engagements to protect foreign oil reserves. Think of the job creating potential if the big players in the defense and aerospace industry went all-in on renewable energy.
Imagine America as the top producer of alternative fuel vehicles and renewable energy technology on Earth. This is the direction we need to take if we are to maintain American primacy in the world, both economically and technologically. If the US cut defense spending by 25 percent we would still have the largest military in the world by far.
So what's stopping us? The defense and aerospace industry has so much power in Washington that one could say they pretty much own a majority of Congressional members. This has made it almost impossible to cut defense spending. Obviously, the defense budget has swelled beyond absurdity. The Pentagon budget was $663.7 billion in fiscal year 2010, approximately ten times larger than the next closest agency, and about $85 billion more than the combined budgets of every other agency.
Americans do not need more effective ways to kill people. We have enough military technology to kill every man, woman, and child on earth ten times over. The American people DO need renewable energy technology and transportation that isn't dependent on finite fossil fuels.
Within five years the people that put a man on the moon and robots on Mars could build a battery that would power an economical electric vehicle. This would have a staggering impact on America and the world.
There are a thousand upsides and not one downside to this. Let's employ America's ability to generate the most technologically advanced products on earth.
It's time for the federal government to quit spending so much of our tax dollars on building technology to kill other people, and focus on technology to serve people and solve one of our nation's largest problems: dependence on foreign oil.