New Thinking on Military Defense Needs


Marc Pilisuk, Ph.D. – TRANSCEND Media Service

28 Aug 2022 – The US Pentagon FY 2021 budget calls for $705.4 b. up from $704.6 in FY2020, amounting to more than half of all discretionary funding and exceeding the military spending of the next 10 counties combined: supporting 800 military bases in 70 countries.

Military actions since the end of WW 2 have permitted the killing of 20 million people, intervention in foreign elections, and assassinations of foreign leaders. With each new war, the proportion of deaths and casualties has shifted dramatically from soldiers to civilians. Bolstering regimes guilty of human rights atrocities has not brought greater security to the US but has led instead to extremes of poverty, hunger, and mass migrations.  Soldiers who have no role in starting wars are praised as heroes but are returned with incapacitating disabilities including loss of limbs, PTSD and Traumatic Brain Injury. Significant numbers are homeless.

The military budget supports the expenditures for lobbying on the part of spokespersons for military contractors. Key members of DOD reflect a revolving door of personnel to and from highly profitable military contractors. Voices for more peaceful conflict resolution and for disarmament agreements find little opportunity for influence.

Pressures for strategic advantage among the largest imperial states, Russia, China, and the US, have reduced the cooperation needed to deal with the environmental crisis and with the prevention of pandemic disease. The reliance on force has produced what our best nuclear scientists consider an unacceptable danger of escalation into nuclear war.

A new way of resolving conflicts and respecting life is needed.  The US can provide the leadership in this change. It can honor the work of the United Nations and The International Criminal Court. Our media can celebrate the work of diplomats and of leaders who solve difficult issues nonviolently. Mayors can rise to expose the fact that their constituents lack sufficient resources for housing and health care because their tax dollars are focused upon military uses. War is no longer a method to achieve justice. It is a relic of outmoded national practices that now endanger all of life on the one planet that sustains us.

Transition to a peaceful world is highlighted by several civic organizations including The Poor People’s Campaign. Critical steps could begin with the budget. With no sacrifice to its security, the US military budget could be reduced by $350 billion with funds redirected to the major threats to U.S. security:

  • the climate crisis,
  • global pandemic disease, and
  • extreme inequality leading to despair and violence.

$200 billion of this sum could be re-directed to Green climate actions, to funding of the US-China Clean Energy Research Center, support for the UN and 140 other countries in implementing universally available vaccines, to measures working with China and Russia to reduce global tensions, and to approve a Department of Peace.

A better and more peaceful world is possible. We must envision it, promote it, and let our leaders know that we require it.


Marc Pilisuk, Ph.D. is a member of the TRANSCEND Network for Peace Development Environment, professor emeritus at the University of California Davis, and a faculty at Saybrook University, Berkeley, California. He is the author of 10 books and more than 140 articles over an academic career spanning five decades including a 3-volume anthology, Peace Movements Worldwide, with Michael Nagler (Eds) Santa Barbara, 2011; and The Hidden Structure of Violence: Who Benefits from Global Violence and War, with Jennifer Achord Rountree, 2015. He was a founding member of the first Teach-In, The Society Against Nuclear Explosions, The Psychologists for Social Responsibility, and a past president of the Society for the Study of Peace, Conflict and Violence. Among his recognitions is the Howard Zinn Award from the Peace and Justice Studies Association. Email:

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This article originally appeared on Transcend Media Service (TMS) on 29 Aug 2022.

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