The uniformed services are trying to lock in the next administration by creating a political cost for holding the line on defense spending. Conservative groups are hoping to ramp up defense spending as a tool to limit options for a Democratic Congress and president to pass new, and potentially costly, social programs, including health care reform. ...
... There are so many things wrong with this emerging process that it is hard to address the issue concisely. Promoting overspending on defense in order to forestall popular social spending is undemocratic - it creates a false tension between national security and other public policy goals.
The informal alliance between the services and conservative think tanks threatens to further politicize the military. The abuse of national security arguments to win political arguments is both morally suspect and threatens the security of the nation by delinking strategic assessment from public policy.
Ultimately, the most dangerous aspect of this development is the threat posed to civil-military relations.
Never were conservative think tanks less influential with the public. Let the American people think the Generals are deliberately gaming the system for the purpose of stopping health care reform and the negative consequences would be catastrophic. The armed forces are there to protect the nation, they are not for any other purpose.