Strengthening of America: National Security Implications of America’s Debt & Bipartisan Plans to Address the Situation

  • Sep 12, 2012

    Panel 1: Gates and Mullen to discuss National Security Implications of America’s Debt; 

    Panel 2: Simpson, Bowles, Domenici and Rivlin to discuss Bipartisan Plans to Address the Situation

    WASHINGTON, September 12, 2012 – Former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mike Mullen will headline a session on the national security implications of America’s debt on Monday, September 17, from 12:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. at CSIS, 1800 K Street, N.W., in Washington, D.C.  Secretary Gates will appear via satellite.  The national security panel will be followed by a second panel featuring former White House chief of staff Erskine Bowles, former U.S. Senator Alan Simpson (R-WY), former White House director of the Office of Management and Budget Alice Rivlin, and former U.S. Senate Budget Committee Chairman Pete Domenici (R-NM).  Mr. Bowles and Senator Simpson will appear via satellite.   

    Next Monday’s session is the second forum of Strengthening of America—Our Children’s Future, designed to raise public consciousness of the country’s growing and unsustainable debt.  The first forum this morning focused on the Economic and Foreign Policy Implications of America’s Debt and featured former Secretary of the Treasury Robert Rubin and former Treasury Secretary and Secretary of State James A. Baker, III.

    Strengthening of America—Our Children’s Future is led by former U.S. Senators Sam Nunn (D-GA), Pete Domenici (R-NM), Warren Rudman (R-NH), and Evan Bayh (D-IN).  Together they have convened a bipartisan group of former senators and representatives to come together for four forums between now and the first presidential debate. Each of the forums resembles a congressional hearing with high-level former U.S. government officials providing remarks before a panel of former elected representatives.  Future sessions will focus on pro-growth tax reform and the imperative of entitlement and health care cost control.

    “We believe that there is an urgency to our growing federal debt that no longer allows us to simply kick the can down the road,” said the four former senators in a joint statement. “While in the short term Washington needs to support the economic recovery, that does not preclude development of a bipartisan plan that would phase in comprehensive, long-term fiscal reforms.  In fact, such a plan would help boost today’s weak economy by assuring investors and the American public that the government had shifted to a more responsible and sustainable course.”

    “Neither party, however, seems willing to address this issue with either common sense or simple arithmetic. There are current members of both parties, though, who understand the stakes and who are willing to work together by putting the country first. We hope to support, strengthen, and help add to that group.”

    The effort is a joint project of The Concord Coalition, The Bipartisan Policy Center, the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), the American Business Conference, the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy of Rice University, the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, and the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard University.  Strengthening of America—Our Children’s Future, is working closely and coordinating with the Campaign to Fix the Debt, the Comeback America Initiative, and the Peter G. Peterson Foundation’s ongoing efforts to call attention to the fiscal challenges threatening America’s future.

    The Steering Committee for Strengthening of America currently includes the following former members of Congress: Howard Baker (R-TN), Bob Bennett (R-UT), David Boren (D-OK), Bill Brock (R-TN), Richard Bryan (D-NV), Mike Castle (R-DE), Jack Danforth (R-MO), Tom Davis (R-VA), Byron Dorgan (D-ND), Mickey Edwards (R-OK), Daniel Evans (R-WA), Bill Frenzel (R-MN), Dan Glickman (D-KS), Slade Gorton (R-WA), Bob Graham (D-FL), William Gray (D-PA), Judd Gregg (R-NH), Chuck Hagel (R-NE), Jane Harman (D-CA), J. Bennett Johnston (D-LA), Nancy Kassebaum (R-KS), David McCurdy (D-OK), Jim Nussle (R-IA), Tim Penny (D-MN), Chuck Robb (D-VA), Tim Roemer (D-IN), Alan Simpson (R-WY), Charlie Stenholm (D-TX), John Tanner (D-TN), Tom Tauke (R-IA), and Tim Wirth (D-CO).

    “Too many people assume it is impossible for Republicans and Democrats to work together,” said Senators Nunn, Domenici, Rudman, and Bayh in their joint statement. “Our experience tells us that it is not only possible—it is absolutely essential. While we are not naïve about the unlikely prospect of any agreement until after the election, there are plans currently on the table—like Simpson/Bowles and Domenici/Rivlin—that are bipartisan, that put everything on the table, and that provide a useful starting point for debate and agreement. We need to focus attention on this vital issue today to preserve our children’s future tomorrow.”

    For press inquiries on Strengthening of America, please contact Andrew Schwartz, CSIS senior vice president for external relations, at or call (202) 775-3242.

    The effort is a joint project of the following organizations:

    The Concord Coalition

    The Bipartisan Policy Center

    The Center for Strategic and International Studies

    The American Business Conference

    The James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy at Rice University

    The Hoover Institution at Stanford University

    The Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard University

    You can follow the initiative on Twitter @USAStronger.