PF Jan ’17 – Military Spending

Resolved: In order to better respond to international conflicts, the United States should significantly increase its military spending.

Resources: Mostly the Extemp Files and the Extemp Backfiles – both have a US Military – Cyber folder, as well folders for Nukes, US Foreign Policy, and for specific countries that may be cited as a threat (Russia/China/North Korea are probably the big 3 for direct threats, but the Middle East is worth considering, too). Defense One (part of The Atlantic family of sites) and Defense News may also be of use.

When developing a Pro case, consider the first thing a Con opponent should say: What conflict? Simply using the phrase in the resolution is likely to be inadequate without specifying either specific threats, or a range of threats, for which we should be prepared. (See my posting when the topic was announced for some thoughts on ‘why’ options, though there are likely to be several more than I listed.)

The ‘Why’ question should set up the next part – the ‘What’ question. On what should the increase be spent? Keep in mind what components make up a modern military – troops, small hardware (weapons, ammunition/shells/bombs, equipment), large hardware (armor, ships, planes, missiles, air/sea drones, and the technology for these), logistics (say, for rapid deployment), really high tech (Artificial Intelligence, anyone?), and even nukes (now that Trump has put the question on the front burner again) or cyberwarfare. Keep in mind the branches of the US military (Army, Navy/Marines, Airforce, Coast Guard), and details such as Spec Ops taking over countering WMDs (in the December folder). Do we need offensive or defensive capabilities for the threats cited?

Any Con side should be questioning the Pro side for details on what they’ll be spending the money on – the topic is essentially an If/Then statement (if international conflicts/then increased military spending), so pursuing the details of the Then part of the resolution should be expected, since the Then statement is supposed to solve the If statement.

Details: between Dec 5th-12th there were several articles on a report on wasteful military spending – search not only my files but other sources for that time period. I would expect a major Con argument to be that the military doesn’t need additional spending given the size of the waste reported ($125B, I think). What about Trump’s comments that other countries should take over the cost of their defense (Japan, South Korea, and NATO countries have all been singled out at various times)?  Would that be a good Con argument? (Does Trump really mean what he said? Is shifting the costs even possible? There are articles on the subject in the files.)

One of the most sobering articles I read recently, on US technical superiority (or lack thereof) was the Sides article in the August folder. (I use instead of Google; check the results for ‘russia artillery thermobaric’ for more on the subject – and possible web sites of interest for this resolution.)

A new phrase I came across today, and a possible Con argument: ‘weaponized narrative’ – turn a narrative into a weapon, or more simply misinformation and propaganda of the sort Russia has been using both with us and with Europe. If that’s the new form of warfare, then is more spending really necessary? Or can the Pro argue that countering such narratives is the reason we need more spending?


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