Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns

Representing Maryknoll Fathers & Brothers, Maryknoll Sisters, and Maryknoll Lay Missioners
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Letter in Support of Amendment to Cut the Pentagon Budget

The Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns signed on to the following letter to members of the Senate, urging their support for a proposed amendment that would reallocate 10 percent of the Pentagon budget toward human needs priorities, especially in light of the pandemic. 

Read the letter as a pdf

June 29, 2020

Dear Senator,

The undersigned organizations, representing our millions of members around the country, write to you in strong support of the proposed amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2021 that would reallocate 10 percent of the bloated Pentagon budget toward severely underfunded human needs priorities - many of which are more critical than ever as our country continues to confront the COVID-19 pandemic. We urge you to co-sponsor amendment 1788 introduced by Senators Sanders and Markey and vote in support should it reach the Senate floor.

Our militarism budget is out of control. In 2019, the United States spent more money on our military than the next nine countries combined. More than half of the Pentagon budget is spent on expensive and non-competitive military contractors. The Department of Defense’s budget eclipses that of federal courts, education, the State Department, local economic development, public health and environmental protection combined, yet the Pentagon is incapable of passing a basic audit. 

Multiple analyses have determined that U.S. and collective security would not suffer, and in fact would improve by, cutting hundreds of billions of dollars from the runaway Pentagon budget through common-sense steps, like eliminating redundant and unusable weapons systems, ending wars, ceasing reliance on expensive contractors, and rejecting new nuclear weapons development. These overdue steps would instead allow us to properly focus our investments on our most urgent and pressing human needs. Polling demonstrates that this is a popular idea, and most American voters want to see money redirected from the Pentagon to invest in human security.

The jarring recent images of police with weapons of war in our streets is a stark reminder of how militarism and white supremacy drive misplaced spending priorities both at home and abroad. Meanwhile, all over the country, millions have lost their jobs and access to health care as the novel coronavirus pandemic rages on. The current moment should force us to confront the reality that, for too long, we have invested in the wrong priorities, the wrong tools, and the wrong solutions. 

As a point of comparison: last year, the Centers for Disease Control budget was $7 billion, the national policing budget was $100 billion, and the Pentagon budget was $746 billion. Those three figures alone tell a tragic story about what and who this country prioritizes and values.

We should no longer tolerate unchecked spending on systems that fuel violence and corporate greed at the expense of the basic needs of our people. This amendment is a crucial step toward a federal budget that actually aligns with our values. We strongly urge you to support it.



American Friends Service Committee

Beyond the Bomb

CASA in Action

Center for International Policy

Coalition on Human Needs


Columban Center for Advocacy and Outreach

Congregation of Our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd, U.S. Provinces

Council for a Livable World

Criminalization of Poverty Project at the Institute for Policy Studies

Daily Kos

Demand Progress

Democracy for America

Disability Rights Education & Defense Fund (DREDF)


Dominican Sisters of Sinsinawa Peace and Justice Office

Environmentalists Against War

Equal Rights Advocates

Faith in Public Life

Friends Committee on National Legislation

Futures Without Vilence



Just Foreign Policy

Justice is Global

Leadership Conference of Women Religious

Maryknoll Office for Global Concnerns

Mennonite Central Committee U.S. Washington Office


National Advocacy Center of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd

National Center for Lesbian Rights

National Coalition Against Domestic Violence

National Coalition for the HOmeless

National Employment Law Project

National Iranian American Council Action

National Priorities Project at the Institute for Policy Studies

NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice

New Internationalism Project at the Institute for Policy Studies

Overseas Base Realignment and Closure Coalition

Pax Christi USA

Peace Action

Peace Direct

People's Action

Physicians for Social Responsibility

Public Advocacy for Kids (PAK)

Public Citizen

Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft

Roots Action

Sisters of Mercy of the Americas, Justice Team

STAND: The student-led movement to end mass atrocities

The United Methodist Church - General Board of Church and Society 

United Church of Christ, Justice and Witness Ministries

Union of Concerned Scientists 

Veterans for Peace

Vets for the People

Win Without War

Women's Action for New Directions (WAND)

World BEYOND War

Yemeni Alliance Committee

senate-ndaa-letter.pdf618.15 KB