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What would average Americans do if they were informed about the level and purposes of U.S. defense spending and had a chance to weigh the arguments that experts make? Would they boost overall funding, or cut it? Would they spend more on air power or sea power? How much would they say the US should spend on nuclear arms? On major ground forces? On special forces?

Most polls simply ask whether defense spending should be cut or not. But three nonprofit organizations — the Program for Public Consultation (PPC),* the Stimson Center, and the Center for Public Integrity — collaborated on a more useful survey. They provided a representative sample of the American public with neutral information about how funds are currently being spent, and exposed them to various arguments made by advocates in the contemporary debate about defense expenditures. The respondents then said what they wished to spend in key areas.

The results of this innovative survey are now in, and we are inviting you to attend a presentation that will shed new light on the linkages — and gaps — between decisions being made in Washington and what average Americans want. The results will also make clear which arguments in favor of or opposed to current defense spending have the most resonance with members of the public.

Here are the logistics:

Time: Thursday, May 10, 2012 at 10:00-11:30 am

Place: The Stimson Center, 1111 19th Street, NW | 12th Floor, 202 223 5956


Steven Kull, director of the Program for Public Consultation*

Matthew Leatherman, Analyst, Stimson Center’s Budgeting for Foreign Affairs and Defense project

R. Jeffrey Smith, Managing Editor for National Security, Center for Public Integrity

Please RSVP for this event here. For additional information, call (202) 232-7500.

*The Program for Public Consultation is a joint program of the Center for Policy Attitudes and the School of Public Policy at the University of Maryland

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R. Jeffrey Smith worked for 25 years in a series of key reporting and editorial roles at The Washington...