"President Trump is arguing for a military buildup before producing a strategic vision or laying out priorities to guide the new spending," Wirls problematizes. "Instead he has justified it, so far, on two misleading premises: that President Barack Obama slashed the defense budget and that as a result the military is depleted and needs to be rebuilt."
Wirls compares Trump's military budget with the previous ten years of military spending during the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. He also looks at how the money is spent in the military.
"President Trump has so far leaned heavily on the slippery concept of “peace through strength,” even though all these years of unrivaled U.S. power – and our repeated use of it – have not produced peace. The president seems to see military strength almost as an end in itself, or “performative,” as military analyst Erin Simpson put it, a kind of show or performance, regardless of whether the capabilities are matched to the threats we face."
Wirls research spans American political history, from the debates at the Constitutional Convention to the latest developments in military policy. His most recent book is The Federalist Papers and Institutional Power in American Political Development (Palgrave MacMillan, 2015). He is also author of Irrational Security: The Politics of Defense from Reagan to Obama (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2010).