Budgets used to be boring. Today they are the latest Beltway scorecard in the ideological back and forth over how to spend taxpayer dollars on initiatives or programs prized by Democrats and Republicans or an appropriations committee chairman and his putative rival from another state. This is the wrong way to look at how the current budget process will impact U.S. national security. The real impact, particularly on American competitiveness, comes from a lot more than a particular line item in the Defense Department budget. There is no better example of this than the defense industrial base.