US defense spending rose 72% over the course of the Bush Administration, from $381 billion in 2000 to $671 billion in 2008. President-elect Obama is expected to continue that trend, as he has vowed to increase the size of the military’s ground forces.
But the Defense Business Board, a top Pentagon advisory group, cautions that “business as usual” style growth is no longer an option, and is recommending dramatic cuts to some of the military’s largest weapons projects as a way of getting spiraling costs under control.
Of course, the figure of $671 billion includes emergency war spending bills. Not including that, the budget is more like $512 billion. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates would have the 2010 budget, presently projected at $526.7 billion, increased by a further $57 billion (again, not counting emergency war spending).
This budget may seem enormous, and the justifications for such an increasing unreasonable, but Secretary Gates sees it as a bargain, if anything, compared to the $700 billion “stimulus” package pushed through last month, saying “If you want to talk about a stimulus package, the defense budget’s not bad and obviously a lot of jobs around the country depend” on military spending.
That may end up being the final legacy of the enormous stimulus package: it has finally provided something that makes even the bloated American military budget seem modest, by comparison.
Last 5 posts by Jason Ditz
- Landmines Complicate Civilians' Flight From Mosul - February 26th, 2017
- Iraq's West Mosul Invasion Slows to a Crawl - February 26th, 2017
- Dozens Killed in Suicide Attacks in Syria's Homs - February 26th, 2017
- With Pentagon Help, Iraqi Warplanes Bomb Syria - February 26th, 2017
- Syrian Forces Seize Territory From ISIS in Aleppo Province - February 26th, 2017