‘Revamped’ Pentagon Budget Hikes Military Size

While Abandoning Wasteful Weapons Programs, Gates' Budget Still an Increase

by Jason Ditz, April 06, 2009

Last Updated 4/6/09 11:35 PM EST

Secretary of Defense Robert Gates today unveiled aspects of the new US military budget for fiscal 2010. Described as a “fundamental overhaul” of the Pentagon’s budget, it shifts spending priorities from high priced weapons programs in favor of fighting against insurgencies in its assorted wars, both current and future.

Gates acknowledged that the cut of the high priced programs, many of which were behind schedule and over budget, would be “controversial.” Indeed the stocks of various military contractors dropped significantly in anticipation of the announced cuts.

But though the presentation focused around the massive cuts in weapons, overall spending in the $534 billion budget (which doesn’t include the costs of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan) is actually several percent higher than the budget for 2009. For while Gates cut things like the $140 billion fighter jet program, he will dramatically increase spending on Predator drones and other weapons involved in America’s current wars. Also increased will be funding for healthcare and a massive increase in civilian staff.

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