Pentagon’s Warnings Against Defense Cuts Are Overblown

In the worst case scenario - which is unlikely to happen - defense budgets would only have to trim to 2007 level spending

For months the Obama administration has warned that any serious cuts to the defense budget would be harmful to national security, but any viable cuts would be minuscule.

The Pentagon expected to receive roughly $7 trillion over the next decade. Of that, it has already agreed to cut $450 billion, mostly targeting veterans health care and benefits, as well as the Pentagon’s plan to buy 2,400 unnecessary F-35 fighters for $350 billion.

In the worst case scenario – that is, if the super committee fails to come up with $1.2 trillion in reductions to the overall budget by November 23 – the Pentagon would face a cut of $1 trillion over ten years. But the baseline defense budget was projected to grow by 26 percent over that time, so $1 trillion reduction would still result in a defense budget increase of almost 20 percent.

The automatic cuts in defense that would kick in if the super committee fails to come up with cuts, would merely trim Pentagon spending back to fiscal year 2007’s level, in 2013, allowing it then to rise with the rate of inflation for the rest of the decade.

The truth is that even if defense spending was cut in half tomorrow – an far more outlandish prospect than anything being proposed – the U.S. would still outspend every other country in the world on its military.

report from the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments found that while the source of growth in annual defense budgets since 2001 has been mostly (54%) due to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, much of the rest has been spent on wasteful superfluous weapons technology, bloated salaries and benefits plans, and expensive peacetime operating costs for the 900-plus military bases in 130-plus countries around the world.

Yet the Obama administration keeps pushing for drastic increases in permanent U.S. troop presence in non-war zones around the world, and profligate weapons capabilities.

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Author: John Glaser

John Glaser writes for Antiwar.com.