As Spending Spirals Out of Control Pentagon Board Advises Cuts

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.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.