Its five times more than any other military on the planet intends to spend this year, but Secretary of Defense Robert Gates today chastised Congress for failing to approve a new increased 2011 budget and leaving the military operating at 2010 levels.
According to Gates, keeping spending at 2010 levels, which would mean spending $526 billion again, would be so devastating as to “hollow out” the US military. He also added that those opposed to the new budget, which will be beyond $700 billion by most indications, are not living in the real world.
Gates made the comments while flying in an enormously expensive plane en route to Ottawa, Canada, and insisted that while it might be appropriate to talk about cuts “that may or may not happen in four or five years” it was wholly inappropriate to expect the Pentagon to survive on the paltry half a trillion dollars they were given last year.
The Obama Administration has offered “cuts” of $7 to $8 billion in the 2011 military budget, but this is off of the initial estimates for their massive increases, which had the budget approaching three quarters of a trillion dollars this year and moving up more in 2012 and beyond.
Questions about the wisdom of continuing to dramatically increase the military budget every year even as the overall deficit spirals out of control are rising, though so far it remains to be seen if the new, fiscally conservative Congressmen will win out over the traditional hawks.