A Smaller, Older, Less Prepared Military: Where Is the Payoff for Huge U.S. Budget Hikes

Wednesday October 13th, 2010   •   Posted by Joshua Kaplan at 8:40pm PDT   •  

In a new article in Defense News, Winslow Wheeler reports on the trillions of dollars of wasteful spending by the Pentagon, and the poor state of the armed forces that result:

“You�d think all that added money would give us larger forces, a newer hardware inventory and better trained people. Instead, the windfall made our forces smaller, older and less ready to fight.

“At $707 billion, the defense budget is today higher than it has ever been since the end of World War II. That statement has been true since 2007; under the Gates plan, it will remain so out to the year 2020 if war spending stays constant.

“This spending level is unrelated to the military threat. During the Cold War, from 1948 to 1990, when we faced the sizable forces of the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact, annual Pentagon spending averaged $440 billion in inflation-adjusted dollars. Today, big spending advocates point to China as the future threat we must prepare for, but if we add the defense budgets of China, Russia, Iran, North Korea and Cuba together, and then double that sum, the Pentagon still spends substantially more.

“As to the current threat (terrorism), we almost certainly spend more in one day than the terrorists spend in an entire year.

“The size of our defense budget today is not the product of the external threat. It is the result of internal Pentagon dynamics, none of them healthy.”

For the full article, please click here.

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October 2010