Defense Spending: The Shrinkage Begins

Posted: January 6, 2011 in Uncategorized
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From the Washington Post:

The Pentagon will have to cut spending by $78 billion over the next five years, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said Thursday, forcing the Army and Marine Corps to shrink the number of troops on active duty and eventually imposing the first freeze on military spending since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

Somehow the authors didn’t see what just about everyone in the defense community did, saying

The surprise announcement from Gates was a reminder for the military establishment – which has benefited from a gusher of new money over the past decade – that it will not remain exempt from painful austerity measures that federal lawmakers say will be necessary to control the soaring national debt.

Gusher.  Painful.  Austerity…except this isn’t “cuts” cuts.  Instead, it’s shrinkage in the rate of growth.

…the $78 billion reduction over the next five years actually represents a "decline in the rate of growth," since the Pentagon budget will grow "in absolute dollars" every year.

Chances are the ‘savings’ are built in for the out-years.

There are difficult choices to be made and $78 billion over five years–counting wartime funding, about one percent of the DoD total obligation authority–will satisfy few:

Gates predicted that the decisions would come under fire from critics who charge that "we either are gutting defense or we are not cutting nearly enough."

Truer words have not been spoken.


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