Obama’s Budget Boosts Pentagon Spending 4% Higher than Congress Proposed

February 19th, 2011 - by admin

Rob Reynolds / Al Jazeera & Vago Muradian / The Army Times & Eric Gershon / The Hartford Courant – 2011-02-19 17:00:31


Obama’s Defence Conundrum
Rob Reynolds / Al Jazeera

WASHINGTON (February 26, 2009) — As Barack Obama, the US president, sends his budget outline to congress, US defence spending is coming under new scrutiny. Fighting two wars and supporting an enormous global military machine, the US spent almost $700 billion on defence in 2008.

The Bush administration concealed the true size of its military outlays with budget gimmicks, but Obama says from now on there will be no more tricks.

“For too long our budget has not held true about how our tax dollars are spent,” Obama said on Thursday. “Large sums held off the budget, including the true cost of Iraq and Afghanistan.”

But John Pike, a US defence expert, says military spending is notoriously resistant to the budget knife. “The military industrial complex has become embedded in American life,” he told Al Jazeera. “It seems normal and there aren’t strong voices, countervailing constituencies arguing against it.”

Big defence contractors such as Lockheed, Boeing, and Raytheon have shrewdly spread their activities all over the country, providing jobs to voters and financial support for US politicians’ election campaigns.

“They look for key congressional districts and make sure their programme has some facility in the district and as many others as possible,” Pike says. “So by the time congress votes on a system, out of 435 members of the house, you’re guaranteed to have 200 to 250 who are going to make money on that programme.”

‘Misplaced Power’?
Present-day defence spending evokes a warning given nearly half a century ago by the US’s last president who was a career military officer.

In his January 17, 1961 farewell message to the nation, Dwight Eisenhower said: “In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.”

Military spending is one part of what is swelling the overall US deficit to a projected $1.75trn. Obama has pledged to cut the deficit in half by 2013 by ending the war in Iraq and raising taxes on the wealthiest two per cent of Americans.

Republican Concerns
But Republicans are highly sceptical that Obama can bring runaway deficits under control.
“I say that’s impossible,” says Brad Blakeman, a Republican strategist. “Many presidents have had same goal … I dare anyone to say any president has ever attained it, especially with the spending we’ve seen.”

Obama’s budget proposal released on Thursday only sketches out the broad strokes of his spending plans — he will send congress a more detailed plan in a couple of months. But the political wrangling among Democrats and Republicans has already begun.

Posted in accordance with Title 17, Section 107, US Code, for noncommercial, educational purposes.

DoD To Get $537 Billion Annually For 10 Years
Vago Muradian / The Army Times

(February 25, 2009) — President Barack Obama’s administration is expected to announce tomorrow the Pentagon’s 10-year topline spending plan will start with a request for a $537 billion base budget in 2010 and assume flat budgets adjusted only for inflation over the subsequent nine years, a source said. The administration also is expected to seek $75.5 billion in supplemental funding to cover war operations for the rest of 2009, the source said.

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Obama’s 2010 Budget Increases
Defense Spending 4%

Eric Gershon / The Hartford Courant

(February 27, 2009) — President Barack Obama’s budget proposal for the 2010 fiscal year would provide $533.7 billion for basic defense spending, 4 percent more than what Congress approved for 2009.

The initial proposal, submitted to Congress on Thursday, contains no details about how money would be allocated among the military programs Connecticut defense contractors rely on for profits. A detailed proposal will follow in the spring.

Major military projects in which state companies have large stakes include the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, the F-22 Raptor fighter, Virginia-class nuclear submarines and Black Hawk helicopters.

In remarks to Congress on Tuesday, the president said he plans to cut spending on some military equipment, which could help certain Connecticut contractors by eliminating competitors but hurt them if programs are shut down.

Obama’s proposal emphasizes spending that benefits military personnel. The administration proposed a $3.5 trillion federal budget with a built-in deficit of $1.17 trillion, less than the current deficit of $1.75 trillion.

The defense budget would increase the number of standing Army and Marine troops by the end of this year, increase military pay 2.9 percent and provide more money for barracks and dormitory improvements and medical care for wounded soldiers.

Of particular interest to defense contractors, the plan emphasizes the administration’s intention to reform the acquisition process to better control cost increases and delivery delays.

“The administration will set realistic requirements and stick to them and incorporate ‘best practices’ by not allowing programs to proceed from one state of the acquisition cycle to the next until they have achieved the maturity to clearly lower the risk of cost growth and schedule slippage,” according to the White House’s official summary of its defense budget proposal.

Thursday’s proposal envisions $130 billion in supplemental spending for military operations in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere overseas. This money would be in addition to the base defense budget of $533.7 billion, bringing the total for defense to $663.7 billion.

Posted in accordance with Title 17, Section 107, US Code, for noncommercial, educational purposes.