Pentagon Accused of Planning Most Damaging Budget Cuts as Means of Getting More Funding

03/03/2013 08:09

U.S. military leaders really don’t want the defense budget cut, and they’re willing to do some serious damage to vital programs to prove their point to Congress.

With automatic reductions set to kick in soon, the Department of Defense stands to lose about $48 billion, or 7.4% of the $645 billion it is set to receive this year.

But both civilian and military leaders at the Pentagon are adamant about not losing this money, and have resorted to what some have called “hysterics” to convince lawmakers to do something.

During testimony before the House and Senate armed services committees, the deputy secretary of defense and the entire Joint Chiefs of Staff reportedly depicted the coming cuts (referred to as sequestration) as unleashing “doomsday” on the nation’s military.

The Army claims it won’t have enough money to adequately train units to go to Afghanistan. Similarly, the Air Force says it will lack sufficient funding to properly train pilots, while the Navy says it may have to dock ships due to a lack of money for maintenance.

Observers insist that Pentagon leaders are exaggerating the effects of budget reductions, if they happen.

Citing data from a current Congressional Research Service report (pdf), Winslow Wheeler wrote in Foreign Policy magazine that even if sequestration takes place, the Defense Department will have more funding under President Barack Obama “than most other postwar presidents (and without the sequester he will outspend all of them, including Reagan). Moreover, it's all in dollars adjusted for inflation.”

-Noel Brinkerhoff


To Learn More:

A Stampede of Hysterics: America's Generals Are Just as Morally Bankrupt as Congress (by Winslow Wheeler, Foreign Policy)

Panetta’s Phony Doomsday Scenario (by Franklin C. Spinney, Counterpunch)

Potential Effects on Defense Spending of a Year-long Continuing Resolution and the March 2013 Sequesters (Congressional Research Service) (pdf)

Chairman Outlines Sequestration’s Dangers (by Claudette Roulo, American Forces Press Service)

Pentagon Budget Stuck in Last Century as Warfare Changes (by Gopal Ratnam, Bloomberg)

Supposedly “Drastic” Defense Cuts would Merely Return Spending to 2006 Level (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)

Pentagon Actually Gained $50 Billion from Spending Cuts Deal (by Noel Brinkerhoff and David Wallechinsky, AllGov)


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