How High is Up? The Defense Budget gets even crazier
Posted by Lorelei Kelly
For those of you concerned about the state of US security--levees that don't collapse, for example, or bridges that don't fall into the Mississippi river, sit down before you see these numbers.
Last week, both houses of Congress approved the conference report on the Fiscal Year 2008 Defense Authorization bill, H.R. 1585. The bill includes $506.9 billion for the Department of Defense and the nuclear weapons activities of the Department of Energy. The bill also authorizes $189.4 billion for military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. This funding is NOT counted as part of the $506.9 billion.
Center for Arms Control and Non Proliferation has an itemized description of what's in the budget.
The amount of Cold War lard is truly astonishing, especially given the fact that the military itself is hollering from the hilltops that it can't be responsible for all of our national security needs and that today's problems just don't have military (read "Cold War weapons systems") answers.
Keep in mind, today's defense spending is 14% above the height of the Korean War, 33% above the height of the Vietnam War, 25% above the height of the "Reagan Era" buildup and is 76% above the Cold War average
In fact, since the September 11, 2001 attacks, the annual defense budget - not including the costs of military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan - has gone up 34%. Including war costs, defense spending has gone up 86% since 2001.
Even the venerable Council on Foreign Relations has thrown down the glove on defense spending. Check out this very nice piece by Richard Betts in this month's Foreign Affairs. Oh, and even the director of the Congressional Budget Office is commenting on defense spending. (so much for stodgy bureaucracy, this guy has his own blog!!!) He has a good comment up, but I've had enough business school classes to know that all of this means that we are in deep financial trouble when it comes to security finances-- and just digging ourselves deeper.