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It's Still Easy: Obama's $400 billion in defense is not a cut

15 Apr 2011
Posted by Gordon Adams

The $400 billion in security budget reductions between FY 2012 and FY 2023 announced by President Obama on Wednesday turn out to be even easier than one thinks.  As the New York Times reports this morning, these aren't really cuts. Using research we did at the Stimson Center, the Times notes that simply holding DOD's budget growth to inflation over those years yields $401.7 billion in savings from the current OMB budget projections. The President's goal is reached and the defense budget is actually not cut; the Pentagon keeps all its purchasing power by rising with inflation.

We won't need a major strategy review to get to this target, even though the President promised one. 

And the reductions from the current DOD budget projections may be even less than that; DOD funding could actually continue to grow.  After all, the President did use the code words: "security spending" to describe his target.  In White House parlance this phrase includes spending for intelligence, diplomacy, foreign assistance, veterans affairs, and homeland security, as well as defense. 

So that $400 billion could get spread across several other agencies, lowering even less of a boom on defense.  For the data, stay tuned today to The Will and the Wallet, the Stimson website, where we will post the calculations today.

Discussions over what is or

Discussions over what is or isn't a cut are silly, as no one can agree on the appropriate baseline.

The real question is whether we are spending the right amount and spending it on the right things. Given that we are spending about as much on defense as the rest of the world combined, the odds are that we are spending too much.

Focusing on how much we are cutting is just a political game.

GLAD you're back on CG&G

.... and I'll add the other website to my favorites. It's a wonderful thing to have excellent commentary that can be trusted.

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