This week, likely on Wednesday, the full House of Representatives will take up the defense appropriations bill passed out of the Armed Services Committee in May.
The government can’t seem to do anything right! It can’t even streamline activities to cut costs without creating egregious cost overruns.
On Sunday, Defense News published a good article by Kate Brannen that looks into Mitt Romney’s plans for military spending. This is not the first examination of Romney’s lofty campaign promise to spend at least four percent of GDP on the Pentagon’s base budget. Since October 2011, when I first crunched the numbers on his plan, others have followed with their own estimates.
After the Republicans took back control of the House following the November 2010 elections, the GOP leadership went with Kentucky Rep. Hal Rogers—a.k.a. “The Prince of Pork”—to chair the powerful House Appropriations Committee. I wrote at the time that “The support for Rogers from House Republican leaders is a slap in the face of voters who demanded change in Washington.”
According to Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK): President Obama’s “trip to Afghanistan is an attempt to shore up his national security credentials, because he has spent the past three years gutting our military.”
As has become an annual tradition, my colleague Charles Zakaib has sifted through the data from the latest edition of the International Institute for Strategic Studies’ The Military Balance, and created several illuminating charts. They are enclosed below and show U.S. security spending as a share of the global total, U.S. per capita spending as compared with some of our leading allies, and U.S. spending vs. the rest of NATO as a share of GDP.
My new piece at ForeignPolicy.com on Ron Paul and the Republican Party focuses on the strong support that Paul draws from young people, with some additional speculation about where those young people will end up, if and when Paul steps back from his very public role.
Over the past few weeks, a number of pernicious myths have popped up regarding the Pentagon’s budget. Here I want to dispel these myths with an exhaustive, and exhausting, look at the details. The charts below, compiled with my colleague Charles Zakaib, should help.
The changes announced in the Pentagon’s new budget guidance are, from my perspective, mostly good news, but woefully insufficient. They show how even limited austerity encourages prioritization among weapons systems that suddenly have to compete. A few more budgets like this and we’ll be getting somewhere.