The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Travis Sharp
202.546.0795 ext. 2105

Pentagon Budget Faces Uncertain Future During Economic Crisis

Momentum Accelerates for Reform; Budget Cuts Possible


In a new report released
today, the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation analyzed the
uncertain future facing the Pentagon budget now that the country is
embroiled in an economic crisis and a new administration is in power.

The report documents the skyrocketing recent growth in defense
spending, catalogs calls for budget cuts by key policymakers, looks at
the complicated procedure the fiscal year 2010 budget is set to follow,
and provides background information on four weapons systems to watch in
2009: the F-22 Raptor, DDG-1000 destroyer, Future Combat Systems, and
missile defense.

The report is available online here

With defense industry jobs at stake in a sagging economy, conversations
about cutting weapons systems are no longer the purely academic
exercise they were during the Bush years, when military budget
reductions were unfathomable. While some have sounded alarm bells about
potential job losses that could accompany defense budget cuts, others
have highlighted underfunded domestic programs and argued that
alternative types of spending stimulate the economy more than spending
on defense.

"In a time of increasingly scarce defense dollars, it is critical to
optimize each and every penny invested in national security,"
Travis Sharp, the report's author who serves as military policy analyst
at the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation. "The
Holy Grail now is to reform the acquisitions process so that smart
decisions are made early on about which weapons systems to buy. In this
way we could at least get some positive reform out of the current
budget crisis."

Over the last decade, U.S. defense spending has risen dramatically.
According to the report, national defense budgets including war funding
have grown in inflation-adjusted dollars from $403 billion in fiscal
year 1999 to $708 billion in fiscal year 2008, a 75% increase.

"The Obama administration's procurement motto appears to be 'relevance to the current missions,'"
added Sharp. "While
the new administration recognizes the importance of preparing for
future threats, they regard operations in Iraq and Afghanistan as the
top priority."

Concluded Sharp: "Going forward, this approach may mean an
even more people-focused defense budget that invests in affordable
weapons systems that help our troops today, not 25 years down the

Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation is a Washington, D.C.-based 501(c)3 non-profit, non-partisan research organization dedicated to enhancing international peace and security in the 21st century. The Center is funded by grants from private foundations and the generosity of thousands of individual donors.