• The Heritage Network
    • Resize:
    • A
    • A
    • A
  • Donate
  • Let's Unfreeze Our Military Spending

    According to multiple reports, President Barack Obama will announce a “spending freeze” in his State of the Union tomorrow night. While we definitely have our doubts about the efficacy and reality of these proposed cuts, what there is no doubt about is that President Obama’s past Defense budget was entirely inadequate to protect our nation.

    The Congressional Budget Office correctly notes that total inflation adjusted Defense spending “exceeds the peak of about $500 billion (in 2010 dollars) during the height of the Reagan Administration’s military buildup in the mid-1980s.” However, our economy is a lot larger today than it was then. In GDP terms we are actually spending a lot less on defense than we were in the 80s.

    In a Stimson Center guest blog last week, Heritage fellow Mackenzie Eaglen explained why Obama’s nominal defense increases actually fall far short of what is needed to protect our nation:

    While many expect a minimal topline increase for defense spending again in FY 2011 (one to two percent real growth), this modest bump is still insufficient to pay all the Pentagon bills. … The critical takeaway is that a flat defense budget topline is really a declining defense budget. That is because the cost of doing everything in the military–from paying people to buying new equipment–greatly outpaces inflation every year.

    Eaglen later quotes Brookings Institution scholar Michael O’Hanlon

    For the Defense Department to merely tread water, a good rule of thumb is that its inflation-adjusted budget must grow about 2 percent a year (roughly $10 billion annually, each and every year). Simply put, the costs of holding on to good people, providing them with health care and other benefits, keeping equipment functional, maintaining training regimes, and buying increasingly complex equipment tend to grow faster than inflation.

    Posted in Security [slideshow_deploy]

    2 Responses to Let's Unfreeze Our Military Spending

    1. Deborah/Arlington, Va. says:

      The Defense Budget should not be decided as a simple percentage of GDP. This is what has allowed the Defense Industry to own and operate the members of US Congress. I feel there are many creative ways we can strengthen defense by not placing so much emphasis on increasing pay to officers while enlisted personnel are not treated fairly. How about remodeling our VA system instead of building more advanced bombs. Conventional warfare is history and we need to do more work combining the efforts of the State Department with the Defense Department. The US Army is about to introduce K-12 online education which will allow dependents of the army to have a better education because it will travel with them no matter where their parent is transferred. We need to be smart for the future not arrogant.

    2. Ron Derry NH says:

      There seems to be a priority issue going on in congress that I hope our elections can correct

      It takes a soldier to defend principles, it takes funding to defend that soldier and it takes the will of leadership to understand that hope and change are empty promises if the country that wants them fails to defend itself against its foes.

      Apparently Obama sees the world from a very naive perspective and is spending too much time admiring his immenseness of ideology rather than the pragmatic application of securing the foundations of that survival.

      We can only hope that his inability to recognize the need for defense will equate to that lack of character in himself and that his political power will fade before the countries national defense does. So far he as only shown to be arrogant, self absorbed and offensive to the point of self destruction. Let us hope we don't mimic our president and become like him, a shadow of idealism backed with nothing but scholarly words based upon phony idealism..

    Comments are subject to approval and moderation. We remind everyone that The Heritage Foundation promotes a civil society where ideas and debate flourish. Please be respectful of each other and the subjects of any criticism. While we may not always agree on policy, we should all agree that being appropriately informed is everyone's intention visiting this site. Profanity, lewdness, personal attacks, and other forms of incivility will not be tolerated. Please keep your thoughts brief and avoid ALL CAPS. While we respect your first amendment rights, we are obligated to our readers to maintain these standards. Thanks for joining the conversation.

    Big Government Is NOT the Answer

    Your tax dollars are being spent on programs that we really don't need.

    I Agree I Disagree ×

    Get Heritage In Your Inbox — FREE!

    Heritage Foundation e-mails keep you updated on the ongoing policy battles in Washington and around the country.

    ×