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  • Fiscal Cliff Danger: More Defense Budget Cuts to Come

    Rumors are swirling that included in their negotiations to avert the “fiscal cliff,” President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner (R–OH) may add an additional $100 billion in cuts as an alternative to the roughly $500 billion in defense budget cuts over nine years required by sequestration under the Budget Control Act of 2011. If this occurs, it will be a bad deal for the security of the American people and America’s allies around the world.

    Understanding why this is the case starts with a review of what has happened with the defense budget in recent years. The focus should be on the budget level for defense in fiscal year (FY) 2014. The Obama Administration will release its FY 2014 budget proposal early next year, and if there is an agreement to avert the fiscal cliff, it is all but certain to incorporate the agreement’s provisions related to the defense budget.

    In FY 2010, the overall defense budget was $721 billion. Under President Obama’s FY 2013 budget proposal, which incorporates the initial spending caps on national security programs under the Budget Control Act of 2011, the defense budget will fall to $566 billion in FY 2014. This is a 21 percent drop in spending from the FY 2010 level and does not account for the negative effects of inflation on the defense program.

    While it is not certain, sequestration could reduce the FY 2014 defense budget to $512 billion. This would be a 29 percent reduction from the FY 2010 level.

    Defense budget reductions of this scope will lead to a military force that is too small, insufficiently ready, and lacking the kinds of modern weapons and equipment needed to meet the national security commitments of the United States. It will certainly require replacement of the national security guidance released by President Obama at the outset of this year.

    Ultimately, this is a budget that will result in the decline of the U.S. as a world leader. As a result, the President and the Speaker will be choosing to lose something that is extremely valuable. The U.S. has the ability to control its own destiny in a dangerous world.

    Posted in Featured [slideshow_deploy]

    6 Responses to Fiscal Cliff Danger: More Defense Budget Cuts to Come

    1. JimE says:

      First, I'm a conservative, but I think Heritage is misleading in this graphic. The sequester cuts are, even according to this chart, essentially equally distributed between defense and non-defense. That was the design of the sequester all along.

    2. pete says:

      Maybe if we did not have the resources that we do in the military the politicians and diplomates would be more hesitant on jumping into the conflicts like Libya, Mali, Somalia, and Syria. I do not support the interventions in the arab countries that have been at war amongst themselves for thousands of years and we are not going to fix it. I understand the first Iraqi war when they invaded Kuwait. However, after we did not find WMD in Iraq it was time to move out. When OBL was terminated, we need to move out of Afganistan. Leave those countries to manage themselves the best that they see fit. That is freedom.

    3. Bobbie says:

      Why consider EVER, cuts to America's defense that benefits America as a whole but continue funding special interests that are unconstitutional and only benefits bias? WHY? Especially when the world is so unstable and American leadership is aiding and abetting terrorists?

      We're responsible in paying our bills. Its insulting for the President to use the word "we" when he's not paying America's bills he's accrued in his control. He's a hypocrite. He blames bush for spending then spends recklessly without discipline or respect. Unpatriotic!

    4. MichMike says:

      While domestic programs can be analyzed relatively easily, no taxpayers can understand what is enough military. It creates a blind faith strategy that the politicians and an enormous bureaucracy are performing anywhere close to optimum in their mission of defense of the country. Significant waste is reported regularly from an organization that has at its core a very defined chain of command. More than 95% of today's first year officers will be gone in 20 years. Their commanding officers have varying years of service, but will also not be around after 20 years of service. The can be court martialed if the bus to pick up the guys from the artillery range fails to be there. They will follow rules. Maybe Heritage could provide some information about the following:

    5. MichMike says:

      Dollar amounts that could be saved if directed from the top just for the day to day waste
      Dollar amounts that could be saved by a 5% improvement in costly mistakes in acquisition
      Dollar amounts that could be saved by a 5% reduction in supplier margins
      Dollar amounts that could be saved by a 5% reduction in the more than 700 permanent bases
      Cost of fully implementing critical weapons systems vs. the weapons and equipment purchased that clearly is not required (a much more subjective subject)
      Identifying how much of the budget, if any, reflects our current combat operations in Afghanistan
      Providing information about troop levels that are forward deployed
      The problem with our spending is not the military, it is all the other spending.
      The problem can still be pretty painlessly resolved, more difficult each passing month.
      Could our military LEAD on this subject and save the money that is not contributing to our defense (or even our allies) and still get the job done? They truly are the best and brightest, I know several of them.

    6. scottjduffy says:

      FY10 defense budget was $721 BILLION (more than every other country in the world combined). That works out to over $2,000 per man, woman and child in the US. So defense costs the average 2-child family $8,000 per year. How much does the average 2-child family pay in taxes total every year? On a $40K annual income, a taxpayer pays $4,100 in taxes. Assume a 2-income family, for $8,200 in taxes.

      So $8,000 a year is going to defense, out of $8,200 total taxes. I don't see how fiscal conservatives can justify that level of spending. Why can't the same level of defense be delivered for $6000 per family per year? Where is $721 Billion being spent? On what?

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