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Archive for June 22nd, 2013

Defense Budget Tutorial #2 Smoke and mirrors in Congress’ Defense Appropriations bills

Posted by picard578 on June 22, 2013

January 23, 2006

Defense Budget Tutorial #2: Smoke and mirrors in Congress’ Defense Appropriations bills

http://www.cdi.org/program/document.cfm?DocumentID=3270&from_page=../index.cfm

The Smoke and Mirrors in Congress’ Defense Appropriations Bills: You’ll need a Rosetta Stone

Introduction

Understanding how Congress allocates spending in the defense budget requires a comprehension of obscure terms, opaque practices, and sometimes complex ruses. The explanation below of the gimmicks in Congress’ 2006 Department of Defense Appropriations Act is based on over 30 years of experience in congressional appropriations. Some of that experience was in crafting the very same dodges explained below; there did, however, come a point during the author’s Hill career when the focus shifted to opposing the same.

“Defense Budget Tutorial #1” established that Congress appropriated $454.5 billion for the Department of Defense in H.R. 2863, the DOD Appropriations Act, which is now Public Law 109-148. The amount constitutes most, but not all, of what the Defense Department will get in fiscal year 2006. The question here is, how did Congress distribute that money, and what does that say about the nature of Congress’ exercise of its “power of the purse?”

Appropriations Bill Basics

To understand the defense appropriations bill, it is necessary to briefly review its basic contents. These bills are typically divided into eight categories, or “Titles,” as follows: Read the rest of this entry »

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Briefing on DODs QDR and 2007 Budget

Posted by picard578 on June 22, 2013

By Winslow Wheeler,
Straus Military Reform Project

February 14, 2006

My recent briefing to the press on DOD’s new Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR) and the new 2007 defense budget made the following points:

  • The new 2007 defense budget achieves a post-World War II high for defense spending, and yet it supports new lows in the quantity of Army divisions, Navy combat ships, and Air Force wings.
  • In their depictions of the defense budget, both liberals and conservatives bias their typical presentations to conform to their preconceptions. These days, few consider a depiction of the threat.
  • Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld’s new QDR fails to address the key rationale established by Congress in the statute calling for QDRs: that the defense budget be sized to execute the new defense plan and that the new defense plan be devised to implement the national defense strategy. The 2005 QDR does not address budget requirements even superficially, and while the strategy focuses on unconventional 4th generation war (“the Long War”), the defense plan remains focused on conventional war.
  • Many of the new budget’s ideas for strengthening our forces for 4th generation war are too little, too late, and other ideas start to fall apart on close inspection.
  • Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld has requested a budget he knows Congress will augment and expand. Proposals to reduce the Army Reserve and National Guard, to truncate C-17 production, and to retire prematurely the F-117 “stealth” bomber (and other proposals), are what some call “Washington Monument Drills” (“WMDs,” they are proposed budget reductions the Pentagon knows Congress will immediately add back into the budget). The thought that any such money will be saved is surely illusory.

In sum, in a time of war and when certain critical elements of the defense budget require steadfast support and straightforward justification, today’s Pentagon leadership gives the nation mismatches between rhetoric and realities and a focus on budget gimmicks. A copy of the briefing slides is attached (1 MB PPT).

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