Defense Issues

Military and general security

Posts Tagged ‘defense budget’

Croatia has to increase defense budget by 2,8 billion HRK

Posted by picard578 on February 17, 2017

Source: Večernji list

A day after new US defense minister James Mattis requested allied countries to increase defense spending to 2% of GDP, Croatian Minister of Defense Damir Krstičević stated that a decision on Croatian Air Force can help Croatia meet the target, increasing defense expenditure from current 1,23% of GDP. At this moment, only seven NATO members has no air force. Reaching the 2% target would mean increasing the defense budget by 400 million USD (2,8 billion HRK). Currently, United States are responsible for 70% of NATOs military capabilities. Mattis has also stated that “Americans cannot care more for the future of your children than you can”.

—–

Freedom is not free but unfortunately Croatian politicians do not want free Croatia. For this reason, the Communist Party of Croatia (divided into so-called HDZ and SDP) has systematically gutted Croatian military.

Advertisements

Posted in news, spending | Tagged: , , | 1 Comment »

CDI: Where is the Payoff for Huge US Budget Hikes

Posted by picard578 on January 1, 2015

Smaller, Older, Less Prepared
Where Is the Payoff for Huge U.S. Budget Hikes?
by Winslow T. Wheeler

http://www.cdi.org/program/document.cfm?DocumentID=4626&from_page=../index.cfm

Since 2001, Congress has given the Pentagon more than $1 trillion to fight the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Over the same period, Congress and the Pentagon have added a second trillion dollars to the nonwar (base) part of the Pentagon budget.

You’d think all that added money would give us larger forces, a newer hardware inventory and better trained people. Instead, the windfall made our forces smaller, older and less ready to fight.

A rare few in Congress have begun to notice that more money has bought less defense.

They portend a major shift in the consensus on defense spending. The coming change is a byproduct of the realization that the Pentagon is an integral part of a federal government with spending that is out of control. The Pentagon and the majority of champions of higher defense budgets in conservative think tanks and Congress are trying to head off the coming cuts with seemingly dramatic, but substantively feeble, initiatives.

Here are the facts underlying the need for real reforms. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in spending, weapons | Tagged: , , , | 10 Comments »

CDI: The Stench of Elitism in the Defense Budget

Posted by picard578 on December 1, 2014

The stench of elitism is permeating Washington, just as it did a decade ago when everyone of consequence bought the proposition that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction — and even if there was room for doubt, he was a threat and “had to go.” Today, the subject matter is different, but the methods are the same: say things that are demonstrably false but use enough extreme rhetoric from four star admirals, cabinet secretaries and congressional chairmen to establish a middle ground that eliminates opposition. Those who fear being labeled out of the mainstream, especially the major media, are buying it just as mindlessly as they did before the March 2003 invasion of Iraq.

This time the subject matter is the defense budget. Cutting it is the target of rhetorical gibberish, just as President George Bush warned of a “mushroom cloud” over America if we didn’t invade Iraq. Nonetheless, it is politically potent and intimidating to opponents who might otherwise speak up.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in spending | Tagged: , , | 7 Comments »

Defense Budget Tutorial #3C Pork How to Get Rid of It

Posted by picard578 on September 14, 2013

Defense Budget Tutorial #3C: Pork: How to Get Rid of It

February 6, 2006
Winslow Wheeler / Straus Military Reform Project / Center for Defense Information

Pork’s most prominent characteristics are its unknown cost and value to US national defense, and the fact that there is no effort in Congress to ensure due diligence in providing the goods or services in question. This essay spells out a “simple but difficult” five-point plan to rein in military pork.

http://www.cdi.org/friendlyversion/printversion.cfm?documentID=3289&from_page=../program/document.cfm

(February 1, 2006) — To eliminate pork, one must first understand what it is. As discussed in “Defense Budget Tutorial #3B: Pork: What is it?,” pork’s most prominent characteristics are its unknown cost and value to US national defense, and the fact that there is no effort in Congress to ensure due diligence in providing the goods or services in question. [1] Pork is acquired through an opaque process that seeks to operate in the shadows of government with as little explanation and evaluation as possible to ensure that the intended recipient gets the goodies. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

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 »

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

CDI: Chitchat with Leon and Hillary on the Defense Budget

Posted by picard578 on April 6, 2013

Winslow T Wheeler

The invitation came to me from Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta’s Public Affairs Office to attend a “conversation” with Panetta and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at the prestigious National War College in Washington. Although I knew it wasn’t me they wanted to talk to, I sat in the audience to hear Panetta and Clinton in action, especially on the subject of my prime interest: the defense budget.

The “conversation,” it turns out, was with Frank Sesno, the former CNN personality and currently the Director of the School of Media and Public Affairs at George Washington University. Sesno took the “conversation” assignment seriously; although he boldly said that it was important to “ask the tough questions” — just like a journalist — he did no such thing. Lofting over shallow dinner-talk queries, Sesno chummed it up with Panetta and Clinton and permitted them to say anything they wanted without fear of challenge.

Clinton tended toward impromptu speeches on whatever she was asked about — well articulated and forceful, much like she did as a senator at hearings where, rather than conduct oversight asking informed questions and following up, she would express her political points and neither seek nor reveal any new or deeper information.

Panetta was more subtle and single-minded. Although he comes from the same political background — White House insider and Congress — his answers were shorter and more softly stated, but they were directed at one and only one objective: defending the Pentagon’s budget.

Sesno started the “discussion” asking about budget cuts beyond the $350 billion the Pentagon has already committed to over the next ten years — saying “What’s really at stake?” Panetta whacked the softball question hard: “Very simply, it would result in hollowing out the force,” and “it would break faith with the troops and with their families,” and finally “it would literally undercut our ability to provide for the national defense.”

The bureaucrat moguls at the Pentagon, who currently preside over the largest defense or non-defense agency budget since the end of World War II, must have been delighted. After four years of sometimes tough guy Robert Gates, who fired senior officials for not toeing his line, DOD’s high spenders must be elated to have at the top someone who has leaped so quickly and with such eagerness to defending their agenda.

The $850 billion cut that Sesno was referring to does sound like a lot — if you are ignorant about the background and budget history. He offered no pushback and did nothing to probe Panetta’s budget preserving agenda, to question Panetta’s assumptions, and or even seek the data behind them.

Things didn’t get any better when Sesno allowed the audience a grand total of one question on DOD budget issues. The individual Sesno selected asked about funding for foreign language training. Panetta dutifully said it was important and that he wanted to look for “creative ways” to protect it. Clinton gave a speech about it, and the remaining 99.9 percent of the national security budget went unaddressed.

Instead of this feather-stroking chitchat, consider the following:

If the Pentagon’s “base” (non-war) budget were to be cut $850 billion, or so, over ten years, it would go down to about $472 billion annually, the approximate level of the base DOD budget in 2007. (This, not coincidently, is about the same level of a new round of defense budget cutting hysteria circulating in Washington in response to a just released memo from OMB Director Jack Lew.)

Using the Pentagon’s “constant” dollars that adjust for the effects of inflation, that $472 billion level would be more than $70 billion higher than DOD spending was in 2000, just before the wars. Over ten years, base Defense Department spending would be almost three quarters of a trillion dollars above the levels extant in 2000. And, none of the additional monies to be spent on the wars would be eliminated.

At $472 billion per year, the Pentagon budget would be almost $40 billion more than we averaged, in inflation adjusted “constant” dollars, during the Cold War when we faced an intimidating super-power, the Soviet Union, its Warsaw Pact allies and a hostile, dogmatically communist China.

At the 2007 $472 billion level our defense budget would remain more than twice the defense spending of China, Russia, Iran, Syria, Somalia, Cuba and any other potential adversary — combined.

The problem is not money. Under this so-called worse case scenario, the Pentagon would be left quite flush with money, plenty of it in historical terms.

The problem is that the Pentagon, as it exists under its current leadership, is incapable of surviving with less money. They quite literally do not understand how to face a future where the DOD budget exceeds any and all potential enemies by a multiple of only two.

Many — including Obama’s bipartisan 2010 National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, a separate task force put together by congressmen Barney Frank (D-MA) and Ron Paul (R-TX), yet another commission headed by former budget leaders Senator Pete Domenici (R-NM) and OMB Director Alice Rivlin, and two alternative budget proposals from Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) — have itemized how to save about $900 billion from the National Defense budget. The political landscape is littered with competent recommendations to remove many of the thick layers of hydrogenated fat from the Pentagon.

These proposals hit on many of the same soft spots in the DOD budget, such as the unaffordable, underperforming, years behind schedule F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. The implied consensus on such ideas and on the approximate amount (roughly $900 billion) suggest that the slightly lesser $850 billion in Pentagon savings is not “doomsday” (Panetta’s word) but quite endurable — and would actually leave DOD quite flush with money.

But, it is unthinkable to Secretary Panetta, as it is to those who perform the enabling chitchat.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »

On US defense budget

Posted by picard578 on December 1, 2012

While Chinese and Russian defense budgets are incomplete, so is the US defense budget. In reality, US defense sprending is between 1 and 1,4 trillion USD a year, that is 6,3 to 8,8 % of US GDP of 15,974 trillion USD as opposed to the base budget of 711 billion USD in 2012 (or 4,5 % of GDP; to compare, Croatian defense budget accounts for 1,7% of GDP). 2012 defense-related budget request was between 1,09 and 1,42 trillion USD, depending on variables.

For another comparision, base UK defense budget was 62,7 billion USD, around 2,6% of GDP, and that of China was 143 billion USD, or 2% of GDP. When adjusted for Purchasing Power Parity, base defense budget of China was 228 billion USD, or 32% of US one, while China’s GDP is 48,4% of US one. While it is indeed correct that China’s total defense spending is higher than these figures – up to 250 billion USD, not accounting for PPP – that is, as I have shown above, also true of the US defensu spending, so the ratio remains similar.

In fact, using PPP values, total defense budgets of largest NATO spenders (US, UK, France, Germany, Italy, Canada, Turkey) combined add up to 932,6 billion USD. When major non-NATO allies (Japan, Australia) are thrown in, value goes up to 993,9 billion USD in PPP, with United States accounting for 71,5 % of total value. Thus, United States outspend China 5:1, or 3:1 when PPP is taken into account. However, unless United States are going to attack China first, they will have support of NATO, as well as Japan and Australia. Thus, spending ratio will be – even with PPP – in 4,4:1 neighbourhood. For comparision, take a look at the graph below.

defense spending comparision

defense spending comparision

US major allies alone spend more than China on defense, while United States alone spend more than four times as much as China does. Yet, China has populace of 1,347 billion people, compared to the US 314 million.

In 2011, there have been many developmental programmes. Low-performance bomber F-35 was the most costly at 11,4 billion USD. By cutting it, and other programmes of very questionable usefulness (LCS, UAVs), 16,6 billion USD could have been saved.

Fact is that large US defense budget does not produce military capability that is in line with size of the budget. Reasons for that have to be looked for in how weapons procurement works: contractors in armaments industry are free to work with almost no oversight, and lessons from past wars are ignored. In fact, armament manufacturers are inclined to increase complexity and cost of every single weapons system, as it means that they spend less on raw materials and work force, while receiveing large sums of money on both production and drawn-out R&D. Such complexity increases do not, however, mean that weapon is really more capable. Due to that, we get to the paradox where less defense spending could result in more capable military.

Many spending-defenders argue that defense spending saves jobs. That is not true even when looking only at the defense industry. In fact, Lockheed Martin and Boeing have fired thousands of workers at the same time they were receiveing very lucrative contracts.

While increase in defense spending can indeed create jobs when done right, it is terrible job creator even then. For example, only 1,5% of F-35 program costs goes on workers’ pays. In fact, same amount of defense spending creates 25% fewer jobs than a tax cut; one and one-half times fewer jobs than spending on clean energy production; and two and one-half times fewer jobs than spending on education. It also creates less jobs than public works. For exact figures, consider that every 100 billion USD of a military budget (not spending) creates, approximately, 830 000 jobs in military and military industry. When same amount of money is spent for education, both the number of jobs and the average pay are going to be higher. If it is spent on health care or infrastructure, average pay will be less, but total pay compensation will be more than with military industry, and number of jobs created will be far more (for the same amount of money, health care 151%, education 207%, mass transit 231% and construction of infrastructure 150% as much jobs as defense establishment. All of them have additional benefits: more capable work force, reduced pollution, etc. Also, US infrastructure is currently in very poor shape). Total compensation to economy is also larger than that of defense, at 23 – 124% more.

In fact, “Converting the American Economy” study from 1990s has found that a gradual reduction in military spending, starting with $35 billion in 1990 and reaching $105 billion in 1994, would have produced a net gain of 477,000 jobs within the U.S. Economy.

Yet, only 75 billion USD were spent on education in 2007, and military spending accounts for 50% of total Federal spending.

Tax cuts, however, are the worst option for helping the economy, possibly even worse than defense spending. One of reasons is the fact that tax cuts primarly target the wealthy part of the populace, who accumlate money. As economy is all about flow of money, not its accumulation, result is economy slowdown. Tax evasion has similar effect, however – and major armaments companies are spending large sums on lawyers so as to evade taxes.

Important thing about the defense budget is that it must not be governed by GDP, but by military realities. One reality is that United States should not, as it is doing now, fixate on China as a threat. China does seem to be impatient and agressive, but question remains how much of blame for that goes to the United States themselves. While United States should be able to defend itself, military solution of its issues with China should be the last option. However, there are more powers on work here, such as US military contractors, who need a dangerous opponent so as to justify further defense spending increases, and maintain their influence as well as their peace of the budget cake. As such, realistic assessment of situation cannot be expected, at least from the US Government and weapons contractors.

Posted in Military Spending | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »