Pentagon Budget Cuts are Possible

Cuts in Pentagon Spending Possible, Authorities Say

by Sherwood Ross

Americans can begin to hope that the current recession, coupled with the politics of debt reduction in Washington, may yet result in cuts in that runaway Pentagon budget, The Nation magazine says in its April 11th issue.

“War-weary Americans have turned decisively against the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq, and, according to polls, voters support cuts in military spending,” Contributing Editor Robert Dreyfuss writes.

“After 13 consecutive years of growth, between 1998 and 2011, spending on the military has reached an all-time high,” and for 2012 the Pentagon’s Robert Gates “is asking Congress to authorize yet another increase, seeking $553 billion, plus an additional $118 billion for Iraq and Afghanistan, for a total of $671 billion,” Dreyfuss writes. Throw in all war spending, homeland defense ($44 billion), Veterans Affairs ($122 billion), interest on military debt ($48 billion) and the war machine is costing the public in excess of $1 trillion a year.

“It’s so much money,” Dreyfuss writes, President Obama’s own National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform(NCFRR) pointed out the $80 billion the U.S. spends on military R&D alone “surpassed China’s entire military budget by more than $10 billion.” Overall, Dreyfuss writes, the U.S. spends as much on military “as the rest of the world combined.”

What’s more, the Pentagon’s trillion dollar spending spree exceeds the general funds of all 50 U.S. states combined, which, says the National Association of State Budget Officers, will come to about $636 billion in 2011. Translation: Pentagon spending for war is greater than all public outlays for all purposes by all states. And while hard-pressed states wallow in debt and lay off teachers and police, “defense” contractors enjoy record or near-record profits.

Editor Dreyfuss noted that “a series of high-powered reports” last year called for “big cuts in military spending, with each projecting reductions of 15-20 percent of the Pentagon budget.” These were:

  • Sustainable Defense Task Force of Reps. Barney Frank and Ron Paul, seeking to chop $960 billion between 2011 and 2020.
  • The libertarian Cato Institute published “Budgetary Savings From Military Restraint” that outlined $1.2 trillion in cuts over 10 years, including a one-third cut in troop strengt
  • The Bipartisan Policy Center issued “Restoring America’s Future” that proposed a five-year freeze in Pentagon spending at current levels plus a cap on future growth that would save $1.1 trillion over a decade.
  • “Most startling,” Dreyfuss writes, was President Obama’s own NCFRR came up with nearly $1 trillion in cuts.

“Broadly speaking, public opinion no longer favors military spending,” Dreyfuss writes. “Support for the war in Afghanistan, which absorbs $10 billion a month, has dropped off a cliff, with two-thirds of Americans saying the war is no longer worth fighting.”

“Other polling,” he continues, “shows that when asked to choose between cuts in Pentagon spending and undermining the social safety net, the public chooses cutting the Pentagon.”

A March poll, Dreyfuss notes, revealed that 51 percent favor reductions in military spending versus just 28 percent who would cut Medicare and Medicaid and 18 percent who’d cut Social Security.

If the public truly seeks to slash the Pentagon budget, the fight will be long and hard and it will have to start right away. Dreyfuss quotes Lawrence Korb, a military analyst at the liberal Center for American Progress, who says few if any cuts will come before the 2015 budget cycle. “If you start now, you can take out $100 billion a year by 2015. That’s realistic,” Korb is quoted as saying.

Personally, I prefer my own Ross Plan to all of the cuts suggested above. The Ross Plan would require the Peace Corps and the Pentagon to switch budgets and personnel numbers. Restricted to $400 million a year and 8,600 troops the Pentagon couldn’t possibly raise all the hell it does. And with a $1 trillion budget and three million workers, the Peace Corps, (which candidate Obama promised to double from 7,800 to 16,000 by 2011 but, of course, never has) might just work wonders.

About the Writer: Sherwood Ross is a public relations consultant for good causes who also runs the Anti-War News Service. Contact him at [email protected]

The views expressed herein are the views of the author exclusively and not necessarily the views of VT, VT authors, affiliates, advertisers, sponsors, partners, technicians, or the Veterans Today Network and its assigns. LEGAL NOTICE - COMMENT POLICY

Posted by on April 10, 2011, With Reads Filed under Government. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

19 Responses to "Pentagon Budget Cuts are Possible"

  1. Alton  April 13, 2011 at 6:02 am

    Well, since this year I have had to ‘pay’ the Gov. taxes (first time that ever happened), I guess i can sleep a little better knowing that I, a middle income schmoe, pay more taxes to ‘the Gov.’ than GE.

  2. Sherwood Ross  April 11, 2011 at 8:46 pm

    Thanks to all of you who took time to write. Sherwood

  3. Dale R. Suiter  April 11, 2011 at 4:34 pm

    Great article and some excellent comments. KBR, DYNCORP, GE and dozens of other large corperations are too embedded with the military. Getting them out off of the governement dime will take people of great moral courage, in the executive and legislative branches of government. The people that have lawful autority to make changes – well I don’t see them in D.C. today.

    The USA needs Grunts, Cannon Cockers, 88mikes, Sailors, Airmen, Jarheads and Coasties. Technology and R&D is way over funded. Check out how much money the USA is spending on obtaining a new infantry rifle if interested in just one enconomic disaster (our enemy still uses the decades old AK modeled on a WWII German Army weapon).

    I would put soliders on KP and get rid civilians out of the military. (Of course I would expand replacement of KP’s to military personnel running the military. It would be cheaper and much more efficient.)

    Great work folks on this very important issue.


    Dale R. Suiter

  4. Matt Ford, M.P.A.  April 11, 2011 at 8:50 am

    Of course Pentagon cuts are possible. Jims Marrs, well known author and journalist in his book, The Terror Conspiracy on page 375 pointed out that the Department of Defense hasn’t had an independent audit since it was required to do so since 1995.

    Furthermore,look for 2 trillion still unaccounted for federal dollars on the website,

    In addition, please review the website of the Government Accountability Office at, for studies amounting to hundreds of pages documenting more waste and duplicity.

  5. Louise  April 11, 2011 at 12:10 am

    Regarding military bases overseas, the USA can share bases with many countries they are friendly with such as in Australia. The USA does not need to maintain separate bases.

    The USA bases in Japan should be cut because the Japanese do not want them and the noise they have made over USA bases being in their country has made the USA look like an occupying country rather than an ally, it has reflected badly on the USA in the Asian region.

    I am a big believer in regional security – get regions to work together to look after their own security and the USA can step in if required.

    America’s power was in having a large military, it was never in using it. The fact that the USA is in two large wars in the Middle East is actually weakening it as a superpower because it cannot possibly get involved in any other wars whilst these are still going on. Hence, currently it is of no use to any of its allies. Most of East Asia can see this and are cuddling up to China because no one sees them as a threat regardless of stupid comments made by Hilary Clinton.

    If the USA does not get its debt under control it will be finished.

  6. hub galliker  April 10, 2011 at 10:20 pm

    I’ll believe it when I see it, I’m convinced it’s good, now to convince the Tea Party…..

  7. ROBERT VN Vet 11th Armored Cav  April 10, 2011 at 10:08 pm

    US Vet, Yes I Have Sir…
    Have You???????

  8. vinnie  April 10, 2011 at 7:37 pm

    cut the legs OUT of the defense spending. ( AND NOTE SIOP THE BASTARD TWO WORTHLESS WARS.) the pentagon and the war monger military defense contractors are a bunch of FRAUD. america needs to be cleaned up and cleaned out of all the garbage cess-pool morans in the federal government. VIGILANTES ARE NEEDED TO ARREST ALL THE CRIMINALS IN THE BASTARD FEDERAL GOVERNMENT.TRY THEM, CONVICT THEM AND PUT THESE ASS-HOLES ALL IN JAILS FOR 100 YEARS. the only thing they know is STEAL THE POPULACE OF AMERICA (BLND). ITS TIME TO GET RID OF ALL THE SCUM BAG, SLIME BALL’S IN WASHINGTON D.C.

  9. US Veteran  April 10, 2011 at 7:18 pm

    TALK,TALK, TALK! Has any of you actually said these things nose to nose with a lawmaker, or started a petition to get these things noticed or done?

  10. ROBERT VN Vet 11th Armored Cav  April 10, 2011 at 6:47 pm

    Bonner and his SOB(GOP)buddies started thw sp called wars that we are in…
    The only one that are benifitting from them are the Contractors, the Big Banks and their Corperation Buddies that are filling their pockets…
    Get rid of the Lobbiests too…
    And Dock their pay when they are Not either in Congerss, the Senate, or in their offices actually doing their work that WE pay them for…
    And NOT pay them when their out Golfing, or Campaining too….
    That by itself would save Mucho Bucks…

  11. david black  April 10, 2011 at 6:10 pm

    if we do the following four steps we will fix the budget in five years or less.

    1. cut off all dod pentagon credit cards . and make it fed govt wide. only cabinet secretaries get em. and find the 2.3 trillions dollars that Rumsfeld said the pentagon lost during the iraq wars.

    2. make medicare and medicaid and social security like they used to be separate trusts that were not in the federal budget.

    3. 50 percent tax like in the UK where the rich including the big corps and banks and super rick and anyone over $ 1 million income pay 50 percent tax on gross income and then they can do the the deductions on the rest. no exceptions.

    4. no tax refunds to any corporaton that has over 1 billion of net income.

    5. cut the pentagon budget and get our troops out of 217 countries. and get ourselves fixed financially and emotionally.

    6. get rid of the behemoth big banks. make em little ones. and no more big national banks and get rid of the OCC.

    7. cut the pentagon budget by 50 percent and then everthing past that has to be triple justified. and clean out the top heavy general and admiral ranks. we have to many of them in peace time.

    more indians and less chiefs as in generals and admirals. and no more $ 440 perhour payments to ex admirals and generals and cut all defense contractors by 50 percent.

    change the fed govt financial mentality which is debt is better than case. why is that ? it is unlimited. says the fed exec to the presdent

    and get every county treasury in the us and and state treasury fingers out of ths treasury by taking 80 percent of funds sent by the us treasury and putting into their general fund to balance their budgets and the money disappears. and end the $ 200 a night subsidy for throwing everyone in jail and long term prison sentences since the federal treasury is paying that much money for every night a prisoner and us citizen spends in a county or state prison.

    we have turned into a nation of prisons and chain gains in florida.

    we are and have become our own worst problem we forgot liberty and open government . read jesse ventura’s new book 63 documents that the feds dont want you to read.

    we are ROME and we will go the way of ROME if we continue on this direction.

    the rich have to pay their freight like we vets have paid with our blood since 1776.

    we are in the KING GEORGE doing his subjects badly mode.

    HUD can stop this foreclosure crisis in a minute with the Fair Housing ACT of 1964 that came from MLK march’s in the south in the 60’s . it gives homeowners the path for FREE to get full restitutiom from the sleezy banks.

    best regards
    David B.

  12. ROBERT VN Vet 11th Armored Cav  April 10, 2011 at 5:46 pm

    YEP, It’s time to clean house now… Both in the Pentagon and in Congress and the Senate… Time to cut out those Contractors that are milking the system, Remember the toilet seats, and the hammers that cost US Taxpayers hundreds of Bucks a piece???? Seeing that all of Washington now doesn’t work for the PEOPLE anymore, but for the Corperations, and the Banks that support their campains….
    Yep, Time for changes we can beleive in… Now’s the time for those changes…
    God Bless America and Her Military….

  13. B.A. Gilmore  April 10, 2011 at 3:52 pm

    Ooh, Lem. I like that. It sounds great. Especially worrying about troops on the ground instead of stealth fighters. When the war started people had to send vests to their relatives in Iraq. The soldiers had to fortify their own vehicles. Yet, we were putting all this money into planes that wouldn’t be ready for years and/or obsolete before they were finished. I like your ideas a lot.

  14. Lem G.  April 10, 2011 at 3:42 pm

    1.) Any superfluous general or admiral ( try 35 > 50% ) with 20+ years total time in service that is NOT physically able to pass the AFPT, non-deployable status and NON-mission critical, should be RETIRED immediately. Trim 50% of the # of generals & admirals in non-combat zone stateside positions.
    2.) Concentrate on the training, health and welfare of the troops on the ground, THEN worry about the latest stealth 4th generation fighter aircraft, nuke sub or aircraft carrier.
    3.) OVERHAUL the current DoD procurement system to REWARD whistleblowers with promotions and bonuses and penalize graft, corruption, fraud, malfeasance and negligence with a blue ribbon investigation team made up of GAO/IRS/DoD/OMB experts.
    4.) Publish and make public a ROGUE’s GALLERY of those individuals and companies
    that are bilking the taxpayer’s & our troops with shoddy products, cost over-runs,
    bad accounting practices, no-bid contracts etc. PROSECUTE and confiscate !
    and obvious delays in delivery.

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