According to figures [Center for Defense Information's Winslow] Wheeler compiled for The Pentagon Labyrinth, the military's base budget of $549 billion in 2011 is just the starting point for calculating military dollars. Adding in war spending ($159 billion), homeland defense ($44 billion), Veterans Affairs ($122 billion), interest on defense-related debt ($48 billion) and other items pushes the total to more than "$1 trillion a year. In constant dollars, adjusted for inflation, the regular military budget, not including the add-ons, has doubled from a low of about $360 billion in 1998 to more than $739 billion in 2011.Sometimes, it's easier to make the case for reduced US defense spending by making some comparisons to other states. Dreyfuss offers these as well:
...as the Bipartisan Policy report points out, by 2009 US spending on military research and development alone, about $80 billion, surpassed China's entire military budget by more than $10 billion. The budget for the US Special Forces alone is greater than the total military spending of nearly 100 countries; overall, the United States spends about as much on defense as the rest of the world combined.Obviously, ending the war in Afghanistan would go a long way towards reducing US defense spending. Bob Woodward keeps saying that President Obama is trying to do that. Perhaps the new Defense Secretary, Leon Panetta, with his budgeting background, will be able to help recommend genuine cuts.
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