Tag Archives | Defense Budget

DARPA Waxes Poetic at Cyber Colloquium

DARPAAaron Cynic writes at Diatribe Media:

The Defense Department plans to ratchet up cyber security over the next five years, say chatter from a conference its research arm, DARPA, held on Monday. DARPA is seeking $208 million in funding to “prepare for hostile cyber acts that threaten our military capabilities,” an increase in $83 million reports Information Week. At the “cyber colloquium” in Virginia on Monday, talking heads for the DoD waxed poetic about the issues the Pentagon faces with cyber security.

“It is the makings of novels and poetry from Dickens to Gibran that the best and the worst occupy the same time, that wisdom and foolishness appear in the same age, light and darkness in the same season,” said DARPA’s director Regina Dugan, Wired reports. Former White House Security chief Richard Clarke was more blunt, saying current networks are as “porous as a colande.” Meanwhile, Wired reports DARPA also tacitly reached out to hackers at the colloquium, looking to enlist “the efforts of technical experts at unprecedented levels, including at the development of policy and legal frameworks.”

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War Is The Health of the States

INGSOCAaron Cynic writes at Diatribe Media:

Once again, the military industrial complex is howling about money, with its most fervent supporters knowing that the U.S. government is completely broke, but believing budget cuts have to come from somewhere that isn’t the DOD. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said on Wednesday that another round of cuts aside from the $350 billion called for in August is “nuts” and would be a “doomsday mechanism,” according to The Hill.

Since the year 2000, defense spending has increased 86%, not counting funding for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, along with other money going to the general “War on Terror.” The DOD budget has increased in size every year, and by the end of FY2011, total military spending including ongoing wars will nearly hit $3 trillion.

In no uncertain terms, Panetta hinted that even if conflicts were to end, defense spending would not decrease “on his watch.” At the Association of the U.S.

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Protecting Their Prosperity

F-35Aaron Cynic writes at Diatribe Media:

Even though the U.S. military spends more than 6 times that of our next competitor (China), the GOP is still pushing the narrative that any more cuts in spending to the Pentagon’s budget would be “disastrous” and spell “doomsday” for the military. The Hill reports House Armed Services Committee Chairman Buck McKeon (R-Calif) said he’d even be willing to support tax increases before more cuts to the military’s budget. Predictably, 13 freshmen Republicans on McKeon’s panel, many of which are Tea Party darlings, feel “enough is enough” and believe federal spending cuts need to come from entitlement programs.

McKeon said “It’s time to focus our fiscal restraint on the driver of our debt, not the protector of our prosperity.”

In addition to McKeon’s doomsday forecasting, Senator Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) also voiced concerns earlier this month regarding proposed defense spending cuts. In a letter to Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, Chambliss warned that a “draconian budget cutting exercise” towards the F-35 fighter program would risk the United States’ advantage in aerial warfare.… Read the rest

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Austerity For Everyone, Except The Defense Industry

F35A PrototypeAaron Cynic writes at Diatribe Media:

While Congress and the President fight it out over the debt ceiling and all of America quietly shudders over whether our economy will completely default on itself, at least one industry still hums along without a care in the world.

Amidst a fiscal crisis of apparently apocalyptic proportions, where the GOP demands dollar for dollar spending cuts from the budget in order to raise our debt limit, the Pentagon asked Congress for $264 million to cover part of a $771 million overrun on the F-35 program. The Hill reports Republican Senator John McCain let the news slip via Twitter, saying “Congress notified that first F-35 jets have cost overruns of $771M. Outrageous! Pentagon asking for $264M down payment now. Disgraceful.”

Leaders of the program Lockheed Martin spat back on Twitter, contending “The F-35 team is focused on reducing costs of the jets and is showing significant improvement in key areas,” to which the ranking Senate Armed Services Committee member McCain said “taxpayers deserve better.”

Of course, the Defense Department and its pet contractors believe any kind of spending cuts, even on a program to build a plane that has no mission, would be catastrophic.… Read the rest

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A Modest Proposal to Republicans on How to Trim the Budget

Fire PelosiOriginally posted by D. J. Pangburn on death + taxes:

Dear Republicans,

Without a doubt, you will hold up Reagan as a symbol of fiscal responsibility. Bush 41 lost on the economy and tax increases, Clinton balanced the budget by working with Republicans, and it’s common knowledge that Bush 43 grew the national budget to epic proportions in his time in office — most of it on Defense spending. And he did nothing to balance the budget — which, of course, you already know, as evidenced by your new House Budget Committee Chairmen’s comment on how the 2006 elections were a “repudiation of Republicans who strayed from their principles and got soft on spending and government.”

A closer look at Reagan’s economic maneuvers reveals the budget deficit in 1980 (his first year in office) was $1 trillion and in 1988 it was $3 trillion. Why? Tax cuts and increased spending.… Read the rest

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Who Really Spends the Most on Their Armed Forces?

The Guardian has some revealing infographics:
Yep, the United States spent a staggering $607bn (£402 bn) on defence in 2008. Currently engaged in what will likely be the longest ground war in US history in Afghanistan. Harbourer of thousands of nuclear weapons. 1.5m soldiers. Fleets of aircrafts, bombs and seemingly endless amounts of military technology. The defence budgets of the other top nine countries can be neatly accommodated inside the US budget. So the US is an aggressive, war-mongeringing military machine, right? And the numbers prove it. But is that true? Is that the whole picture?
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Assessing the QDR and 2011 Defense Budget

By Gordon Adams at the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists:

The new Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR) and the fiscal year 2011 defense budget request have arrived. Unfortunately, they miss the mark: The QDR vastly expands the military’s missions, and the budget responds in kind by expanding for the fourteenth consecutive year.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates argued that the two documents were “shaped by a bracing dose of realism” with regard to risk and resources. I respectfully disagree. The QDR’s risk assessment piles on missions like a short-order cook stacks pancakes at IHOP, setting no priorities between near-term challenges and long-term requirements. And the budget continues to accommodate such a limitless agenda. The bottom line: This lack of discipline will broaden the country’s defense requirements and expand military spending in ways that will make establishing budget and mission discipline in the future even more difficult.


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The lack of budget discipline deconstructed.

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