The US Military Spending Keeps Growing & Growing
Today, the Pentagon announced its projected budget for 2011. The Defense Department will request from Congress $708 billion in their 2011 budget. Judging from previous years, it is likely that this astronomical amount will be easily approve by the US Congress. President Obama indicated very clearly in his State of the Union address that he had no intention to cut the Defense budget.
The total amount requested by the Pentagon includes $159 billion in overseas contingency operations, or war spending. The so called “base budget request”-the budget before the contingency funds- is $549 billion in fiscal 2011, compared to $531 billion in 2010. A priority in the 2011 budget is funding the military to focus on today’s wars.
The Pentagon says that adding more helicopters to its current fleet is “crucial to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan”. The budget will fund more pilot training in order to add two extra army combat aviation brigades. The budget contains a $9.6 billion to modernize the current helicopter fleet. It is a 6 percent increase over the 2010 budget.
The Defense Department also proposes a substantial increase of the number of Drones. The unmanned aerial vehicles are used extensively in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and according to the Pentagon are “crucial to commanders and troops in today’s wars”.
Special operations forces will get a major boost as well in the 2011 Pentagon budget with an increase of 6 percent from 2010.
“We are adding 2,800 people to the special operations command in fiscal 2011, and through fiscal 2015 about 10,000 military and civilian will be added overall. Special operations forces are particularly important in irregular warfare such as we see in Iraq and Afghanistan,” said Defense Department controller Robert F. Hale.
The 2011 budget also contains funding for what the Pentagon calls “the next generation bomber”.
“Over the next five years, we are spending more than $4 billion in long range strike. Part in the next generation bomber, but we are also upgrading our existing bombers-the B-2 and the B-52. We are also looking at a prompt global strike capability-possibly a missile,” said Hale.
Hale said he is confident the Defense Department is “beginning to strike the right balance between funding today’s wars and funding the forces needed for the future”.
The requested $708 billion Defense Department 2011 budget will pass with “flying colors” in the US Congress. In a time when the overall US budget deficit is skyrocketing to dangerous high, Americans should really question the absurd logic of having such a large part of their tax money disappear into the black hole of military spending. America spend more money on its military than the rest of the world combine. The fiscal 2011 budget request from the Pentagon is of course great news for the industrial-military complex, but it is bad news for peace, fiscal responsibility, or even rationality. Further, this ever growing spending is completely unsustainable, and will eventually bankrupt the US economy.
To read an overview of the Department Of Defense budget request for fiscal 2011 click here.
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