Obama, Gates Agree on Defense Budget Increase

Wednesday, February 18, 2009 at 9:10 am

Remember earlier this month, when the White House’s Office of Management and Budget told the Pentagon to cap its forthcoming fiscal 2010 budget at $527 billion, excluding the cost of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars — an increase from the $513 billion appropriated in the final year of the Bush administration? But because the figure was lower than a $584 billion Bush-era Pentagon wishlist for fiscal 2010, people started portraying the increase as a cut? Well, Josh Rogin at Congressional Quarterly reports (behind a firewall, alas) that OMB and the Pentagon have agreed to an even greater increase: $537 billion for the coming fiscal year.

The new topline figure is $10 billion greater than guidance President Obama’s administration gave to the Pentagon only last month. The increase reflects the effort to incorporate some items previously found in supplemental war funding budgets, the sources said, but does not cover the cost of ongoing operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, which will still require additional funding above the base request next fiscal year.

A bunch of defense-budget experts observe to Rogin that the Obama administration doesn’t want to be accused of being soft on defense. But that would presume its adversaries are interested in intellectual honesty, which this budget debate has demonstrated to be a faulty premise. The Obama administration could jack its Pentagon budget request to $583,999,999,999.99 and you’d see a flurry of op-eds bemoaning a defense cut. What’s more, the stimulus package includes several billion dollars for facilities construction and maintenance on military bases, as Jason Sigger helpfully itemizes. But don’t expect, say, advocates of the F-22 fighter plane that isn’t used in Iraq or Afghanistan to stop their campaign to tie F-22 purchases to economic recovery. That’s just how these debates go.

In any event, Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.), chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, is going to have a hard time persuading the administration to chop the defense budget, as he’s advocated.

Update: InsideDefense’s Jason Sherman reported the $537 billion figure on Friday, but since it was behind ID’s subscriber firewall, I didn’t see his piece. Apologies, though.

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Telegram Sam
Comment posted February 18, 2009 @ 8:52 am

We won't be safe until we spend twice as much as the rest of the world combined!
Full spectrum dominance!

Comment posted February 18, 2009 @ 9:15 am

The new white man's burden, protecting the world. From what, with what? Why haven't the millions of us wihout jobs and health insurance taken to the streets? The answer is Drones. Rain them from the skies. Lace the land with clusters of mines. Kill them all and let god do the judging. Yee-hah!

More and More and More « Middle East News and Comment
Pingback posted February 18, 2009 @ 4:58 pm

[...] February 18, 2009 by js3262 Bring in the guns! [...]

Comment posted February 23, 2009 @ 1:26 pm

Military experts and Bernie Frank, chairman of the Banking and Financial Services Committee, agree that billions could be safely cut from the Pentagon budget. Countless failed Pentagon programs and projects that have nothing to do with securing the homeland or our troops are wasting our tax dollars, while American health care and education remain pathetically underfunded. A simple redirection of that money could ensure that every American has the equality of OPPORTUNITY that every American citizen is entitled to.

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Matt McKeon

Is it worth it? «
Pingback posted February 23, 2009 @ 1:29 pm

[...] it’ll take some time before Defense Secretary Bob Gates issues his fiscal 2010 budget, capped by the White House at $537 billion, not including the cost of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. Before Congress and the Obama [...]

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joe from Lowell
Comment posted April 6, 2009 @ 1:50 pm

This is sort of an apples-to-oranges comparison.

Barack Obama's military budget includes funding for the Iraq and Afghan wars, which Bush put off-budget and funded through “emergency” appropriations. IIRC, we're spending about $40-50 billion per annum on those wars for now.

Matthew Yglesias » Obama is Reorienting Defense Spending, Not Cutting It
Pingback posted April 7, 2009 @ 3:13 pm

[...] and Afghanistan) the defense budget was $513 billion. In FY 2010, if Gates and Obama get their way, it will be $534 billion–$534 billion that will be spent much differently than last year’s outlays [...]

Does Secretary of Defense Gate have conjones grande? « Fabius Maximus
Pingback posted April 7, 2009 @ 9:41 pm

[...] “Obama, Gates Agree on Defense Budget Increase“, Spencer Ackerman, 18 February 2009 [...]

Our crazy media: Obama Defense budget increase reported as a cut « Later On
Pingback posted April 8, 2009 @ 12:21 pm

[...] and Afghanistan) the defense budget was $513 billion. In FY 2010, if Gates and Obama get their way, it will be $534 billion–$534 billion that will be spent much differently than last year’s outlays [...]

par-ok-ialism « Solutions for Oklahoma
Pingback posted April 8, 2009 @ 9:34 pm

[...] a fact he much cared for.  The DOD budget was not cut.  In fact, we’ve got a $30 billion increase for FY 2010. Apparently, Inhofe mistakes changing priorities, eliminating ineffective programs [...]

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Military Budget « The Grand Disillusion
Pingback posted April 15, 2009 @ 12:49 am

[...] and Afghanistan) the defense budget was $513 billion. In FY 2010, if Gates and Obama get their way, it will be $534 billion–$534 billion that will be spent much differently than last year’s outlays [...]

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