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Entries tagged "Unified Security Budget"Page 1 • 2 Next
July 25, 2012 · By Matias Ramos
Did you know there are more than 800,000 government officials with top-level clearance to combat terrorism? A friend of IPS went on MSNBC last week to sort out what that costs us during a time of massive deficits:
The Ed Show's guest host Michael Eric Dyson reported last week on former Vice President Dick Cheney's visit to Congress, where he lobbied Republicans in the House of Representatives to oppose defense cuts to which their party has already agreed during the so-called "Super Committee" process last fall. Under the agreement, sequestration will result in automatic cuts to both defense and safety net programs in January 1, 2013.
His guest, Col. Lawrence Wilkerson (Ret.) is a member of a task force organized by the Institute for Policy Studies and the Center for American Progress. It produces the yearly Report of the Task Force on a Unified Security Budget for the United States. In the report, experts from various fields explain how a new approach that emphasized diplomacy and collaboration would help balance the budget and make us safer.
February 16, 2012 · By Miriam Pemberton
The last decade’s surge in military spending has pushed military contracting deeper into the foundations of our economy. Reversing this process, and transferring the savings to support the green economy, are necessary components of the project to build the new economic foundation we need.
Here is a quick take on how little the President’s budget request, released this week, is going to help.
First a few bright spots. This budget is a milestone of sorts. For the first time, it offers less money to the military next year than we are spending this year. This is not the way the term “spending cut” tends to be defined in Washington-speak. Mostly “cuts” are made to last year’s expansive projections of the future. As in: the doubling of my salary that I projected last year didn’t happen, therefore I took a salary cut. All those military spending cuts referred to in previous years have been that kind.
With respect to support for the green economy, the budget does call for increases in spending on specific clean energy programs over what Congress appropriated last year.
Pull back just a little to see a slightly bigger picture, and things don’t look so good.
First, that military spending cut? It’s real (for the first time) but it’s about 1% of the Pentagon’s total. Not exactly transformational. The administration thought about eliminating one of our three nuclear weapon delivery systems (bombers, submarines, and land-based missiles); they thought about killing the most expensive weapon system of all time, the F35; they thought about having 10 rather than 11 aircraft carriers (no other country has even one to challenge them). They did none of these things.
And after next year the military budget will, according to plan, go back up. We will spend more in real terms over the next ten years than we spent during the previous ten. This after 13 straight years of increases. This while we spend more than the next 17 countries put together.
The Obama administration did invest about $80 billion in the green economy through the Recovery Act. But that money is mostly gone now. While their budget does make targeted investments—like $310 million for solar and $95 million for wind—overall spending on clean technology in this budget has almost been cut in half. The climate change budget includes, in addition to funding from the Energy Department, EPA money for pollution control, Treasury Department loan guarantees for clean tech investment, GSA purchases of fuel-efficient vehicles, and Housing and Urban Development funds for building weatherization. Those programs totaled $27.6 billion in the 2012 budget. In 2013 their allotment is $15 billion.
Of course, to the extent Republicans are in charge, this will be much worse. They want to increase military spending far beyond what the Obama administration has in mind. And they’re hoping that the trillion-dollar “sequestration” currently planned for 2013 will be allowed to fall on everything but the Pentagon budget.
Neither plan, needless to say, is transformational. For that, we have America Is Not Broke.
June 30, 2011 · By Joy Zarembka
Over the last decade, military spending has nearly doubled — it now exceeds Cold War levels. Coupled with the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, these massive expenditures have contributed to the crippling of our economy.
Despite lip service from Washington officials, including outgoing Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, there's been little appetite for reining in this rampant spending. Yet, in the increasingly partisan budget debate, military spending is the one area where there may be some bipartisan agreement.
Questioned about Republicans' unwillingness to cut military spending, Freshman Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) said in an interview this week, "Look, I know there are sacred cows, but we cannot afford them anymore."
But any cuts must be done in a smart way that ensures our safety and security here at home. Since 2004, the Institute for Policy Studies has promoted a bold vision about ending waste in the vast military budget, and providing a road map on how to shift security resources more effectively.
Guided by a task force of military, diplomacy, and homeland security experts and led by IPS expert Miriam Pemberton and Lawrence Korb at the Center for American Progress, the Institute released today a new report titled "Unified Security Budget for the United States, FY 2012."
For those on Capitol Hill looking for effective cuts, Korb notes, "There is plenty that can be trimmed from the $700 billion-plus spent annually on the military. In the report we detail $77 billion of lowest hanging fruit."
And Pemberton explains the security framework that makes cuts — and additions — to the budget possible. "We need a budget process that looks at our security challenges as a whole, and allocates resources in a way that matches the lip service everyone in government pays to the co-equal importance of military and non-military tools," she says.
Overhauling U.S. security spending should be just one way the nation moves toward more rational fiscal approach. Just last week, IPS rallied with nurses on Wall Street, calling on the financial industry to pay their fair share of the costs of the economic crisis. And the Institute's Chuck Collins is an integral part of a campaign to target tax cheats, including Apple.
This mixture of smart spending cuts and increases in revenue puts real military and economic security within our grasp.
P.S.: As Glenn Beck leaves the Fox News Network today, IPS is sending him a goodbye card along with a copy of our annual report that he paraded on his show last year. Add your name to the card by making a tax-deductible donation to IPS as we celebrate the end of an error!
February 10, 2011 · By Miriam Pemberton
Deficit pressure has put "everything on the table" for cuts, including the Pentagon. Everyone from House Majority Leader Eric Cantor to President Barack Obama agrees on this. But what they mean by this is all over the map.
The budget Obama will present to Congress next week will likely begin what the Pentagon is billing as $78 billion in cuts to its budget over five years. In fact these are cuts to their plans for expansion, i.e., slowing a proposed increase is being defined as a cut.
While both Obama and House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan pay lip service to the "defense is on the table" mantra, both also exempt the defense budget from their budgetary restraining actions: a five-year discretionary freeze, in Obama's case, and $100 billion in cuts, in Ryan's.
The president’s debt reduction commission proposed real cuts, but these would leave the military budget only 5 percent below where President Reagan jacked it up to militarily defeat the Soviet Union — shortly before its collapse.
Defense Secretary Gates describes even those modest potential cuts as "catastrophic."
Let's define budget cuts as spending less next year than this year. Nothing else should qualify.
Savings aren't just needed because of the nation's massive debt. We also need to address our security deficit. The civilian and uniformed military leadership agrees on a key point: U.S. foreign policy needs to be less dominated by the military. Achieving that goal would entail decreasing the proportion of resources devoted to offense (the military) relative to defense (homeland security) and prevention (non-military foreign engagement). IPS will score this proposed budget's mix of security expenditures, and report the results after Obama releases it.
Miriam Pemberton, an Institute for Policy Studies research fellow, leads the task force that produces the yearly Unified Security Budget for the United States with Lawrence Korb of the Center for American Progress.
November 11, 2010 · By Miriam Pemberton
The two chairs of the Deficit Reduction Commission have floated their trial balloon. Here’s my good news/ bad news quick take on their proposals for military spending:
- Cutting military spending—the formerly untouchable component of the budget—is off-limits no more. Secretary Gates has been proposing “cuts” that are actually shaved, and redirected, increases. What the Deficit Commission chairs are proposing is, actually, cuts.
- Military spending gets equal treatment! It makes up half the discretionary budget (what Congress votes on every year). The team of Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson propose cutting $100 billion from defense, and $100 billion from everything else. Proportional, in other words.
- This includes $20 billion in weapons buys. This would be the largest cut in this budget since the end of the cold war. The list includes items that IPS’ Unified Security Budget task force, which I chair, and the Sustainable Defense Task Force, of which I am a member, have recommended, including ending, finally, the hybrid helicopter plane—the V-22 Osprey—that’s struggled to become airborne since the eighties, and that even Dick Cheney tried to kill; canceling the Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle program; cutting in half buys of the Joint Strike Fighter plane, the most expensive weapons program EVER; and further cutting the grab bag of high-tech toys, the Future Combat Systems.
- They propose cutting 1/3 of our overseas bases, bringing home 150,000 of our troops in Europe and Asia, which IPS has also been advocating for years. The savings they project from this are far smaller than our projections.
- They make no mention of savings to be gained from cuts to the nuclear weapons complex, for example, or to unneeded aircraft fighter wings, or submarines, or destroyers.
- They get to their $100 billion number by gesturing toward large quantities of unspecified “efficiencies.”
- While reassigning Defense Secretary Gates’ projected savings to the deficit is better than his plans to plow them back into his own budget, this money is sorely needed for job-creating investment.
- No sooner had the balloon been launched than other members of the Commission began taking pot shots at it. Further deliberations, and the voting, are still to come.