Expert Available: Leon Panetta’s military budget only reflects “cuts to the Pentagon’s previous plans for expansion,” says military spending expert Miriam Pemberton

Military spending expert Miriam Pemberton is co-author of the annual “Unified Security Budget” report, a proposal for cutting waste in security spending and changing the security budget toward expenditures that make us safer. She is available for comment on Leon Panetta’s proposed military budget and why the numbers are still far too high.

Pemberton states:

“The important thing to remember about the ‘Defense Budget’ numbers released today, purporting to lay out a plan for $487 billion in cuts over 10 years, is that these are only-in-Washington cuts, i.e. not cuts as you or I would define them. To most of us, cutting the budget would mean spending less in the future than in the past. These are, instead, cuts to the Pentagon’s previous plans for expansion. In five years the Pentagon’s base budget will be, in real terms, about where it is today. After the steep increases of the past decade, we’re spending more than we were at the height of the Reagan buildup. While powerful members of Congress will be crying that the Obama administration is gutting defense, in fact the Administration has barely begun the process of reversing the buildup and shifting the money to higher priorities.”

Miriam Pemberton is a Research Fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies, writing and speaking on demilitarization issues for its Foreign Policy In Focus project. She has recently published a report, “Military vs. Climate Security: Mapping the Shift from the Bush Years to the Obama Era,” a follow-up to her other publication, “The Budgets Compared: Military vs. Climate Security.” Miriam also leads a group that produces the annual “Unified Security Budget for the United States.” Formerly she was editor, researcher and finally director of the National Commission for Economic Conversion and Disarmament. She holds a Ph.D. from the University of Michigan.

Pemberton is co-editor of the book “Lessons from Iraq: Avoiding the Next War” (Paradigm Publishers, 2008) with William Hartung of the New America Foundation.

Members of the media seeking to interview Miriam Pemberton should contact Media Relations Manager Lacy MacAuley at (202) 445-4692, [email protected]