Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Defense Budget

I've only read the commentary on the defense budget inside my RSS reader, but it really appears that Bob Gates defense budget is a home run. Gates seems determined to re-orient defense spending away from overpriced weapons systems we may or may not need, especially when you consider America's absurdly large capability advantage over our "peer" competitors in Russia and China, and towards spending that will help fight the wars we're actually fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. If you asked me whether the proposed cuts would ever be politically feasible I would have sad "no", but at least Gates is going to try. Well done, sir, well done.

5 comments:

N in Seattle said...

Is SDI part of the defense budget? Has that ridiculous, wasteful, unworkable Reagan fantasy been killed?

If not, why not?

Stephen said...

The defense budget priorities I like a lot. The way it has grown by around $20 billion or so I don't like at all. Half a trillion dollars, and we spend that much every year.

But the only debate will be over how much to increase the budget, because that's the real third rail in American politics.

Glenn Fayard said...

The only way we'll ever really decrease the defense budget is if someone brings useful civilian programs under the defense auspice and counts that in the budget. I mean, I don't object immensely when people throw money around in this economy. Gates seems to mostly be eliminating the $1000 wrench stuff, which is fine.

Anonymous said...

I can't call it a home run when it's increasing an already hugely bloated defense budget from $513 to $534 billion.

Ion said...

Here's the most impressive part (italics mine)

http://www.slate.com/id/2215491/

Some weapons need to be modernized, he allowed, to provide a "hedge" against future threats. But even here, he said, "goals should be tied to the actual and prospective capabilities of known future adversaries—not by what might be technologically feasible for a potential adversary given unlimited time and resources."

Its precisely the lack of that attitude that leads not only to uncontrolled military build-up, but also to uncontrolled financial speculation. We founder on fantasies both overly dark ("the Soviets have ten times as many missiles as we do", "the terrorists have nuclear capability") and overly light ("missile defense will keep us safe", "the housing bubble will never burst").

The defense budget is still waaaay too big. But it's a start in restoring some sanity and I'm grateful for that.