Does Obama Run Hot or Cold on Defense?

Project on Defense Alternatives, 13 February 2012.

Comparing the President’s requested budget authority for the Pentagon “base budget” in two successive budgets (FY-2012 and FY-2013) shows a reduction of nearly $490 billion in the years of comparison 2012-2021. This is a subtraction from last year’s plan and not from the CBO baseline, however.

• 2012-2021 cumulative spending in FY-2012 plan = $6.14 trillion
• 2012-2021 cumulative spending in FY-2013 plan = $5.65 trillion

There are other ways to measure progress in bringing fiscal responsibility to defense budgeting:

— Taking the 2012 spending level and holding it steady over the period 2012-2021 with increases for inflation only would produce a cumulative total of $5.82 trillion.

— Taking the 2011 spending level and holding it steady with increases for inflation would produce for 2012-2021 a cumulative spending total of $5.9 trillion.

Either of these might be used as alternative yardsticks for measuring the administration’s austerity efforts in the defense field — and both suggest a more modest rollback: $170 billion over ten years and $250 billion, respectively.

Does Obama Run Hot or Cold on Defense?

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