Panetta Releases DoD “Austerity” Budget: Pentagon Retains Most of post-1998 Increase

from the Project on Defense Alternatives, 26 January 2012

The future-years Pentagon base budget plan released by Secretary Panetta on 26 January 2012 foresees rolling spending back to the level of 2008, corrected for inflation.  Spending on the non-war part of the budget during the next five years (2013-2017) will be about 4% lower than during the past five (2008-2012) in real terms.  The real (that is, “inflation corrected”) change from 2012 will be a reduction of 3.2%

The chart below corrects for inflation by rendering all sums in 2012 dollars.  It shows that base-budget spending had jumped 55% after inflation between 1998 and 2010.  The new budget plan sets 2013 spending at $525 billion, which is 46% above the 1998 level.

The new budget plan – represented by the green trend line — stands in stark contrast to the reductions mandated by the Budget Control Act under the provisions for sequestration (represented by the red trend line).  Sequestration would roll Pentagon base-budget spending back to the level of 2004, which would still be 31% above the 1998 level (corrected for inflation).  The new budget plan and sequestration do have one thing in common: both would keep Pentagon spending above the inflation-adjusted average for the Cold War years (represented by the horizontal dash line).


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