The U.S. Defense Budget: Get Real, Pentagon

Defense News editorial, 16 May 2011.


There is an old Washington saying that no money is less real than out-year money. This means that anything that is beyond the immediate spending bill is purely notional.

Requirement control is a popular method of limiting the costs of new weapons, but it’s equally important to control the growing number of missions.

The first step should be to ensure the roles-and-missions review ordered by Obama slashes unnecessary and costly redundancies in capabilities.

Second, the Pentagon must avoid doing what it did – portraying soft numbers as hard ones that do little other than expose it to criticism.

Lastly, to make wise cuts, the Pentagon must improve its internal financial management processes to pinpoint what it’s spending and how. Without hard data, it’s hard to come up with hard savings.

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