Yesterday, the media buzz surrounding the failure of the supercommittee to solve the budget woes focused primarily on the Bush tax cuts and the supercommittee’s inability to agree about whether to extend the tax cuts or not. Today, I came across THIS ARTICLE from NPR discussing how further budget cuts would impact the Pentagon.
The worst-case scenario for the Pentagon is $1 trillion in cuts to the defense budget over the course of ten years. Leon Panetta is predicting dire consequences for the United States military if the defense budget is cut by that much; the Defense Secretary is claiming that the United States military would be a “paper tiger.”
However, as the NPR article observes, the United States accounts for half of the defense spending in the entire world. Maybe it’s time for some of our allies to pony up and pay their fair share of military and defense expenses.
The United States defense budget has increased by a huge amount since 9/11; in the last ten years, the United States defense budget has seen an approximate increase of $20 billion a year. Many believe that the military could now survive the cuts which would bring the spending to pre 9/11 levels.
How would the military cut the budget? It looks as if the Department of Defense is considering cutting the amount of troops in the Army and Marines. Currently, the Pentagon is talking about cutting the number of troops by as much 40,000-50,000 troops, but would potentially cut the number of troops by as much as 95,000 troops if the Defense Department were forced to take the cuts.
The possibility of cutting weapons has also been raised by military and defense experts; some think that the time is right to cut the defense budget since the United States is not as embroiled in the Middle East as it was a year ago.
Some arguments in favor for cutting the defense budget are that a leaner, meaner Pentagon could run more efficiently. If and when the United States’ economy ever recovers, the money that has been diverted from other programs in the post 9/11 era and into the military budget could be funneled back into the programs and tax cuts for the American people.
I haven’t seen the percentages of how much of the United States military budget goes to contractors and mercenary soldiers overseas, but that might be another place that Leon Panetta and his Pentagon buddies could look for cuts in military spending.