Today, Defense Secretary Robert Gates will formally unveil the Pentagon’s spending plan on Capitol Hill. Promising to request “the minimum level of funding we can live with,” defense officials, congressional aides, and analysts insist that the proposal “will make clear that the post-9/11 military spending spree has ended.” But the actual number tells a different story: the Pentagon’s $553 billion price tag for 2012 actually marks “the largest request ever” since World War II:
Defense Secretary Robert Gates already has revealed the Pentagon will seek $553 billion in its 2012 Pentagon budget plan — the largest request ever — and slower growth than planned over the next four years. He also has revealed proposals to end several major weapons programs, including the Marine Corps’ Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle (EFV).
That means the spending plan “will be anti-climactic in the broad sense,” according to one senior House defense aide.
Indeed, while Gates promised to cut $78 billion over five years, most of that reduction would take place in 2014 and 2015. As Center for American Progress senior fellow and President Reagan’s former assistant secretary of defense Larry Korb points out, Obama’s request is “5% higher than what the Defense Department plans to spend this year. In inflation-adjusted dollars, this figure is higher than at any time during the Bush years or during the Cold War.” In fact, the total military budget this year “comes in at a thumping $750 billion — an annual tax of more than $7,000 on every household in the country.” And while there are clear ways to cut $1 trillion from the Pentagon budget, it seems that many in the GOP have no intention of doing so.