Defense Budget

Analysis Brief

Japan Also Rises

Japan's military spending is not rising nearly as quickly as that of its neighbor, China, or of its closest ally, the United States. Yet political and military moves by the Japanese are raising neighbors' wariness about a remilitarized Japan.

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Analysis Brief

Reviewing the Defenses

The Pentagon's new Quadrennial Defense Review calls for modernizing air, land, and sea forces and emphasizes a more agile approach to confronting threats posed by non-state actors. But in contrast to the previous review, the defense department is dropping the language of military transformation to concentrate on fighting its war on terrorism.

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Don’t Chop the Air Force – Look to the Reserves

Authors: Janine A. Davidson and Margaret Harrell
The Hill

Drawing on her experience as a member of the National Commission on the Structure of the Air Force, Janine Davidson argues that deep cuts to active Air Force personnel without commensurate increases in reserve unit capacity will result in the loss of valuable training investment and institutional knowledge.

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Offensive Maneuver

Author: Micah Zenko
Foreign Policy

Micah Zenko says, "Like Dick Cheney 21 years ago, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta has engaged in an exhaustive effort to avoid both sequestration and any further reductions in the Pentagon's budget. The distinction between Panetta and his predecessors, however, is in the tactics he has employed to protect his bureaucratic turf."

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Hillary Hits the Mark

Author: Leslie H. Gelb
The Daily Beast

Leslie H. Gelb argues that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's recent remarks to the Economic Club of New York should compel foreign policy experts and political leaders to face the new 21st-century reality: that gross domestic product matters more than military might.

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Ask CFR Experts

Why can’t the United States cut military spending?

The United States has cut defense spending in the past, and it is doing so again today. In 1989, for example, the Defense Department spent $295 billion; seven years later it spent $253 billion, or about 14 percent less in nominal dollars. When inflation is taken into account, defense spending dropped by more than 25 percent during the 1990s. U.S. defense spending will likely follow a similar trajectory over the next decade with the Afghanistan war ending and pressure mounting to cut government spending.

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