Defense Budget

Must Read Author: Scott Rasmussen

The U.S. defense budget has grown to inordinate levels, and the American public isn't happy about it. Scott Rasmussen sets out proposals on how to create a leaner military spending strategy that is more efficient and satisfies the desires of the voters.

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CRS: A Historical Perspective on "Hollow Forces"

Authors: Andrew Feickert and Stephen Daggett

This Congressional Research Service report describes the potential pitfalls of improperly managed defense budget cuts by recalling the notion of the "hollow force" in U.S. military history--a superficially battle-ready military force that, upon closer inspection, reveals itself to be inadequately prepared.

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CRS: The Cost of Iraq, Afghanistan, and Other Global War on Terror Operations Since 9/11

Author: Amy Belasco

Amy Belasco of the Congressional Research Service explains the estimated allocation for funds authorized by the enactment of the sixth FY2011 Continuing Resolution through March 18, 2011 and breaks down several cost components of the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, and the War on Terror.

See more in Middle East and North Africa; United States; Defense Budget; Wars and Warfare

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CSIS: Trends in European Defense Spending, 2001-2006

Authors: Wan-Jung Chao, Gregory Sanders, and Guy Ben-Ari

Since 2001, Europe finds itself increasingly involved in international military operations. In light of this upsurge in military preparations and deployments, the Center for Strategic & International Studies created this report to track trends in European defense spending. Ultimately, if government spending is an indicator of the priority given to policy areas, understanding trends in defense spending can shed light on whether Europe is indeed serious about improving its military capabilities.

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National Journal: Al Qaeda Strikes Back

Author: George C. Wilson

Writing in the National Journal, defense specialist George C Wilson considers two key defense budget documents – the “National Defense Estimates,” known to Department of Defense (DOD) budget analysts as “the Greenbook,” and the “Selected Acquisition Reports,” the DOD-released estimates of past and future weapons costs – to conclude that the US government is spending more money in real terms on the Iraq war than was spent on the Vietnam war, despite the deployed military force being only one quarter the size of that used in Vietnam.

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ArmyTimes: Limited Transparency on the Costs of the Global War on Terror

Author: William Matthews

The US Army Times reports comments from the acting Pentagon inspector general, that army spending on contractors is out of control: speaking before the Senate Armed Services subcommittee on readiness the inspector said that procurement laws are routinely violated, "price reasonableness," competitive awards and contractor oversight are abandoned, and millions of dollars are wasted.

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CQ: White House Line on War Cost Called Too Low

This analysis in the Congressional Quarterly points out that three independent assessments place the cost of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, plus anti-terrorism activities, at amounts in excess of the Bush administration’s figures. The difference ranges from $16 billion in the estimate of the Government Accountability Office to $18 billion in the view of the Congressional Budget Office to $23 billion in the estimate of the Congressional Research Service.

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Washington Institute: Iran's Doctrine of Asymmetric Naval Warfare

Author: Fariborz Haghshenass

This Washington Institute paper outlines how for more than a decade, Iran has lavished a considerable share of its defense budget on its naval forces (which consist of both regular and Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps units), believing that the Persian Gulf will be its front line in the event of a confrontation with the United States. Following a naval war-fighting doctrine that suits its revolutionary ethos, Iran has developed innovative, asymmetric naval warfare tactics that exploit its favorable geographic situation, build on its strengths, and target the vulnerabilities of its enemies.

See more in Iran; Defense Strategy; Defense Budget