News Release

Military Spending: How Big? How Effective?


Principal research scientist at the Security Studies Program of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Williams is editor of the books Holding the Line: U.S. Defense Alternatives for the Early 21st Century and Filling the Ranks: Transforming the U.S. Military Personnel System. She said today: “In terms of military spending, we still have not gotten out of the Cold War mindset. There has been a lot of talk about how much the world has changed, but it’s not reflected in the spending priorities.”

Director of the Arms Trade Resource Center and a senior fellow at the World Policy Institute, Hartung said: “Missile defense is the most expensive program in the Pentagon budget and President George W. Bush just requested another $10.4 billion for a program that has so far cost more than $130 billion without producing a single system capable of defending the United States from missile attacks.

“Spending on missile defense projects has doubled during the Bush presidency, from $4.2 billion in 2000 to more than $10 billion today. The last three tests of the ground-based element of the system have failed miserably. Even if it could be made to work, missile defense is of no value in fighting terrorism. Given the real holes in our national security, the billions lavished on missile defense could be much better spent on protecting U.S. ports and chemical plants, or on increased investments to lock down loose nuclear weapons and nuclear bomb-making materials in Russia and beyond.”

Senior research associate for the Arms Trade Resource Center, Berrigan said today: “The costs of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are mounting — $251 billion, with another $120 billion in ’emergency’ funding requested for this year. Meanwhile, the administration is unable or unwilling to even tally the costs of what they are now calling the ‘Long War’ — leaving that to academics and economists whose studies they attempt to discredit and dismiss.

“More than half a trillion dollars ($550 billion) is allocated for the Pentagon and the costs of war in the coming year. The Pentagon budget is the only major category of the federal budget slated for an increase. This is a huge drain of resources when one considers that even these vast sums are not providing adequate protection for U.S. troops in Iraq nor are they promoting democracy and stability throughout the world.”
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Research director of the National Priorities Project, which is releasing a report today titled “The President’s Budget: Impact on the States,” Dancs said today: “The administration’s budget request for fiscal year 2007 would increase the Department of Defense spending by nearly 7 percent, to $439.3 billion, not including spending on the wars in Iraq or Afghanistan. Another war supplemental for $70 billion is expected in the next few weeks; total spending on the Iraq war through FY2006 will reach $311 billion. At the same time, the budget request would squeeze non-security discretionary domestic spending by 4.4 percent, after taking inflation into account. The administration proposes to eliminate or significantly reduce 141 domestic programs. Yet, these budget cuts will do little to help future budget deficits with the rising cost of the Iraq war and proposals to make the 2001/2003 tax cuts permanent.” Dancs will be speaking at a news conference on the budget on Friday, 9:30 a.m., at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.
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For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167