News Release

What’s Driving the Military Budget?


Senior research associate with the Arms Trade Resource Center at the World Policy Institute, Berrigan said today: “If President Bush has his way, total military spending for 2003 will reach $396 billion, an $87 billion increase from January 2001. It would be the largest increase since the Reagan administration. But this spending spree has little to do with fighting the war on terrorism. About one-third of the $68 billion allocated for weapons procurement will pay for Cold War systems with no relevance to the current war. This includes an additional $12 billion for Joint Strike Fighter, F-22 and Super Hornet fighter plane programs. On the campaign trail, Bush repeatedly said the U.S. did not need all three systems. At a time when Americans are being asked to make hard choices in a tough economy, the Pentagon is holding onto the Cold War relics of yesterday while fighting the anti-terrorism wars of today and tomorrow. We cannot afford to have it both ways.”
More Information

Author of the cover story in the new issue of Dollars and Sense, “Return of the Iron Triangle: The New Military Buildup,” and professor of economics at California State University, Fresno, Cypher said today: “The ‘Iron Triangle’ forms the U.S. military establishment’s decision-making structure and includes its major interest groups. One side of the triangle includes the ‘civilian’ agencies that shape U.S. military policy — the Office of the President, the National Security Council, the Senate and House Armed Services Committees, and civilian intelligence agencies like the CIA and NSA. A second side includes the military institutions — the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the top brass of the Air Force, Army, Marines, and Navy, the powerful ‘proconsul’ regional commands and, in a supporting role, veterans’ organizations like the American Legion and the Veterans of Foreign Wars. At the base of the triangle are the 85,000 private firms that profit from the military contracting system, and that use their sway over millions of defense workers to push for ever-higher military budgets…. Even before September 11, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld advocated a revised military budget with a total spending increase of $52 billion. He still favored, however, reconfiguring the military along cyber-age ‘Revolution in Military Affairs’ lines, reducing military units, cutting bases, and retiring unneeded weapons systems…. Now, Rumsfeld will be able to make a down payment on the RMA, while the vested interests will see plenty of funds for the old-style ‘legacy system’ military…. Fighter-plane programs will get an incredible $400 billion in new multi-year contracts. Lockheed Martin will get $225 billion over 12 years to build nearly 3,000 Joint Strike Fighter planes for the Air Force, Marines, and Navy. According to Business Week, Lockheed also stands to make $175 billion in sales to foreign buyers over the next 25 years. Drowning in its record trade deficit, the United States desperately needs the boost to the trade balance provided by arms exports.”

For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; David Zupan, (541) 484-9167