Trump’s exercise in fantasy budgeting

At one point, there were something like 1,000 installations in Iraq and Afghanistan alone, from bases large enough to be small American towns to tiny combat outposts.  In 2015, there were at least 800 significant U.S. bases in foreign countries (and more small camps and places where U.S. military equipment was pre-positioned for future use).  No great power, not even Britain at its imperial height, had ever had such a global military “footprint,” such an “empire of bases,” and yet in this country it was as if no one noticed, as if it were of no importance at all.


Let’s start with a baseline look at the Pentagon’s finances at this moment.  At $600 billion-plus per year, the government is already spending more money on the Pentagon than it did at the peak of the massive military buildup President Ronald Reagan initiated in the 1980s.  In fact, despite what you might imagine, the Obama administration has pumped more tax dollars into the military in its two terms than did George W. Bush. According to the London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies, the U.S. currently spends four times what China does and 10 times what the Russians sink into their military. Continue reading

Obama’s final defense budget will be a huge headache for the next POTUS

There is a defense budget crisis on the horizon, but the Pentagon is hiding its head in the sand. Defense Secretary Ash Carter’s reluctance to deal with it threatens to waste billions and saddle the next president with a political time bomb before she/he even sets foot in the White House. …

According to a Jan. 27 report by budget guru Todd Harrison at the centrist Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), many of the new weapon systems the Pentagon plans to build will reach their peak funding requirements at the same time, around 2022. This is known in defense jargon as a modernization “bow wave” and, given budget caps and limited resources, there will not be enough money to pay for it. Continue reading

Extra F-35s and F/A-18s in US Budget 2016

The $1.15 trillion spending package would fund the government in Fiscal 2016 if passed by both chambers of Congress. It includes $572.7 billion for defence, of which $111 billion procures new hardware and $69.8 funds research and development.

If passed, the spending deal would bless the F-35 programme with $1.33 billion in additional procurement money for an extra three F-35As, six F-35Bs and two F-35Cs, just as production ramps up in Fort Worth, Texas.
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Military investment is still a significant global problem

http://www.paxchristi.net/news/world-military-expenditure-2014-military-investment-still-significant-global-problem/4467

On this Global Day of Action on Military Spending, 13 April 2015, Pax Christi International expresses deep concern about the scandal of excessive military spending in a world where human and ecological well-being are in dire need of investment. Figures recently published by SIPRI, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, estimate world military expenditures in real terms for 2014 at roughly $ 1.8 trillion, a significant increase from the already shocking $ 1.75 trillion spent in 2013.
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5% Digest (Week 23/03/15)

Gregory D. Johnsen wrote a detailed account of the rise of Huthis in Yemen. Adam Baron argued that the power struggle is primarily local and foreign intervention will be a very bad idea.

But what is abundantly clear at the moment is that this remains, by and large, an internal Yemeni political conflict—one that, despite frequent sectarian mischaracterizations and potential regional implications, remains deeply rooted in local Yemeni issues.

And if history is a guide, foreign intervention will only stand to exacerbate the situation. Ironically, talk now centers on a potential Saudi Arabian and Egyptian military intervention in Yemen, a scenario that immediately brought to mind the memory of North Yemen’s 1960s Civil War which saw both sides intervene—albeit on different sides—in a matter which only appeared to draw the conflict out further. This is not to say that there isn’t a place for foreign powers to aid Yemeni factions in negotiating some new political settlement. But any nation that aims to make Yemen’s fight their own is more than likely to come out on the losing side.

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5% Digest (week 09/03/15)

British MPs voted in favour of keeping defence spending at 2% of GDP. Just 40 MPs voted and the result carries no legal force.

Rory Stewart, Conservative MP for Penrith and the Border and chairman of the defence select committee, warned MPs that Britain could not continue to rely on the military might of America and be a “freeloader”. “This 2% is needed because the threats are real. The world is genuinely getting more dangerous,” he said.

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