Billion for the Military: Not Enough???
New York, February 6th, 2002 -- The centerpiece of the
Bush administration's Fiscal Year 2003 budget is a proposed
$48 billion increase in Pentagon spending. If the President
has his way, total budget authority for military spending
for 2003 - including military functions of the Coast
Guard and the Department of Energy -- will reach $396
billion, an $87 billion increase from the level that
prevailed when he took office in January 2001.
Clad in a leather bomber jacket, President George W.
Bush addressed Air Force personnel at Elgin Air Force
base in Florida to present his case for the huge increase,
the largest since the Reagan administration.
"Our men and women in deserve the best weapons,
the best equipment and the best training," he said
to resounding applause.
The proposed increase in military spending for 2003
alone is larger than the entire military budget of every
other country in the world except Russia, which spent
roughly $56 billion for military purposes in calendar
year 2000, the most recent year for which statistics
With the ink barely dry on the White House's hefty budget
proposal, the Pentagon is already preparing to make
its case that $48 billion is not enough money. General
Richard Myers, chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff, addressed
Congress on Tuesday to call for spending of more than
$100 billion a year "for several years," in
order to replace aging fighter planes and other big
Bush made the argument that we need new military spending
for new threats and a new security environment, saying,
"it is very clear that the defense budget is cheap
when one compares it to putting our security at risk,
our lives at risk, our country at risk, our freedoms
"The President's rhetoric ignores the fact that
this new military spending spree has little to do with
fighting the war on terrorism," asserts William
D. Hartung, a Senior Research Fellow at the World Policy
than one-third of the $68 billion in weapons procurement
funding in the Pentagon's latest budget proposal is
set aside to pay for big ticket Cold War systems ranging
from three new fighter plane programs, to costly destroyers
and attack submarines, to the 70-ton Crusader artillery
None of these systems are necessary to carry
out the President's war on terrorism.
The Pentagon budget
proposal is great news for Boeing, Lockheed Martin,
and United Defense, but it's a colossal waste of taxpayer
money at a time when our national leadership should
be setting clear priorities."
The combination of large tax cuts, the largest military
spending increase in twenty years, and a doubling of
the budget for homeland defense will force major cutbacks
in environmental protection, job training, energy conservation
programs, and other government initiatives designed
to promote sustainable economic growth.
"A strong economy is the foundation of our
strength as a nation," says Hartung.
"Throwing money at the Pentagon while slashing
funds for economic development and international diplomacy
will undermine our security, not enhance it."
William D. Hartung, 212-229-5808 ext. 106
Frida Berrigan, 212-229-5808 ext. 112 - fax 212.229.5579