Budget Cuts at the Pentagon

Friday, January 06, 2012

Elisabeth Bumiller, Pentagon correspondent for The New York Times, talks about potential cuts to the U.S. defense budget and what it means for the 21st century U.S. military.

Try The New York Times budget cutting tool here.

Comments [36]

wre from NY, NY

Savings made from cutting the defense budget probably are not transferable. Lawmakers would use it as an opportunity to cut revenue (ie. taxes) rather than spend the savings on education, infrastructure etc ...

Jan. 10 2012 09:20 PM
rolly from brainerd

with all the lobbyists bribing our politicions to vote for their pet projects
will there be any money saved by our military or any other goverment project

Jan. 09 2012 04:54 PM

i'd like to hear more about the ndaa.
"Section 1021 and 1022 have been called a violation of constitutional principles and of the Bill of Rights...the legislation as allowing indefinite detention without trial [of] American terrorism suspects arrested on US soil "

Jan. 06 2012 11:03 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

AFP:"Iran is to hold fresh military exercises in and around the strategic Strait of Hormuz within weeks, the naval commander of its powerful Revolutionary Guards was quoted as saying on Friday. The manoeuvres are to be held in the Iranian calendar month that runs from January 21 to February 19, the Fars news agency quoted Ali Fadavi as saying. They will underline Iran's assertion that it has 'full control over the Strait of Hormuz area and controls all movements in it,' Fadavi added.

Jan. 06 2012 11:01 AM

Upgrading technology will NOT make the super-military more ethical. In fact, studies have shown that technology ALLOWS for the proliferation of apathetic killings. That is, killing is done more and more without oversight because the assumption is that tech has taken care of the human obligation in warfare.

Jan. 06 2012 10:58 AM

Obama killed Osama B Laden and ousted Ghadaffi?....he must be awesome...too bad about the NDAA

Jan. 06 2012 10:31 AM
John A.

Weaponry = destruction. Growth = construction. Everyone is talking growth nowadays.

Jan. 06 2012 10:31 AM
Nick from UWS

Joel's question is the only question that matters. And the Pentagon correspondent said NOTHING to answer that question, which is WHY do we need all that cr*p, year after year after year, bankrupting this country. WHO the hell is threatening us so badly that we need to maintain the most expensive military on Earth, worldwide? It's all bullsh*t. Completely corrupt.

Jan. 06 2012 10:31 AM
Jesse from NYC

This topic is relevant, and I agree that we spend way too much on our military, but I have to fact check/correct several things this guest has said.

1st, the military budget of the pentagon spending plus Iraq and Afghanistan wars does not include: 1, spending on veterans' pensions, 2, spending on interest and debt financing, 3, domestic, security, CIA, Homeland Security, 55 billion dollars in secrete classified security spending, state department security spending, etc. When you add all that up the US sends over 1.2 trillion dollars on defense.

2nd, the pentagon and wartime spending around 700 billion dollars a year is not more than ALL military spending by other countries, but it is more than many countries combined.

Jan. 06 2012 10:30 AM
chris from Brooklyn

Quick note on jobs/cuts, my understanding is that military contractors have set up manufacturing in every cong. district as a firewall against cuts.

Jan. 06 2012 10:29 AM
Samantha from bklyn

It sounds like the bulk of the cuts are going to come at the expense of soldier benefits. That is pretty shameful and I'm disappointed to hear how glib your commenter is on this point. Former soldiers have a higher rate of unemployment than the rest of the population, but your guest seems to think they are gaming the system by taking VA benefits instead of enrolling in their employers' plans. I guess her employer provides health insurance, but mine doesn't. And with such high unemployment and underemployment rates among former military is that extra $4,000 a year in medical costs going to be feasible for many former soldiers? I hate to wave the flag, but we asked these people to put their lives on the line for the country and to push them out onto the streets with less and less assistance is seriously shameful.

Jan. 06 2012 10:29 AM
Eric from B'klyn

This is an important and complex issue which I hope you will look at again.
If you add the nuclear forces, Home Security, CIA and VA hospitals [estimated to be 2-3 trillion, remember Joe Stiglitz's estimates} the military-security-intelligence complex is over a trillion a year. Chalmers Johnson maintained that the US has over 700 military bases around the world, why do we need them?

Jan. 06 2012 10:29 AM
rich k from ucnj

Martin - we can cut everything from the federal budget, and not reach a point of financial equilibrium, if we don't also cut military spending. the examples you cite, except for Medicaid, cost less than two F-35s. We can disagree where we wish to cut, but the numbers are the numbers. Advocating cuts based on a social agenda, without consideration of what would actually be saved, is a useless and cynical exercise that wastes valuable time in addressing and fixing our debt crisis.

Jan. 06 2012 10:28 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

Most Americans do not see Iran as a direct threat, and will not see Iran as a direct threat UNTIL Iran has ICBM's capable of hitting the US with nuclear weapons, and they take over the oil fields of the MIddle East, doubling and eventually trebling oil prices.

Jan. 06 2012 10:28 AM
The Truth from Becky

That's President Obama...why is it so hard to give him due respect?

Jan. 06 2012 10:27 AM

To paraphrase Barney Frank, what planet is Martin Chuzzlewit living on. Obama _is_ cutting non-military spending. In FACT, cuts are to be evenly distributed between military and non-military spending. That's quite something given that for _decades_ the military has been entirely exempt from cuts, and even now, both parties are moving to protect the military from some cuts — not so public spending.

Chuzzlewit and other conservatives on this site are a perfect example of what the Times's Joe Nocera and Paul Krugman have noted recently: If conservatives repeat a lie enough, the media and many others just start treating the lie as truth.

Jan. 06 2012 10:26 AM
Soldier's Father from Westchester, NY

Re EricF: THANK YOU! At least someone recognizes the sacrifices of the military personnel and their families, and the moral commitment of the nation to keep promises made to them in return for their years of service.

Jan. 06 2012 10:26 AM
The Truth from Becky

Much more of that defense budget needs to be allocated to decompressing soldiers when they come home to make for a smooth transition back into society. I mean have you seen some of the news reports around the Country lately?

Jan. 06 2012 10:26 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

The US never knows who its enemy is until the enemy hits us in the eyes. Nobody saw Japan as our enemy until Dec. 7th, 1941. Americans knew that Japan had invaded Manchuria and China and was carrying out atrocities, but nobody in the US, outside the beltway, would have suspected Japan as being a threat to the US, until Pearl Harbor./

Jan. 06 2012 10:25 AM
Janet from Westchester, NY

Why are we cutting health care and retirements for those who have put their lives at risk and not cutting the senators and congressmen healthcare benefits and salaries after they have been in office. What is that cost in comparison to the cost of supporting people that keep us safe.

Jan. 06 2012 10:25 AM

The miricles of contemporary battle field medicine have helped soldiers survive injuries that would have killed them in the past. That's wonderful. Those surviving soldiers can need expensive, extensive rehabilitation treatment. IMHO that's a very good problem to have, and it should be budgetted for.

Jan. 06 2012 10:25 AM
Sebastien from Philadelphia

Hi Brian
The plane that is meant to replace the Marines Osprey is what the earlier commentator brought up.
The Joint Strike Fighter or F-35 jump plane version for the Marines.
Its the biggest plane program going on after the demise of the F-22 program.

Jan. 06 2012 10:25 AM
Robert from NYC

How come I knew that about out military budget compared to the rest of the world and you didn't! It was in the news sometime within the past 3 months over and over again even on NPR.

Jan. 06 2012 10:24 AM
John from Patchogue, NY

Time after time I hear about health benefits and how they need to be cut. Why isn't anyone looking at WHY those benefits are so expensive? Wny does a CAT scan cost $1000 before a doctor even looks at the results. If health care costs are bankrupting governments and corporations, maybe the question we should ask is, "how do we fix healthcare," not who should loose benefits.

Jan. 06 2012 10:24 AM

One of the key reasons so much R&D now falls under the Pentagon's aegis is that turning things over to the Department of Defense is the only way to get the right-wing know-nothings in Congress to fund R&D.

The sheer hostility to basic research, development -- knowledge of any kind -- in the US is entirely without parallel in the industrial world. No other country is as hostile to intellectual effort as the US (except, of course, for really oppressive states, like Iran).

As Paul Krugman and others have noted, one of the US's great strengths is its knowledge industry. But Republicans and increasingly Democrats have attacked that consistently for 30 years.

Meanwhile, Republicans and Democrats alike — dead set against Keynesian economics when aimed at helping average Americans — are hardcore advocates of what Paul Krugman has called Military Keynesianism, spending money on the military because doing so "creates jobs."

If job creation or maintenance is a reason for government spending, it would be vastly (vastly) more efficient to pump that money directly into the US economy instead of indirectly through the military and grossly corrupt military contractors.

Jan. 06 2012 10:23 AM
fuva from Harlemworld

Republicans will be working this for points.

Jan. 06 2012 10:22 AM
Robert from NYC

She's dumb. All cuts are cuts and save money. THINK!

Jan. 06 2012 10:21 AM
rich k


Jan. 06 2012 10:21 AM
Robert from NYC

Why do you bring up cuts on soldier's benefits? Why do you spotlight cuts to those areas of the military budget. Why don't you discuss cuts to Lockheed Martin for planes that cost billions of dollars each? If you buy only one less plane that costs 5 billion dollars than that 5 billion dollars can go to the health benefits you talk about cutting to soldiers. What are your priorities? How do you think? The defense department budget is soooo huge and diverse that there are areas that can be cut while others left either alone or even increased somewhat by some of the monies cut elsewhere. Have minds become so encrusted with plaque that we can't think outside of the so called box!!?

Jan. 06 2012 10:18 AM

I would like to see cuts in questionable major weapon systems and foreign deployments but I'd like to see a major chunk of that money going towards taking better care of military personel. IMHO the overall budget should be cut after there are no military families who need SNAP, no reservists doing four tours, and all returning soldiers are getting the medical care they need.

Jan. 06 2012 10:18 AM
Larry from Bushwick

What about dana priest of the post who argues reduction in the redundancy of intelligence work under DOD.

Jan. 06 2012 10:18 AM
Edward from NJ

Over the past decade, a lot of DoD work has been moved to outside contractors. Has that saved money? Could you save money by in-sourcing that work back to actual DoD employees?

Jan. 06 2012 10:18 AM
Soldier's Father from Westchester, NY

How does the guest square her "all Military retirees have great jobs for defense contractors" with all the Times stories about 15%+ unemployment among veterans?

Jan. 06 2012 10:17 AM
Matt from NYC

How much can we reduce the Pentagon by reducing the development of new nuclear weapons as well as reducing the nuclear arsenal?

Jan. 06 2012 10:15 AM
Jeb from Greenpoint

Cutting the military budget isn't the same as cutting back military activities. Under the Obama administration the 'war on terror' has expanded under the radar throughout Africa and the Middle East, primarily through drone attacks. These activities are not personnel-heavy. This is the future of war.

Jan. 06 2012 10:13 AM
Martin Chuzzlewit from Manhattan

It's amazing that Obama can find billions to cut ONLY in the Department of Defense, but can't find any other cuts in his record bloated big-state deficit budget. I haven't seen any presidential news conferences to announce the elimination of a single government civilian bureaucracy or job. When does he hold those media events? Now THAT would be news.

I would rather pay taxes to employ young men and women in the armed forces under the leadership of their officers.....than pay them welfare, food stamps and Medicaid later back on the streets under the "leadership" of community activists like the former Barry Obama. Please.

Jan. 06 2012 08:36 AM

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