Stimson in the News

Stimson study is cited in Huffington Post on the administration’s OCO proposal in DoD budget

in Program

Get Rid of the Pentagon’s Slush Fund

President Obama and Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel are to be commended for their recent proposal to keep the FY2015 Pentagon budget within the caps
established in law. This exercise in reality-based budgeting is a
refreshing change from the practice of the past few years, when both the
administration and Congress have put forward budgets far in excess of
the limits they themselves established, and then acted shocked when
those proposals went nowhere. It’s always better to plan for the funds
you are likely to have than to spin fantasies about what you would do if you magically had more.

Unfortunately,
there is a danger that the Obama plan will be one step forward, two
steps back. It was accompanied by a number of troubling efforts to do
an end run around the budget caps outside the confines of the Pentagon’s
regular budget. The first was the “Opportunity, Growth and Security Initiative”
which included a $26-billion wish list composed by the Pentagon and the
military services. A number of key members of Congress have declared
this fund dead on arrival because it depends on raising new revenues,
something Republicans in Congress have stubbornly resisted for the past
several years.

-snip-

One argument that will be made in favor of keeping contingency funding
high will be the need to “reset the force” after years of war. But the
dirty little secret is that much of this “reset” spending has been
authorized along the way. A 2011 Stimson Center study
demonstrated that the Pentagon has spent over $1 trillion on
procurement since 2001. The Navy and Air Force have hit all of their
targets for major modernization programs that they set out at the
beginning of the 2000s, and the Army consists of thousands of new and/or
newly upgraded vehicles, resulting in a “fully modernized force.” So if
there are to be “reset” funds, they should be narrowly targeted, not
used to fund new schemes that have nothing to do with what happened in
Afghanistan and Iraq.

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