The Rising Cost of Defense

Professor of Politics Daniel Wirls,
at the University of California Santa Cruz, joined us for
a discussion on escalating defense
costs. From 2000 to 2008 defense spending increased over 70
percent,excluding the more than $500 billion
separately appropriated since 2002 to cover the cost of the wars in
Iraq and Afghanistan. Since 9-11, the US has undertaken one of the
largest increases in military spending in the country’s history. US
forces are
engaged in protracted conflicts, and
DOD plans to expand ground force end strength to meet the current rate
of
deployments. However, budget
projections accounting for rising weapons acquisition along with
operational
and support costs threaten to outpace even current budget allocations.
Moreover, some analysts suggest that major cuts in
modernization programs and/or reductions in force structure are
required to
make long term defense plans affordable. What factors are driving the
underlying escalation of defense costs? What are the long term budget
implications of current defense plans? Will the DOD continue to rely on
supplemental funding to finance operations and procurement? What
defense
budgeting choices lie ahead for the next administration?

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