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Friday, June 23, 2006

By the Numbers: Winslow Wheeler deconstructs the US defense budget

During his 31 years working on national security issues for members of the US Senate and the General Accounting Office, Winslow T. Wheeler was the only senate staffer to have worked simultaneously on the personal staffs of a Republican and a Democrat. In 2002 he was pressured to resign from his position with the Senate Budget Committee because of an essay he wrote, under the pen name Spartacus, criticizing Congress’s reaction to 9/11. He now directs the Straus Military Reform Project at the Center for Defense Information. In a series of "tutorials" for Defense and the National Interest, he uses his insider’s experience to explain how much the US really spends on national defense. He is the author of The Wastrels of Defense. You can read the Preface on CounterPunch.

Winslow T. Wheeler, "Defense Budget Tutorial #1: What is the Actual Size of the 2006 Defense Budget?" Defense and the National Interest, January 18, 2006.

On Dec. 21, 2005, Congress passed a defense appropriations bill, which according to the press releases of the House and Senate Appropriations Committees, and many news articles subsequently written, funded “defense spending” for the United States for the current fiscal year, 2006. The impression made by the press releases and the news articles was that the $453 billion advertised in the bill, H.R. 2863, constitutes America’s defense budget for 2006.[1] That would be quite incorrect. In fact, the total amount to be spent for the Department of Defense in 2006 is $13 billion to $63 billion more, the latter figure assuming full funding for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. If you also count, non-DOD “national defense” costs, add another $21 billion, and, if you count defense related security costs, such as homeland security, the congressional press release numbers are more than $200 billion wrong.

"Defense Budget Tutorial #2: The Smoke and Mirrors in Congress’ Defense Appropriations Bills: You’ll Need a Rosetta Stone," DNI, January 23, 2006.

"Defense Budget Tutorial #3A. Pork: Where is it?" DNI, January 30, 2006.

"Defense Budget Tutorial #3B: Pork: What is it?" DNI, January 31, 2006.

"Briefing on DOD’s QDR and 2007 Budget," DNI, February 14, 2006.

"Congress' Earmark Reform Fiasco," DNI, March 24, 2006.Recommend this Post

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