Budget crunch, Pentagon-style

Only in our neighbour to the south could you find the following two sentences side by side in a news article (Julian E. Barnes, “Gates Says Cuts Would Curb Military Capacity,” Wall Street Journal, 19 May 2011):

“The defense budget, including the cost of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, currently totals about $700 billion a year, more than double the inflation-adjusted $316 billion spent a decade ago.

“The Pentagon, Mr. Gates said, has set up a working group to review defense spending in light of the budget crunch.”

To be fair, there is at least some basis for the claim of a “crunch”. President Obama recently announced plans to reduce U.S. “security” spending by a total of some $400 billion over the next 12 years, so eventually there may well be a certain amount of cutting compared to previously planned spending levels.

How real even those “cuts” will turn out to be remains a very open question, however.

According to SIPRI, the United States currently accounts for about 43% of world military spending.

Graphic: CNN Money

Tags: Defence lobby, Defence policy, Military spending, United States, Wacky World of War