ARMY navy air force MARINES

Budget Peace in our Times

by Robert Waldmann

How can it be that the US military is strained to the breaking point occupying (sorry assisting) two medium sized countries when we spend about half of total world military spending? I’m not sure this post is in the Angry Bear comfort zone, but one reason is that US elected officials have allowed the services to form a budget request cartel such that increased spending on the Army and Marines must be balanced by increased spending on the Air Force and Navy which is needed so they can protect us from the Soviet Union.

I am moved to type this by Ezra Klein’s post “Clarke on Obama” and, in particular, by a comment.

IIRC, Obama is talking about expanding the number of “men under arms” and shifting a bit from expensive metal stuff to a more “labor intensive” military.

While McCain wants more soldiers AND more expensive metal stuff.

Posted by: joe from Lowell July 18, 2008 3:41 PM

I agree with Joe from Lowell’s version of Obama that the problem is the rigid rule that :

“Until now, the Pentagon has largely divvied up the services’ shares of the defense budget the same way every year: the Army receives 24 percent, the Air Force 29 percent, and the Navy and Marines a combined 31 percent. It is a delicate balance that has kept the services from moving aggressively to raid each other’s accounts to pay for their additional needs.”

leading to absurdities like emergency borrowing by the Army

That’s no way to run a republic, it also no way to run an empire. While the candidates debate empire vs republic maybe they can also debate Army vs Navy (not the football game). No prize for guessing which side McCain will be on. This is an issue where he probably actually cares and where his likely position is clearly absurd.

The one key step is to ask former secretary of the Navy Senator Jim Webb if he is on board for the anti Navy plan before attempting take off (from the Air Force too).

update: title changed because first it appeared twice (sorry I’m not aware of all Angrybear internet traditions) and second because I just realized that the headline of the www.govexec.com article is “Rising Army, Marine Corps costs may trigger budget war.” Yep there is concern that the US military might be involved in a war, not a little dustup like that occupation fraternal assistance in Iraq but a really unacceptable intolerable inter service budget war. “Peace in our time” was Neville Chamberlain’s slogan. I say stop appeasing the Navy and Air Force (check polls in Colorado on second point).

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