Mother Jones points us to a Stimson Center study, titled What We Bought: Defense Procurement From FY01 to FY10 (PDF), (via Reader Supported News).
Procurement funding grew from $62.6B in FY01 to as much as $135.8B throughout the decade.3 In constant dollars, base procurement funding in FY10 increased by 41 percent from FY01.4 Increases also were augmented by the use of supplemental war funding. In FY02, only $1.4B was appropriated for procurement in supplemental war funding. That increased every year until $65.9B was appropriated in FY08. FY08 ended up as the high water mark, but the following three years have all seen procurement funding of about $30B included in war funding.5 In all, $232.8B or 22 percent of total procurement funding in the last decade came from supplemental war funding. Although procurement funding increased in the base budget, supplemental war funding significantly enhanced the resources available.
The Mother Jones article
says the military is hardly in dire straits when it comes to funding its big-ticket items. “The services capitalized on funding to modernize their forces, especially the major weapons programs that constitute the heart of the services’ capabilities,” writes the report’s author, Russell Rumbaugh—a retired Army officer and ex-CIA military analyst.
The study shows there’s one big reason the brass are concerned about budget-cutting discussions in Congress: They’ve been double dipping into the taxpayer’s pocket to finance weapons purchases. Of the roughly $1 trillion spent on gadgetry since 9/11, 22 percent of it came from “supplemental” war funding—annual outlays that are voted on separately from the regular defense budget. Those bills are primarily intended to keep day-to-day operations running in Iraq and Afghanistan—meaning that if a member of Congress votes against a supplemental spending bill, she exposes herself to charges that she doesn’t “support the troops” in harm’s way.
And there’s plenty to cut, thanks to McKeon and his congressional cohort. This spring, they preserved defense earmarks after vowing that they wouldn’t; voted to make more Humvees the Army doesn’t want (and reject Afghanistan base defense systems that it did); to keep an unnecessary $3 billion GE contract to build an “alternative engine” for the single-engine Joint Strike Fighter, whose costs are approaching $1 trillion; and to repatriate US victims of the 1804 Barbary War in Libya.
In their defense, they did vote to trim defense dollars by banning color copies at the Pentagon.