Pentagon Seeking More Weapons Spending: Afghanistan Costs Will Eclipse Iraq
Budget was originally presented as abandoning wasteful weapons spending, seeks increase.
When aspects of the Pentagon 2010 budget were released last months, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates emphasized that it was a “fundamental overhaul” of the budget, and said it shifted spending priorities from wasteful, high-priced weapons programs in favor of fighting against insurgencies.
Yet now that the budget has been unveiled, one of the most striking aspects is that it actually seeks a 5.6% spending increase for weapons procurement, >>>
With US military commitments to Afghanistan forever on the rise, and the president still tenatively planning to slash the Iraq force by August of next year, budget documents from the Pentagon suggest that the costs of the war in Afghanistan will eclipse the war in Iraq in 2010.
Of the $130 billion the Obama Administration is seeking in its 2010 budget for overseas missions, $65 billion is allocated for Afghanistan and only $61 billion for Iraq. >>>
The Pentagon wants to spend just over $50 billion on classified programs next year, newly-released Defense Department budget documents reveal. “That’s the largest-ever sum,” according to Aviation Week’s Bill Sweetman, a longtime black-budget seer — a three percent increase over last year’s total.
It makes the Pentagon’s secret operations, including the intelligence budgets nested inside, “roughly equal in magnitude to the entire defense budgets of the UK, France or Japan,” Sweetman adds. All in all, about seven and a half percent of the Defense Department’s total spending is now classified.
Black-world weapons-buying “remains dominated by the single line item,” according to Sweetman. (You can find it under the Air Force’s “other procurement” section, on page F-21 here.) “This year’s number stands just above $16 billion. In inflation-adjusted terms, that’s 240 per cent more than it was ten years ago.”
Many of the secret budgets still remain clandestine, however. In the research budget, the line item for a “Special Program”of the super-secret National Security Agency is a string of zeros. Same goes for an NSA “Cyber Security Initiative” kitty. And don’t even ask about NSA’s “Intelligence Support to Information Operations” account. That’s a blank slate, too. >>>