A military spending reform advocacy group has outlined an interesting but depressing trend of U.S. force numbers having declined over the past decade while $1 trillion seemingly evaporated to no effect.
As reported today by the Center for Defense Information, the analysis by the Project on Defense Alternatives looked at Pentagon spending over the period 1998-2010. It detailed, of course, the unsurprising appropriations by Congress of more than $1.1 trillion for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. But not counting the war spending, the Pentagon also went through another $1 trillion for expenses described as “base” and “non-war,” over and above the 1998 military budget baseline of $361 billion annually.
While that “beyond base” $1 trillion was dissolving, the Navy and Air Force shrunk and the Army grew by a mere three combat brigade equivalents. What’s more, the services overall have older, not newer, equipment. The report pins the blame for this deepening mess on the government’s continuous failure to reform the military to eliminate wasteful spending and bureaucracy.
In terms that I can understand, and which may describe the issue from the view of a typical taxpayer, I’d feel like I’d been ripped off if I traded in a 2010 Mustang for a 2007 Fusion and paid quadruple for the pleasure. The only ones making bank are the fat guys sitting around in the dealership.