The Pentagon budget has grown by nearly 50 percent in real dollars over the last 12 years, not including funding for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. This level of spending is unsustainable. The military share of annual appropriations has grown while the share spent on domestic and non-military international appropriations has declined over the same period. If the additional cuts triggered by deficit reduction legislation were to take effect in 2013 and those levels continued annually, the Pentagon budget in 2021 would still have more funds in real terms than it had at the Cold War’s height. Military experts and bipartisan leaders, including members of the Bowles-Simpson deficit commission, have identified ways to achieve substantial and responsible savings in the Pentagon budget, while still keeping our service men and women safe, protecting our security, and maintaining our commitments to veterans. They have recommended cuts over the next decade well beyond those enacted through spending caps.
Reducing unnecessary Pentagon spending is important to advocates concerned about meeting the needs for health care, education/training, children’s services, housing, and other services. Savings here, along with increased revenues from fair sources, should be part of a strategy to direct adequate resources towards improving economic security and opportunity for our people.
For more information on this issue, visit CHN’s Public Policy Priorities, 2015-2016.
Policy Analyses and Research
- February 21, 2013Cost of War: Sequestration, the Pentagon, and the States