For All the Rhetoric, the New Pentagon Budget is No Revolution in Defense Spending
By Daniel Luban and Ali Gharib, IPS News.
Washington, Apr 6 (IPS) -- Secretary of Defense Robert Gates unveiled the U.S.'s much-anticipated new military budget Monday, which aims to reorient the armed forces toward irregular and counterinsurgency warfare while proposing cuts in several major weapons programs.
The budget is viewed as a major step in the ongoing debate within the U.S. military about whether to focus primarily on conventional warfare against other states or on counterinsurgency operations against non-state actors.
But it is also likely to engender pushback from lawmakers and defense- industry interests who are unhappy about cutbacks in lucrative weapons programs.
The changes proposed by the new budget -- while significant -- are far from marking a fundamental reshaping of the U.S. defense establishment, some defence analysts caution.
"They're calling it a fundamental shift and that's both true and false," said Miriam Pemberton, a research fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies. "It's true because their budget proposes the most ambitious set of cuts to well- entrenched weapons systems since the early 1990s."
"It's false, though, because this budget perpetuates the upward trajectory of defense spending, it's higher than any of the Bush budgets that preceded it, and it increases funding for some programs that I think are a mistake," Pemberton continued.
The $534 million budget for fiscal year 2010 -- which does not take into account the "emergency supplemental" appropriations that pay for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan -- marks a slight increase over the Bush administration's budget for the previous year.
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