Personnel Costs Bog Down U.S. Defense Budget

By Bill Sweetman
Source: Aviation Week & Space Technology
December 30, 2013

A last-minute budget agreement will relieve some pressure on the U.S. defense budget, but cannot resolve basic structural problems that have been growing since 2000. These are a result of war costs, short-sighted decisions by Congress, poor program management and the failure of all parties, over the decade, to take action that saves money in the long term.

The near-panic statements about a “hollow force” and warnings of catastrophic cutbacks belie the fact that military spending remains, in inflation-adjusted terms, at a level only seen once before since World War II, during the Reagan-era build-up. Including war funding (euphemistically termed “overseas contingency operations”), spending in the 2000s was far above Reagan-era levels.

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