My opinion on DOD budgets

Two days ago, I rebutted the lies of an anti-defense liberal, Josh Burro, who wrote a litany of lies about defense spending, defense budgets, and DOD equipment programs. I also defended the topline DOD budget figures for FY2010 and FY2011 (planned) as necessary to protect America. I wish to comment on that a little further.

It is not possible for the DOD (given the low value of the dollar and inflation) to maintain a strong military on-the-cheap, with a microscopic defense budget, without a defense budget to the tune of at least $534 bn (in today’s dollars), i.e. 3.65% of GDP. So called “defense-on-the-cheap”, a cheap military or “providing the same defense at a lower cost” is not possible. That is a fiscal fact. Only in the alternate universe called Washington DC is “defense-on-the-cheap” possible.

Many reputable defense experts, such as John Tkacik, have estimated that the real topline figure needed by the DOD is 4% of GDP. Both of these figures are small. (During the entire Cold War except FY1948, America spent a larger amount of money on defense than 4% of GDP.)

I believe that it is ridiculous to claim that defense budgets (enacted or planned) which equal 3.65% of GDP or 3.75% of GDP are excessive.

I believe that the aggregate DOD topline budget figures for FY2010 and FY2011 ($534 bn budgeted for FY2010 and $549 planned for FY2011) are necessary.

Do I believe that every particular item in the DOD budget is necessary? No. I believe that Gulfstream-III VIP jets, the Alternative Engine Program, the VIP helicopter program, and 32 large bases are unnecessary. I believe that personnel costs and defense health program costs are way too high, and that overhead costs and bureaucracies of the DOD are too large.

But I also believe that any savings made at the DOD must be REINVESTED in the DOD. I oppose any reductions of the topline budget figure (i.e. the total size of the defense budget). I also believe that every current weapon program of the DOD, except the LCS program, is necessary.

I also believe that defense is the most important of all issues, that it is the most important task of any government, and that no government can maintain a strong defense without an appropriately-sized defense budget. Hence, I believe that defense spending must never be reduced.

The US Constitution clearly states that one of the roles of the federal government is to “provide for the common defense” and to “protect them [the states] against invasion”. It is NOT the role of the federal government to dictate school curriculums, protect unions, build bridges to nowhere and highways that states don’t want, maintain local transit systems, build useless high-speed rail lines, subsidize agriculture, provide welfare rolls to welfare bums and welfare queens, or decide which products Americans can buy.

But  – as the Constitution clearly states – the federal government IS called on to “provide for the common defense” and to “protect them [the states] against invasion”. And any failure of the federal government to execute that obligation is a violation of the Constitution.

The federal government shall not, and should not, save money on defense, its constitutional obligation.

The need for a government that could provide for the common reason was the principal reason why the federal government was created in the first place. This fact is told by the Constitution (whose preamble states that the American people ordained this Constitution “to form a more perfect Union, provide for the common defense, provide for the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty”) and the writings of James Madison (the principal author of the Constitution) and Alexander Hamilton. They explained that the Confederation (1783-1789) was inadequate, and that a federal government was needed to provide for the common defense.

Today, the federal government is doing everything EXCEPT providing for the common defense. It is neglecting its duty. Yet, Burro believes that the small budget the DOD now has, and the small budget that the DOD has requested, are big, excessive and unnecessary. I beg to differ. And the facts back me, not him.


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