This past March Secretary of Defense Robert Gates announced that the spigot of increasingly large defense budgets had been turned off—as he proposed a FY2010 baseline budget of “only” $534 billion. The momentousness of that announcement, however, did not seem to match the number. While it’s true that the Joint Chiefs prepared a budget for the incoming Obama Administration calling for $584 billion in FY2010—$50 billion more than the Gates proposal and some $60 billion more than the Bush Administration had projected for that year—last year’s budget had been $518 billion, $16 billion less than the proposed FY2010 baseline.
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