In the News

Letter: Fox exaggerates

Larry Korb discusses the defense budget under the sequester.

Christine Fox, the recently departed director of the Pentagon’s office of Cost Assessment and Program Evaluation, is correct that there are no easy ways to identify savings in the defense budget [“Sequester Facts of Life: Stop Pretending Enforced Cuts Won’t Be Harmful,” Commentary, Sept. 16], but her conclusion that the cumulative effect of the Budget Control Act will be “some combination of a military that is much smaller, much less technologically advanced and much less ready than we have been accustomed to over the last 30 years” is an exaggeration for six reasons.

First, even with sequester, the defense budget will return in real dollars to the level of FY 2007, the penultimate year of the Bush administration, and remain there for the rest of the decade; I do not recall anyone complaining about the level of defense spending then. Moreover, this level is about $100 billion more than the size of the budget on 9/11.

Second, only the sequester portion of the Budget Control Act cuts defense spending. The first portion, of $486 billion, was a reduction in the projected level of defense spending — a reduction in planned increases, not a cut. Under this provision, the budget would have grown by $100 billion to $644 billion by 2021.

The above excerpt was originally published in Defense News. Click here to view the full article.

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Lawrence J. Korb

Senior Fellow