It is remarkable that in this age of budget austerity, with no existential threat to the United States, the Pentagon could still spend, in real terms, more on average than it did during the George W. Bush, Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush administrations. The Defense Department has largely avoided major cuts to its budget despite the end of the war in Iraq and the beginning of the drawdown in Afghanistan. Even if sequestration goes into effect on Jan. 3, 2013, the Defense Department will spend more than $500 billion in fiscal year 2013, and more than $5 trillion over the next decade.
Despite this reality, defense hawks and contractors have been touting the supposedly “devastating” impact on defense communities, military families and defense workers all over the country. The truth is that there will be no direct impact on military families, since President Obama has exempted military personnel from the cuts. And there will be no impact on defense communities, because bases cannot be closed unless Congress establishes another Base Realignment and Closure Commission, which it has not done since 2005.This article was originally published in my SA.