Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Less Bang for the Buck

The cost of the high tech military is crippling America's defenses. From the Center for Defense Information:

It is now conventional wisdom to say that the Pentagon budget is
higher in “real” dollars than at any point since the end of World War II.
The $635 billion appropriated in fiscal year 2007 is $31 billion, or 5 percent
above the previous high water mark, which was 1952 at $604 billion. 2008
will be higher still at about $670 billion, and 2009 will likely be more

What is not conventional wisdom - but should be - is that at
today’s historic high level of spending, our military forces are smaller than
they have ever been since the end of World War II; equipment is – on average –
older than it ever has been before; and key elements of our most important
fighting forces are not fully prepared for combat.

This is a frightening trend with no end seemingly in sight. Still, there may be hope if we replace our legacy industrial age weaponry like planes, tanks, and large surface warships with new robot weapons now entering service, plus cheaper manned platforms bought off the shelf. First, though, we have to change the mindset of our politicians and military leaders still fighting the Cold War.