What he finds is a mismatch between the goals of the military and the needs. He also tallies up a staggering expenditure of $439 billion plus $21.8 billion for Dept of Energy nuclear weapons needs or Homeland Security...in addition to the money being spend in Iraq, Afghanistan and around the world. A base increase of 27% since 9/11 and more in adjusted dollars than Reagan spent fighting the Cold War and what Johnson spent fighting North Vietnam.
Overall Isenberg estimates that the defense budget may come out to over half a trillion dollars this year.
Some key points made by Isenberg:
- Conventional weapon systems continue to be funded and the move towards a smaller, lighter, faster military has been abandoned.
- Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan continue to be funded from supplemental appropriations and not from the regular military budget. - In a global war where we have no air to air combat the military still pushes for high tech weapons like the F-22, a fighter that may suck money out of more mundane budget items. - Special Operations troops, the backbone of counterterrorism operations will only increase by 1500 operators. - The military gets 44% of its recruits from rural areas, lowering its standards and using cash bonuses to recruit and retain soldiers. Even contacting 78,000 retired soldiers to entice them to reenlist. - The procurement system is abused by congressmen, contractors and waste and systemic flaws. - In a war that needs smart people with boots on the ground, defense money is going to complicated equipment that require even greater support and bureaucracy.
Overall the military is paying for more complex traditional warfare toys without investing in the troops needed to operate and support them. The entire focus on fighting terrorists and insurgents has been ignored as the Pentagon funds more and more expensive weapons platforms, ships, subs and exotic aircraft. A must read.