News / USA

    Obama Seeks Major Cuts in Defense Budget, Still World’s Largest

    US Defense Secretary Robert Gates, February 14, 2011
    US Defense Secretary Robert Gates, February 14, 2011
    Al Pessin

    President Barack Obama’s U.S. budget proposal includes $671 billion for the defense department - a cut from the current year, but still by far the largest military budget in the world.  

    The U.S. military is fighting a war in Afghanistan and has nearly 50,000 troops in Iraq.  But the wars are a relatively small and decreasing part of the defense budget.  In the fiscal year starting in October, the president wants $118 billion for the two missions - $41 billion less than the current year and well under 20 percent of the total request.  The overall proposed defense budget is five percent smaller than the current year, and more than 10 percent less than Pentagon officials had wanted for this year.

    Big budget categories include salaries and benefits for America’s 2.3 million men and women in uniform, money to care for the wounded and funding for expensive, high-technology equipment.  Key planned purchases include more unmanned aircraft for surveillance and attack, more and better helicopters for missions ranging from counterterrorism to disaster relief and a new long-range bomber.  The Pentagon also plans to spend $25 billion dollars for navy shipbuilding and $1.3 billion to improve the U.S. military’s cyber security.

    There is also money for priority programs like missile defense in the Pacific and Europe, a new submarine for launching ballistic missiles and the modernization of the U.S. nuclear arsenal.  The Pentagon also wants to spend $12 billion for research that officials say will sustain the U.S. military's "technological superiority.”  Funds will also be set aside to help foreign militaries fight terrorism, to continue to build the new Afghan security forces and to finish the transition in Iraq to local security responsibility.

    Presenting the figures on Monday, Defense Secretary Robert Gates put the proposed budget it in the context of a two-year-old effort to improve the department’s efficiency, while modernizing the force and preparing it to fight and win conflicts ranging from today’s counterinsurgencies to potential future, high-technology conventional and cyber wars.

    "In all these budget requests, if enacted by Congress, we’ll continue our efforts to reform the way the department does business, fund modernization programs needed to prepare for future conflicts, reaffirm and strengthen the nation’s commitment to care for the all-volunteer force, including training and support, and ensure that our troops and commanders on the front lines have the resources and support they need to accomplish their mission," said Secretary Gates.

    The defense budget includes the cancellation or reduction of several programs Gates says are unnecessary or over-priced.  Among the programs being cut are a new amphibious vehicle for the Marine Corps and a surface-to-air missile the Army wanted.  And Gates pledged to end the program to develop an alternate engine for the new U.S. fighter jet, which some members of Congress support.

    Anticipating that the mood in Congress to cut spending will continue in order to reduce the huge U.S. government budget deficit, defense department planners project a further cut of $50 billion in 2013, and only modest growth after that to keep up with expected inflation.  

    But at Monday’s briefing, Secretary Gates was highly critical of some members of Congress who want to make immediate and sharp cuts in defense spending, including reductions that would take affect during the current fiscal year, which is nearly half over.

    “I’m concerned that the debate over the defense budget in recent days and weeks is becoming increasingly distant from strategic and operational reality, distant, in other words, from the real world," he said.

    Gates said his department faces a “crisis” if it is forced to operate on $23 billion less this year, as some in Congress want.  He said a $9 billion cut would be acceptable, but not more.   

    You May Like

    Video Russia's Expat Community Shrinking

    Russia's troubled economy, tensions with West have led hundreds of thousands of foreigners to leave for better opportunities

    Accelerating the Push Against Islamic State: What Will Work?

    Experts stress need to step up military action, address root causes of Muslims' disaffection, counter IS social media messages in a massive way

    Experts: N. Korean Abductions Sought to Halt Brain Drain

    Pyongyang abducted about 3,800 South Koreans and more than a dozen Japanese nationals in late 1970s

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibiti
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 05, 2016 4:30 PM
    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video Former Drug CEO Martin Shkreli Angers US Lawmakers

    A former U.S. pharmaceutical business executive has angered lawmakers by refusing to explain why he raised the price of a life-saving pill by 5,000 percent. Martin Shkreli was removed from a congressional hearing on Thursday after citing his Fifth Amendment right to stay silent. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Super Bowl TV Commercials are Super Business for Advertisers

    The Super Bowl, the championship clash between the two top teams in American Football, is the most-watched sporting event of the year, and advertisers are lining up and paying big bucks to get their commercials on the air. In fact, the TV commercials during the Super Bowl have become one of the most anticipated and popular features of the event. VOA's Brian Allen has a sneak peek of what you can expect to see when the big game goes to commercial break, and the real entertainment begins.
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Solar Innovation Provides Cheap, Clean Energy to Kenya Residents

    In Kenya, a company called M-Kopa Solar is providing clean energy to more than 300,000 homes across East Africa by allowing customers to "pay-as-you-go" via their cell phones. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from Kangemi, customers pay a small deposit for a solar unit and then pay less than a dollar a day to get clean energy to light up their homes or businesses.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Apprenticeships Put Americans on Path Back to Work

    Trying to get more people into the U.S. workforce, the Obama administration last year announced $175 million in grants towards apprenticeship programs. VOA White House correspondent Aru Pande went inside one training center outside of Washington that has gained national recognition for helping put people on the path to employment.
    Video

    Video New Material May Reduce Concussion Effects

    As the 2016 National Football League season reaches its summit at the Super Bowl this coming Sunday (2/7), scientists are trying to learn how to more effectively protect football players from dangerous and damaging concussions. Researchers at Cardiff and Cambridge Universities say their origami-based material may solve the problem. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Saudi Arabian Women's Sports Chip Away at Stereotypes

    Saudi Arabian female athletes say that sports are on the front line of busting traditions that quash women’s voices, both locally and internationally. In their hometown of Jeddah, a group of basketball players say that by connecting sports to health issues, they are encouraging women and girls to get out of their homes and participate in public life. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
    Video

    Video A Year Later, Fortunes Mixed for Syrians Forging New Lives in Berlin

    In April of last year, VOA followed the progress of six young Syrian refugees -- four brothers and their two friends -- as they made their way from Libya to Italy by boat, and eventually to Germany. Reporter Henry Ridgwell caught up with the refugees again in Berlin, as they struggle to forge new lives amid the turmoil of Europe's refugee crisis.
    Video

    Video Zika Virus May be Hard to Stop

    With the Zika virus spreading rapidly, the World Health Organization Monday declared Zika a global health emergency. As Alberto Pimienta reports, for many governments and experts, the worst is yet to come.