The Army Budget, 2009
Kroesen, Frederick J., Army
The President's budget for 2009 contains a sizable increase for defense, a very welcome addition for the Army that will provide funding for all of its program objectives. It does not, however, provide funding for sustaining our wars; that is to be obtained through supplemental requests. Thus the possibility of being told to reprogram money from the basic budget may be ever present.
Unfortunately, the proposal met with negative reactions from congressional spokesmen-"Dead on arrival!" "Exorbitant demands for defense." "Refleets fraud, waste and abuse among defense industries." Portent, therefore, is for major tinkering, rewriting in accord with the views of various congressional committees and compromises by administration officials.
The Army has three major interests in the process that will ultimately determine the final figures. First is the continuity of its current programs, which include the growth of the Army-already authorized-and the refurbishing, refitting and replacing of the equipment pool while also acquiring new models and inventions, as well as pursuing new ideas. AU of this must be done while continuing to field the dominant professional force conducting combat operations and other international activities. That first priority is maintenance of an unparalleled ability to continue to wage the wars in which we are engaged.
The second interest is the continuing recognition by our citizens and our government agencies of the threats to our security. The Islamic terrorists' war against our nation is now 30 years old; it shows no sign of abating and many signs of increased capability and malignant effect, not only against us but against our friends and interests worldwide. But the threats are not limited to terrorism. The growth of peer competitors-China, a recuperating Russia, a Muslim alliance fueled by oil revenues-are all possibilities requiring full spectrum attention. There are several economic threats, including the serious potential of antagonistic governments in Latin America to disrupt our imported oil flow and the activities aimed at displacing the dollar standard in the world money market. Awareness of such threats is a continuing challenge, because underestimating threats becomes a prime reason for reducing the defense budget. …