Friday, 18 August 2017
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Heritage Foundation

The proposed Department of Defense budget authority for fiscal year (FY) 2010 is $534 billion--$686 billion after factoring in the costs for redeploying units from Iraq and increasing troop levels in Afghanistan. Further, the budget blueprint drastically reduces defense spending to just 3 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2019, far below the current spending levels of approximately 4 percent.

What is essentially a flat budget topline for the military in 2010, however, is really a declining defense budget: The costs of doing everything in the military--from paying people to buying new equipment--greatly outpaces inflation every year.

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Defense Secretary Robert Gates recently testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee saying, "nothing is off the table" regarding defense spending cuts to the Pentagon's Future Combat Systems (FCS) programs. Five programs within the FCS, which is the army's principle modernization procedure, account for "half the total cost growth in weapons spending," according to Gates.

These words indicate a clear policy shift chosen by the Obama administration, which may seek to end, or at the very least reduce, Bush-era defense spending. The Pentagon has already proposed a budget of $580.3 billion, prior to the election of the new President. Obama, who has expressed his desire to overhaul the federal budget, is largely expected to target defense spending.

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In the wake of controversy over private military contracting, the National Defense Authorization Act of 2008 established the Commission on Wartime Contracting to investigate the issue. The commission is expected to issue an interim report in 2009 and a final report in 2010. The commission should pro mote recommendations to improve the government's capacity to make and oversee contracts in an "expedi tionary" wartime environment, advocate a more robust and capable contracting force, and propose better doctrine and management processes for decid ing when hiring contractors to support military oper ations is most useful.

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The topic that we're trying to address is the subject of Iran and looking ahead to the next Administration, so I want to try and focus on the issues that the next Administration is going to face. But I think that neces sarily involves looking back a little bit at some of what's happened over the past several years and how we got to that point and to identify some of the things that I think the next President, whoever it turns out to be, has to address, and in a very urgent manner, because the threat posed by Iran's effort to acquire deliverable nuclear weapons capability is an urgent threat for which there's not much room for error.

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By David Hoghton-Carter, Research Associate, UK Defence Forum

Last month, the EU celebrated the tenth anniversary of the St Malo Declaration surprisingly quietly. Over on this side of the Channel, we saw a Ministerial meeting publicised by an understated MoD Press Release, as John Hutton entertained Herve Morin at Northwood; no fanfare, no parades, no interviews from enthusiastic politicos and Generals, at best the odd sidebar in national news coverage.

However, to deploy a little hyperbole, the St Malo Declaration may be thought of as the most pivotal moment in the history of European security since the promulgation of the Monroe Doctrine. It was the Zero Hour moment when the two key European

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