United States: Cut military spending

Following the September 11 attacks, there was a significant and sustained increase of the US military budget. The country spent not just in national security but also in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. Consequently budget becomes $700 billion (from $316 billion in 2001 to $708 billion in 2011), while defense industry profits quadrupled, reaching $25 billion on 2010.

At to the spending on homeland security, from airport security to border control, dozens of federal agencies spent $70 billion last year on programs regarding national security, representing up from $37 billion in 2003, the first year after the Department of Homeland Security was formed.

But now the country needs to slash its huge deficit and the Congress agreed last month to cut a total of $350 billion during the next ten years. And if the lawmakers fail to reach a deficit-cutting deal by November the defense budget will automatically be cut by further $500 billion during that period.

Defense Secretary Leon Paneta said[i] in a message sent to troops and civilian Pentagon employees: “As part of the nation’s efforts to get its finances in order, defense spending will be – and I believe it must be – part of the solution”.

But he warned that any “hasty” cuts could imperil national security.