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Does debt deal weaken defense?

The Pentagon.
The Pentagon.
mindfrieze/Flickr (cc by-nc-nd)

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Despite the debt deal’s passage, economists don’t predict any forthcoming sign of relief for an economy wracked with rising unemployment, slumping stocks and a depressed housing market. This year, security spending was set at $689 billion. Under the new debt deal, security spending would be capped at $684 billion next year. But the United States’ involvement in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya continues with no clear end game. On one side, the total defense budget for the upcoming fiscal year is at an all-time high since World War II, and an escalating war budget could exacerbate the already-faltering economy. Still, cuts in next year’s military budget will likely be minimal, however military budget analysts say that cuts add up to over $500 billion over the next decade. What’s at stake for the military? Do the cuts make that big a difference in defense spending? Do you know someone in the military and if so do you think the cuts are significant?


William Hartung, Director of the Arms and Security Project at the Center for International Policy. He is the author of Prophets of War: Lockheed Martin and the Making of the Military-Industrial Complex

James Carafano, Director, The Heritage Foundation’s Douglas and Sarah Allison Center for Foreign Policy Studies