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2005 Military Programs Will Cost $1.58 trillion
DOD budget unlikely to come down
August 14, 2006

WASHINGTON, Aug. 14 (UPI) -- Pentagon spending on major programs has doubled in the last four years, although the number of weapons and other programs has increased only 13 percent.

That finding is in a new Republican Senate Budget Committee newsletter outlining the increase in defense spending since the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. The document, "Budget Bulletin," questions whether Pentagon projections of defense spending in the coming years can be trusted, and whether the current level of defense spending can be carried on.

According to the Bulletin, defense spending has increased an average of 11.1 percent each year since 2001, if war supplementals are counted in the tally. But Pentagon budget projects say spending will only increase 3.4 percent a year from 2007 to 2011. "Is that sustainable given the underlying trends in defense spending?" the July edition of the newsletter asks.

The Budget committee compared the Selected Acquisition Report from 2001 to the latest annual edition in 2005. The SAR is a quarterly report to Congress that lists new programs -- weapons or otherwise -- as well as programs that have gone over budget.

In 2001 it listed 71 major programs with $790 billion in associated research, development and procurement spending over the life of the program. By 2005, that total had increased 85 major programs with $1.58 trillion in associated spending.

Spending on personnel has increased more than 40 percent over the same period, from $84 to $121 billion a year.

And the Bulletin warns that DOD spending is unlikely to come down, even as budget pressures from Social Security and Medicare increase. Old weapon systems are being replaced with newer, more complicated and in many case less mature systems, which will translate to higher operations and maintenance costs, or at least not a decrease. Defense health care costs are exploding, and personnel costs will remain high as long as the war on terrorism is being carried out.

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