Entries Tagged as 'Defense spending'

MoD spends £2bn on nuclear weapons ahead of Trident renewal decision

The Guardian
By Rob Edwards
November 27, 2011

The Ministry of Defence is spending £2bn on new nuclear weapons plants before a formal decision has been taken over whether to replace Trident warheads, according to ministers.

The revelation has prompted fierce attacks on the MoD for making “a complete mockery” of the democratic process by pre-empting a decision and so attempting to force the hands of future governments.

The ministry says the investment helps to ensure the safety of the existing Trident warheads, but accepts that the money also maintains the capability to design a new warhead “should that be required”.

Details of the MoD’s investments have been unveiled for the first time. They include a £734m facility called Mensa for dismantling and assembling of warheads, a risky but essential maintenance process; a £634m highly enriched uranium plant called Pegasus; and a £231m high explosives factory called Circinus.

The plants are being built at the Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE) sites at Aldermaston and Burghfield in Berkshire. Other facilities with similarly stellar names but smaller bills – Orion, Gemini, and Leo – are also being built as part of the AWE development plan covering 2005 to 2015. The costs of two more – Octans and Orchard – are being kept secret for commercial reasons. …

Read on: www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2011/nov/27/mod-trident-nuclear-weapons-spending

Breathtaking fraud in Afghanistan

Florida Times-Union
October 28, 2011

Corruption is part of the culture in Afghanistan, and the United States has been the great enabler.

That is the only conclusion that can be reached by an impressive report from the Commission on Wartime Contracting, the result of three years of work.

A total of $12 million every day for 10 years has been lost in fraud and waste.

In an era when the United States is facing great financial challenges, this is an outrage.

At least $31 billion has been lost in waste and fraud, perhaps as much as $60 billion. Why the great disparity? Because the financial controls are basically nonexistent. And the actual documents of the investigation have been sealed for 20 years as if this is the investigation into the assassination of a president. …

This is like doing business with Tony Soprano.

For instance, the U.S. pays Afghan contractors to provide trucking services. Then they hire subcontractors. The subcontractors then pay insurgent groups for protection because insurgents either control the roads or have the ability to attack. …


House easily passes $649 billion defense bill, boosting Pentagon budget by $17 billion

Washington Post
July 8, 2011

Money for the Pentagon and the nation’s wars in Iraq and Afghanistan is proving largely immune from the budget-cutting that’s slamming other government agencies in the rush to bring down the deficit.

On a 336-87 vote Friday, the Republican-controlled House overwhelmingly backed a $649 billion defense spending bill that boosts the Defense Department budget by $17 billion. The strong bipartisan embrace of the measure came as White House and congressional negotiators face an Aug. 2 deadline on agreeing to trillions of dollars in federal spending cuts and raising the borrowing limit so the U.S. does not default on debt payments.

While House Republican leaders agreed to slash billions from the proposed budgets for other agencies, hitting food aid for low-income women, health research, energy efficiency and much more, the military budget is the only one that would see a double-digit increase in its account beginning Oct. 1

Concerns about undermining national security, cutting military dollars at a time of war and losing defense jobs back home trumped fiscal discipline in the House. Only 12 Republicans and 75 Democrats opposed the overall bill. …

Read on: www.washingtonpost.com/politics/house-pushes-to-finish-649b-defense-bill-sends-mixed-message-on-libya/2011/07/08/gIQAE0KJ3H_story.html

US Senate moves to freeze Japan base move

By Shaun Tandon
June 18, 2011

US senators said that they have taken a major step to halt a controversial military base plan on Japan’s Okinawa island and called on the Pentagon to make a fresh assessment.

Just days before top officials from the two nations meet for talks, the Senate Armed Services Committee agreed to bar any funds to move troops from Japan to Guam and ordered a new study on Okinawa’s flashpoint Futenma base.

The language was part of an annual defense funding act approved Thursday. It needs approval from the full Senate and House of Representatives, but senators involved said that their actions on Asian bases enjoyed broad support.

Senator Carl Levin, a member of President Barack Obama’s Democratic Party who heads the committee, said that the base plan in Japan increasingly appeared unfeasible and that the United States needed to control costs. …

Read on: www.defensenews.com/story.php?i=6854537

US defense chief warns on defense spending cuts

By Phil Stewart
May 22, 2011

Obama seeks to security savings of $400 billion

Gates predicts calls to shrink US global role

Outgoing Defense Secretary Robert Gates warned on Sunday against sharply cutting the size and reach of the U.S. armed forces to trim the deficit, portraying America’s military might as an essential safeguard of global stability.

The comments by Gates to graduating students at Notre Dame University came as some Republicans and Democrats look to defense as a way to address the U.S deficit, running about $1.4 trillion this fiscal year that ends Sept. 30.

Obama announced plans in April to hold national security spending below the rate of inflation for the next 12 years, a move that would save about $400 billion, mainly from Defense Department budgets.

Gates, a holdover from the Bush administration who is leaving the post at the end of June, predicted future calls for major Pentagon cuts could challenge U.S. global leadership.

“As we make the tough choices needed to put this country’s finances in order … there will undoubtedly be calls to shrink America’s role in the world, for us to sharply reduce our international commitments and the size and capabilities of our military,” he told the audience at the Indiana university.

But Gates said a properly funded U.S. military “cannot be taken for granted.” He pointed to an unpredictable world grappling with nuclear proliferation, terrorism, revolution throughout the Middle East, as well as a nearly decade-old war in Afghanistan and U.S. efforts to end the war in Iraq. …

“But make no mistake, the ultimate guarantee against the success of aggressors, dictators, and terrorists in the 21st century, as in the 20th, is hard power — the size, strength, and global reach of the United States military,” he said. …


President Obama Allocates 10.7 Billion for Missile Defense

PR Newswire
February 17, 2011

Riki Ellison, Chairman and Founder of the Missile Defense Advocacy Alliance (MDAA), www.missiledefenseadvocacy.org, has released a statement on the release of the presidents’ 2012 budget request in regard to missile defense. Ellison is one of the top experts in the world in the field of missile defense. . His comments follow below:

“The President of the United States and the Secretary of Defense released the 2012 Department of Defense Budget Monday. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates stated in testimony to the House Armed Services Committee on Tuesday that ‘the overall budget for missile defense is going from $10.2 billion to $10.7 billion…we are putting another $500 million into it.’

“Secretary Gates further stated that:

“‘Part of the half billion dollar increase is to implement the phased adaptive array missile defense that we have agreed to in Europe, but also, frankly, to increase our ability to defend our ships and our troops against theater level threats, missile threats. Hezbollah alone has 40,000 rockets and missiles at this point including anti-ship cruise missiles that have a range of 65 miles. So we are putting more money into Aegis capable ships. We will have 41 of these by the end of 2016, 28 by the end of 2012. They defend our ships. They defend- have the potential to defend our ground troops.’

“The aggregate missile defense budget is a balance consisting of procurement funds to deploy capability to our nation’s combat commanders, along with research and development money to ensure the continuing viability and technological advancement of missile defense. Both areas of the budget are equally important as the threat continues to proliferate in numbers, accuracy and sophistication.

“The 2012 budget rightfully addresses missile defense procurement, adhering to the combat commanders’ immediate needs of defending their operating areas in the Pacific, the Middle East and European theaters. These needs will be met with the procurement of regional interceptor and sensor systems including Patriot, Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD), AN/TPY-2 radars, Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) Block IA/IB and Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) systems. …

Read on: www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/policy-public-interest-latest-news/president-obama-allocates-107-billion-for-missile-defense-116430329.html

Air Force to cut 2,300 officers from its rolls

Stars and Stripes
By Geoff Ziezulewicz
February 3, 2011

RAF MILDENHALL, England — Some Air Force officers could see themselves involuntarily out of a job by this fall under a new force management program announced Wednesday.

Despite the service implementing a multi-year program in 2010 to reduce the ranks, the Air Force still ended the fiscal year with approximately 2,300 officers more than it needed, according to an Air Force news release.

Enlisted goals have been met, and this next round of separations will affect commissioned officers, the release states.

Air Force retention is at its highest level in 16 years.

The Air Force said in March 2010 that it was looking to get rid of 5,750 people by fiscal 2012. Last March, the service had more than 335,000 airmen, well above its fiscal 2010 authorized end-strength of 331,700.

“Retention projections for fiscal years 2011 and 2012 continue to be high,” Gen. Norton A. Schwartz, the Air Force chief of staff, said in the release. “Without additional measures, we could grow to 7,000 over our authorized end strength by the end of fiscal year 2012.”

In addition to those projections, the “need to operate within our means” was another factor in the decision, he said.

As part of the plan to reduce the force, the service will introduce force-shaping boards for junior officers beginning this May.

The board will consider the 2006 to 2008 commissioned year groups in the judge advocate general, biomedical science corps and medical service corps categories. Officers not selected by the board for retention will have to separate by Oct. 1, according to the release.

A reduction-in-force board will begin in September for mid-grade officers, but eligible officers can apply for voluntary separation in March that would have them leave the force by Oct. 1. This board will consider officers commissioned from 1999 to 2005 in the line-of-the-Air Force, chaplain, JAG, biomedical science and medical service categories. Those not selected for retention will separate by Feb. 1, 2012.

“This is a difficult time,” Schwartz said in a Wednesday e-mail to airmen. “The results of last year’s reductions are no doubt affecting units and lives across our Air Force family.

“With a very talented, all-volunteer force answering our nation’s call in a variety of global commitments, it is not easy to select Airmen for early transition from the active duty force.”

In the end, the boards will retain the top 90 percent of officers within the affected categories in the eligible year groups, according to the Air Force. …


Japan to continue paying $2 billion for US troops

The Washington Post
By Mari Yamaguchi
December 14, 2010

Japan’s government agreed Tuesday to continue contributing $2.2 billion a year toward the cost of stationing American troops in the country.

Under the agreement with the United States, Japan’s share will remain at the current 188 billion yen ($2.2 billion) through March 2016. The current pact expires next March. …

The flash point in the debate is the southern island of Okinawa, where most of the nearly 100 U.S. facilities in Japan are located. The pending relocation of an unpopular U.S. Marine base on the island has strained relations between the two countries.

Japanese living near U.S. military facilities have long complained about aircraft noise and crime. …


Full cost of European missile defence could run to billions

The Telegraph
By Praveen Swami
November 24, 2010

European states will have to spend billions of pounds over the next 10 years to build a ballistic missile defence shield designed to protect the region from nuclear attack, according to Nato officials.

European and US leaders agreed, at last week’s Nato summit in Lisbon, to spend around £ 170 million on the system.

But that sum, a Nato background document says, will only meet the cost of command-and-control networks which will link future national interceptor missile and radar sites to a separate Europe-based US system designed to protect its troops.

The Pentagon’s April, 2010 acquisitions report placed the cost of a similar US system at $58.01 billion (£36 billion) – after budget constraints forced the killing-off of futuristic components like Boeing 747-mounted lasers. …

Read in full at: www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/politics/defence/8157772/Full-cost-of-European-missile-defence-could-run-to-billions.html

U.S. Deficit Panel Proposes Steep Military Cuts

Defense News
By William Matthews
November 8, 2010

Promising to “cut spending we simply can’t afford, wherever we find it,” the co-chairmen of a U.S. presidential commission propose to:

  • Reduce military weapon buying by 15 percent.
  • Cut spending on weapon research by 10 percent.
  • Close a third of U.S. military bases overseas.
  • Freeze military pay.

A 15 percent cut in current $107 billion procurement spending would be about $16 billion. And a 10 percent cut in the current $79 billion research budget would be $7.9 billion. …

The proposed cuts to procurement might be the hardest for the U.S. military, said Todd Harrison, a defense budget expert at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments in Washington.

While procurement spending has increased dramatically over the past decade, the extra money has not resulted in dramatic increases in military hardware. Instead, prices have increased substantially, Harrison said. …