Pentagon Plans a Rarity: No More Budget Increases

Gates says they won't be necessary by 2015
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jan 6, 2011 5:57 PM CST
Defense Secretary Robert Gates, left, and Joint Chiefs Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen talk to the media about defense cuts Thursday.   (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

(Newser) – For the first time in more than a decade defined by costly wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, the Pentagon announced plans today to freeze its budget, forcing the military to shrink the Army and Marines and increase health care premiums for troops and their families. The Pentagon says it can stop asking for annual budget increases in 2015, adjusting its spending only for inflation. The last time the Pentagon's budget went down was in 1998.

The plan is aimed at helping America whittle away at its massive deficit. But the proposal, which requires $78 billion in spending cuts and relies on another $100 billion in cost-saving moves to cover urgent requirements, is tied to two assumptions: that the war in Afghanistan will end on time and that Congress will agree to plans to cancel popular job-making programs and charge retired military families more for health care. "Looking five years into the future is through a pretty cloudy crystal ball," said Robert Gates. "Any number of these decisions could be reversed."

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