Despite Afghan exit, Pentagon proposes $80 billion dollar war budget

chuck hagel

US Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel – AFP

Source: Voice of Russia (Lauren Murphy)

A nearly $80 billion dollar budget has been proposed by the Pentagon for the 2015 fiscal year. This would be only a slight decrease in funding from the Pentagon’s current budget even though most troops will be pulled out of Afghanistan by the end of 2014.

Chuck Cushman, Senior Fellow with the Government Affairs Institute at Georgetown University called the number a “place holder” because of the negotiations that are still going on between the Afghan government and the US government over how may US troops may remain in the country. Cushman said he predicts that nothing major will happen on this issue until late April, when Afghanistan holds its next presidential elections, because President Hamid Karzai has “all but said he won’t sign anything as long as he is in office.”

Cushman said lobbying “plays a huge role” in the defense budget. He said cuts means less business for those companies, who are watching the legislation very closely. “Members of congress love to hear this kind of lobbying because it plays right into their desire to protect jobs at home in their districts. They all have to run for reelection in the fall so anything they can use as a sign that they are trying to protect jobs makes them look better for the voters back at home.”

He added that “the defense industry has known for the last couple of years that a draw down is coming, and they want to make it as small as possible.”

Cushman said “current affairs around the world,” and “the sudden increase in tensions is making the effort to cut the defense budget very difficult to sell to Congress.”

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