• U.S.

Defensive Maneuvers

2 minute read
Mitch Frank

THE BUDGET Bush will boost spending 10% next year, but it’s not enough to pay for competing priorities.

THE SAVINGS $16.4 Billion Rumsfeld hoped he could gain extra money by trimming 5% of current costs, shrinking a military still geared for cold war battles.


ON TROOPS The bulk of Bush’s defense increases so far has gone to pay for his campaign promise to improve conditions for personnel and keep them from fleeing to the private sector. He’s raising salaries 5% and increasing funding for housing, medical benefits and support facilities like gyms and day-care centers.

ON WEAPONRY Rumsfeld hopes to build the fighting forces of tomorrow, but the brass want more of the weapons of today. After years of lean budgets, they want hardware now. The Pentagon finalized a contract last week for 10 F-22 fighters. And the Army wants to update the M-1 tank. But Bush’s budget doesn’t provide much new money.

ON RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT Bush has proposed a $1.4 billion increase for missile-defense research, but the program will need billions more in coming years. And Rumsfeld’s vision of a modern military will require money for smaller, faster vehicles; unmanned drone planes; a mobile, giant cannon; killer satellites. Without a public clamor for big defense budgets, those dollars may never appear.

WHAT’S ON THE BLOCK Rumsfeld backed away from forced cuts last week, but his generals may still have to part with some cherished possessions.

AIRCRAFT CARRIERS Rumsfeld’s strategic planners think the current carriers are slow, easy targets. The 21st century may demand smaller, faster ships. He’d like to eliminate one of the Navy’s 12 carrier groups–6,000 sailors, five support ships, 80 planes. The Navy is trying to avoid that scenario.

FIGHTER SQUADRONS Short-range fighters may not be as useful in 15 years. Rumsfeld has his eye on cutting three of the Air Force’s 61 squadrons–70 planes and 1,000 people.

ARMY DIVISIONS Rumsfeld debated dismantling one of the Army’s 10 active-duty divisions–15,000 troops. He’s shifting U.S. focus to Asia; a huge presence in Europe isn’t needed.

–By Mitch Frank

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