Saturday :: Dec 16, 2006

Military Budget About Half a Trillion and the Army is Broke


by soccerdad

A WSJ story noticed by Stehpen Pizzo over at the Smirking Chimp.

Yesterday the WSJ's defense correspondent, Gregg Jaffe, reported that US Army officials have told the White House they are broke. Worse than broke actually. The Army, despite its $168 billion budget, is out of money and being forced to cannibalize operations, here and in the war zone, just to keep the lights on.

Here are just a few of the grim facts from Jaffe's exclusive:

According to Maj. Gen Stephen Speakes, the Army was sent to war in Iraq $56 billion short of essential equipment.
Army officials told the White House that it needs at least an additional $24 billion, not in the 2007 budget, just to pay its current bills.
Cash shortfalls have forced the Army to lay off janitorial staff, close base swimming pools, and even stop mowing lawns on Army bases.
But cuts have also hit soldiers fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. Army officials had to cut $3 billion for replacement of weapons in heavy use in Iraq, such as armored Humvees, two-way radios, remote control surveillance aircraft and trucks.
National Guard units now lack 40% of their critical readiness gear because it's been sent to Iraq, and the Army lacks the funds to replace it.
This budget crunch comes at a time when running the US Army never cost more, Jaffe reported.

To stem the flow of soldiers leaving the Army because of repeated deployments to Iraq the Army was forced to spend $773 million on “retention bonus' this year compared with just $85 million three years ago.

The Army had to spend an additional $300 million on recruiting this year than in 2003. The quality of the Army's oft touted all volunteer force has slid with the Army's decision to accept more enlistees that scored in the lower third of aptitude tests. As a result the Army had to issue 8500 “moral waivers” this year compared with just 2260 ten years ago. (Moral waivers are issued for past criminal convictions, drug use and other proven legal/moral violations.) Here are few more facts from Jaffe's report.

The cost of equipping an infantry soldier tripled, from $7000 in 1999 to $24,000 today.
The cost of Humvee's went from $32,000 in 2001 to a breathtaking $225,000 each today.
The cost of training, feeding and housing Army recruits went from $75,000 per soldier in 2001 to $120,000 today. (The Army uses private contractors, largely Halliburton's Kellogg, Root & Brown, to provide most non-training services, such as food service and base maintenance.)

Go read the whole article.

soccerdad :: 6:31 AM :: Comments (63) :: Digg It!