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Budgets | Heavy Bombers | Issues - Political | Lobbying | Scandals & Investigations

US Defense Budget Guide: Breakdowns, Dodges and Tricks

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(click to view full) Winslow T. Wheeler is the Director of the Straus Military Reform Project of the Center for Defense Information in Washington. He spent 31 years on national security issues for US Senators, from both parties, and the GAO. In this series, he begins “Part I: How Big is the Defense Budget?” by explaining the basics of the FY 2006 defense budget (q.v. DID coverage): some aspects of basic composition, the disagreement over its true size, etc. In “Part II: You’ll Need a Rosetta Stone,” he goes on to address its major categories (with amounts) – and the various sorts of budget games that showcase illusory “savings” or otherwise mislead. What’s Title IX? What’s the difference between peacetime budgets and “emergency” spending? Why are “unobligated balances” and “Cost avoidance” cited as “mega-gimmicks”? What does he mean by “The mayhem in General Provisions”? How do you add up to $12 billion in pork projects, while simultaneously reducing the apparent total of the bill by the $4.4 billion advertised by the Senate Appropriations Committee? Winslow has been there, done that, and seen it up close. Now you can, too.

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