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(Gallup)

Wordwise

“Modest reforms to pay and compensation will improve readiness and modernization. It will help keep our all-volunteer force sustainable and strong. Keeping faith also means investing sufficient resources so that we can uphold our sacred obligations to defend the nation and to send our sons and daughters to war with only the best training, leadership and equipment. We can’t shrink from our obligations to one another. The stakes are too high.”

Gen. Martin E. Dempsey

Tuesday
Mar232010

FY 2011 Budget Request May Represent a Turning Point for Homeland Security

The events of September 11, 2001 dramatically altered the national mindset and produced a massive increase in policy attention and funding for what is collectively referred to as “homeland security.” As calculated by OMB, total federal spending for this mission doubled in one year, from $20.6 billion in FY 2002 to $41.3 billion in FY 2003, and has increased regularly ever since, reaching $70.8 billion in FY 2010.

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Monday
Mar222010

Replacing Dinars for Dollars: Iraq’s Security Forces and Oil Sharing Law

Military force does not solve political problems. It’s the first principle of modern war, but that hasn’t stopped Congress and the Administration from trying to buy a military solution to Iraq’s political problem.

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Thursday
Mar182010

The Navy’s Perennial Conundrum: Cost Overruns Interfere with Fleet Sizing

The campaign for a 313 ship battle fleet is one of Washington’s classic, bipartisan perennials – as is the failure to actually follow through. Whether we will ever reach this goal remains uncertain, in part, because ship cost overruns continually accelerate beyond each year’s funding.

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Wednesday
Mar172010

A Muddled Message: US Public Diplomacy Faces Roadblocks

Picture a working class family living on the outskirts of Karachi. They’ve never traveled to Islamabad, much less outside of Pakistan, and all they know about the United States is what they hear from family, friends, and the Urdu-language media. All of these sources are very critical and resentful of U.S. foreign policy throughout the region. Members of this family have seen a few U.S.-produced television shows and the occasional Hollywood movie but never actually met an American.

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Tuesday
Mar162010

Funding the Fight Against Nuclear Terrorism

This year, in the State of the Union address, the President restated his four year objective and received a bipartisan standing ovation – rare for that event. He then submitted a budget for 2011 that was $320 million over the FY10 budget for this agenda and forecast growth in the coming years for key programs run by the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA). But is this more robust budget adequate to meet the President’s objective?

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Monday
Mar152010

Gates Battles Nominal 'Requirements'

Each year Congress requests lists from the military services of their ‘unfunded requirements.’ These lists itemize purchases that the services want but which the Secretary chose to exclude from the defense budget request. This peculiar ritual and its results highlight the recent victories and struggles in defense spending.

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Wednesday
Mar102010

PRTs in Afghanistan: More for Less?

The Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) concept has been both a source of policy inspiration and controversy – inspiration because of the way that U.S. diplomats, aid workers, and service-members adapted to circumstances in Iraq and Afghanistan, and controversy because of the teams’ ad hoc and near-term approach to operations.

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Tuesday
Mar092010

Peace-Building Training: An Imperative for U.S. Diplomats

The State Department stands at the center of peace-building in the U.S. Government. That is because diplomacy is at its core about conflict prevention, conflict resolution, and most post-conflict reconstruction.

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Thursday
Mar042010

Assessing the QDR and 2011 defense budget

The new Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR) and the fiscal year 2011 defense budget request have arrived. Unfortunately, they miss the mark: The QDR vastly expands the military's missions, and the budget responds in kind by expanding for the fourteenth consecutive year.

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Thursday
Mar042010

US funds the Short-Term in Yemen

Since the December 25th airliner bombing attempt and the Fort Hood shooting, US officials have become increasingly worried about the al-Qaeda affiliates operating within Yemen’s borders.

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Wednesday
Mar032010

Task Force on Unified Security Budget presents on FY10 spending and FY11 freeze

Yesterday marked the congressional roll-out of the FY10 Report of the Task Force on a Unified National Security Budget. Originally released in November 2009, this is the sixth in a series of annual reports.

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Monday
Mar012010

Hidden Debt in DOD Estimates for Future Spending

The Defense Department’s FY2011 budget request projects spending in 2012 and beyond for operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. The number - $50 billion per year – is eye-catching because it falls so starkly below the FY2011 request of $159 billion.

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Friday
Feb262010

Buying National Security: The Lopsided Toolkit

By Gordon Adams, Cindy Williams, Rebecca Williams and Trice Kabundi


There is a large, growing, and increasingly troubling imbalance between the civilian and military capabilities that support US international engagement.[1] The military tool in the US toolkit has become, in many ways, the “leading edge” of American statecraft.[2] This has had the consequence of eroding the civilian foreign policy agencies, while it has added missions to the overburdened military.  The size of the military, its budget, and its overseas footprint are all substantially larger than the US civilian foreign policy agencies, as the data below shows.

  • The defense budget is nearly 13 times bigger than all US civilian foreign policy budgets combined.  For Fiscal Year 2010, Congress has provided $636.3 billion for defense and $50.6 billion for diplomacy and foreign assistance.  Although the diplomacy and foreign assistance budget has grown faster since 9/11 than defense, this growth has not significantly changed this fiscal imbalance.[3]
  • The Defense Department (DOD) has the largest overseas presence of any federal agency, including the State Department and US Agency for International Development (USAID).  In November 2008, for every 1 USAID employee deployed overseas, there were 23 State Department employees deployed and 600 military/civilian personnel deployed overseas from DOD.[4] Increasingly US interests are represented by someone in uniform or working for the military, as contrasted with a diplomat or foreign assistance provider.
  • The overseas footprint of DOD is significantly larger than that of the civilian agencies. In November 2008, for every 1 USAID overseas mission, there were 3 embassies/consular posts, and 9 military bases.
  • A symbol of the imbalance between DOD and State − in 2008, DOD spent roughly $16 billion on fuel.  That is more than the entire cost of running the State Department, which was $13.5 billion.[5]

DOD has also significantly expanded its own portfolio of security assistance, foreign assistance, and public diplomacy activities. The US government provides security assistance to foreign countries, training and equipping foreign militaries and security personnel (including police).  Historically, and according to statute, these programs have been established and funded by the State Department, as part of the broader US overseas engagement strategy.  State and USAID are also the principal providers of foreign assistance. State is responsible for US public diplomacy programs.

  • DOD’s share of overall US security assistance has grown from 6 percent in 2002 to 51 percent in 2009.[6] This includes major training and equipment programs for Iraq, Afghanistan, and now Pakistan, as well as a new global program for foreign military assistance.[7]
  • DOD is providing a growing share of US foreign assistance.  The OECD Development Assistance Committee, which regularly reviews members’ development assistance programs, reported that the DOD share of all US bilateral development assistance grew significantly, from 4 percent of the US total in 1998, to nearly 22 percent of the total in 2005.[8]
  • DOD’s foreign assistance spending for just three countries is growing faster than USAID’s bilateral assistance programs for the entire globe.  DOD’s foreign assistance development, governance and rule-of-law programs and projects in Iraq and Afghanistan (the CERP program) was 6 percent as large as USAID’s global, bilateral development, governance, and health assistance in FY 2004.  By FY 2008, CERP funding covering three countries (adding the Philippines) came to 49 percent of all USAID bilateral funding.  It has since declined a bit, to about 37 percent in FY 2009.[9]
  • Although strong and responsive governance is key to stability in the more dangerous parts of the world, the US spends far less promoting governance and democracy than it spends on combat missions.  Defining such programs as broadly as possible, the State Department says the total FY 2010 request for “governing justly and democratically” was $2.9 billion, or 8 percent of overall US bilateral and regional assistance.  This was just 2 percent of the $130 billion FY 2010 DOD request for Overseas Contingency Operations, which funds this year’s war costs in Iraq and Afghanistan.
  • DOD’s message risks overwhelming the civilian message the US communicates to publics in other countries through its public diplomacy programs.  While complete data on DOD “public diplomacy” spending is hard to obtain, the best available data indicate that DOD’s public diplomacy (information operations) has an FY 2010 budget of at least $626 million.  The Broadcasting Board of Governors, which oversees all US overseas broadcasting operations outside the Pentagon, had a $745 million budget request for FY 2010.[10]

 

[1]Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, warned in a Spring 2009 talk at Princeton, of the looming “militarization of US foreign policy” Secretary of Defense Robert Gates has called for strengthening US capabilities at State and USAID. The growing DOD/military role is exemplified by more than 500,000 troops deployed overseas, especially in Iraq and Afghanistan, a broad quasi-diplomatic responsibility in the hands of regional Combatant Commanders (COCOMS), and a growing DOD portfolio of security and foreign assistance authorities.

[2] Within the beltway, DOD and the military are seen as the 800 pound political and budgetary gorilla.  It is the largest federal department in terms of personnel, has the largest budget, is the most trusted government institution, and is responsible for the “kinetic” (combat-related) defense of the US.  Americans are less aware of the significant overseas presence and growing non-kinetic (outside of combat) capabilities DOD and the military have to engage overseas. This growing DOD international engagement has begun to swamp civilian diplomatic and foreign assistance capabilities.

[3] The Defense budget has grown 76 percent from FY 2002 to FY 2010.  The International Affairs budget has grown by 102 percent over that same time period.

[4] The military/civilian number would be 356, if one subtracted active duty personnel currently in Iraq, Afghanistan, and counter-terror operations.  All figures derived from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, with the exception of military personnel taken from DOD's Statistical Information Analysis Division, available at http://siadapp.dmdc.osd.mil/personnel/MILITARY/miltop.htm.

[5] The military travels on its fuel lines.  Last summer, when oil prices soared above $100 per barrel, it cost $1.8 million to fill a destroyer’s tanks.  In 2008, DOD spent roughly $16 billion on fuel alone; State Department Operations were $13.5 billion and entire International Affairs budget was $42.9 billion.

[6] These are security assistance programs funded through the Defense Department budget.  Data collected by the Stimson Center.

[7] Section 1206, DOD’s Global Train and Equip program was established in 2005.  Secretary of Defense Robert Gates has recently proposed a significant expansion of this program; see http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/12/23/AR2009122302553.html.

[8] Until the Iraq invasion, DOD played only a small role in development assistance, limited largely to humanitarian assistance.  Today, the Commander’s Emergency Response Program (CERP), originally created for Iraq and Afghanistan, provides regional combatant commanders with a source of funds that allows them to fund reconstruction and development projects in Iraq, Afghanistan, and the Philippines. CERP has become a large, uniquely DOD development program, with $1.3 billion in funding for FY 2010 alone.

[9] CERP is the Commander’s Emergency Response Program, created to provide foreign assistance in Iraq, expanded to Afghanistan, and then to the Philippines.

[10] The DOD total is an amalgamation of multiple programs in Army, Air Force, and Special Operations Command accounts, including both global and Iraq/Afghanistan information operations.  It is nearly impossible to obtain funding data for all of DOD’s overseas public affairs activities as these sums are buried within overall Operations and Maintenance budgets.

Thursday
Feb252010

DOD's Growing Health Care Crisis

Reports of all types have demonstrated the unsustainable nature of healthcare costs for the country and the taxpayer. Less well documented, but equally challenging, is the Defense Department’s unique struggle with this issue.

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Tuesday
Feb232010

Watch Senate Budget Committee hearing in streaming video

MIT's Cindy Williams, Stimson's Gordon Adams, and Retired LtGen Paul Van Riper testified today on the defense budget and war costs. Watch the testimony and Q&A session here:

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Tuesday
Feb232010

Senate Should Consider Freezing the defense budget

Today, Dr. Gordon Adams is urging the Congress to include the defense budget in the discretionary spending freeze the administration proposed in its FY 2011 budget request delivered February 1, 2010. Doing so would save the American taxpayer significant resources, since more than half of America’s discretionary spending is in the defense budget, which the administration exempted from its freeze proposal.

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Friday
Feb192010

“Trillions to Burn?” asks new Project on Defense Alternatives report

Carl Conetta at the Commonwealth Institute’s Project on Defense Alternatives has released an insightful summary of some recent reports and data on our growing defense budget. The report illustrates how the expansion of defense spending over the past decade and projected into the near future is not a simple product of America’s wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Rather, PDA’s analysis suggests that war spending accounts for only 50% of the increase since 1998, when Defense spending began its current upswing.

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Wednesday
Feb172010

FY 2011 Budget Request: Department of Defense

On February 1, 2010, President Obama released his request for the FY 2011 defense budget and the FY 2010 defense supplemental appropriation.

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Sunday
Feb142010

Joint AU/Stimson Event

Please join us for the joint AU/Stimson launch of: Buying National Security With Gordon Adams

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Thursday
Feb112010

Analysis of the FY2011 International Affairs Budget Request

The Obama Administration has requested $58.51 billion for International Affairs in its Fiscal Year 2011 (FY 2011) budget request. This request is a $6.08 billion increase, or 12 percent, over FY 2010 enacted appropriations.

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