It finally looks like the Pentagon isn’t immune to Washington’s deficit-reduction fever. The U.S. military intends to trim up to $100 billion over the next five years on weapons purchases and spending on contractors, the Washington Post reported. That’s only a dent in the approximately $750 billion in our annual military spending, and it’s well below the $1 trillion over the next decade the panel commissioned by Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) called for, but it could be a sign that a sacred cow isn’t off-limits any more. The government should channel money saved by scrapping bad contracts and unnecessary weapons systems into non-military security work, such as diplomacy, argued Miriam Pemberton, in her recent OtherWords op-ed. “Every year we spend about $14 on our military forces for every dollar we spend to engage the world by non-military means,” she wrote. Today, she said: “It is important to note: this in NOT what Gates has in mind for the savings. He means to plow them back into other war fighting accounts.” This New York Times article explains that point. Pemberton, together with Lawrence Korb, chairs the Task Force on a Unified Security Budget for the United States.

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