Defense Budget Counts on Drawdown in Iraq, Afghanistan

You won’t hear this either:

The Obama administration is counting on a sharp drawdown in troops in Iraq and Afghanistan in the coming year in order to achieve a first since the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks: a decrease in the overall level of defense spending.

All told, the president’s budget plan for the Defense Department anticipates fiscal 2012 military spending levels of around $671 billion, a drop from the previous year’s total spending request of $708 billion to fund the ongoing wars and cover the Pentagon’s core operating budget.

// more


73 thoughts on “Defense Budget Counts on Drawdown in Iraq, Afghanistan


  2. Great synopsis, BWD, but I refuse to pay Rupert Murdoch for anything. Do you know of a site that offers free access to these stories?


  3. Clinton expresses support for Iranian protesters
    (AP) – 56 minutes ago

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton has expressed support for the tens of thousands of protesters in Iran’s capital, saying they “deserve to have the same rights that they saw being played out in Egypt and are part of their own birthright.”

    Speaking to reporters after meeting House Speaker John Boehner (BAY’-nur) on Capitol Hill, Clinton says she and others in Barack Obama administration “very clearly and directly support the aspirations of the people who are in the streets” of Tehran.

    She spoke of the “hypocrisy” of the Iranian government that hailed the protests in Egypt but has tried to suppress opposition at home.

    She said there “needs to be a commitment to open up the political system, to hear the voices of the opposition and civil society.”

    Copyright © 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

  4. Pretty low of Boner, to equate what is happening around the world, to what is happening here! Lets see, what is he saying, that he wants a revolution here? Is that their next call to arms? Sickening!

  5. Pelosi Statement on President Obama’s Budget Proposal

    Washington, D.C. – Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi released the following statement today on President Obama’s budget request for fiscal year 2012:
    “Our federal budget must be a statement of our values as a nation, reflecting the best interests of the American people, and making the tough choices necessary to keep our country strong, our communities secure, and our economy growing.

    “The President’s budget takes critical steps forward toward fulfilling these goals, while helping us live within our means and reducing the deficit. We must do more to expand economic opportunities that create jobs, grow our economy, strengthen innovation, and keep America competitive.

    “Democrats stand committed to work with the President and Congressional Republicans to get our fiscal house in order, attack waste, fraud, and abuse in the budget, and invest in jobs and economic growth.”

    Read more:

  6. Stupid Palin:

    A Democratic official points out that Sarah Palin’s latest attack on the Obama administration’s budget cuts is not quite accurate.

    On Twitter, Palin writes “Here’s how minuscule the White House’s $775 million a year cuts are: less than 1/10 of 1% of this year’s budget deficit,” responding to an op-ed by Obama budget director Jacob Lew.

    But in his piece, Lew only picked three examples that added up to $775 million — rather the administration’s cuts are more in the rage of $75 billion.

    Lew even writes, “these three examples alone, of course, represent only a small fraction of the scores of cuts the president had to choose, but they reflect the tough calls he had to make.”

    Ben Smith-

  7. President Obama held a spontaneous news conference on Monday — but just for people 13 and under.

    The lucky questioners would be two students at Parkville Middle School in Baltimore, which Obama visited to talk about the budget and education. After popping into a science class, Obama addressed an assembly for a few minutes, and then apparently decided on the spot to answer some decidedly less confrontational questioners than the pack that usually follows him around.

    “Now, I think I’ll take time – I’m not supposed to do this, but I think I’ll take time for, like, two questions,” Obama said into a microphone. “So, anybody have any questions?”

    It’s been a long time since the White House press corps has heard that request from the president, even as reporters carried lists of questions about Egypt last week.

    On Friday, reporters were graced with Obama’s presence in the briefing room as he took part in the rite of sending off his first press secretary — but he was there for Robert Gibbs, not for the fourth estate. At least two reporters tried to get Obama to talk about Egypt and the fall of Hosni Mubarak. “Can we ask you about Egypt?” said one. “Anything further about Egypt?” called another as Obama walked away from them.

  8. President Obama told an assembly of middle school students on Monday that one of the things that make him “feel good” about his job is seeing the benefits of his signature domestic accomplishment, the new health care law.

    Obama told the students in Baltimore that after he signed the law, he would get letters from people who said their kids have been able to get insurance because of its new provisions. “So that makes you feel good,” he said.

    But he also noted to the children that “it was controversial, it was a lot of work, and some people still don’t like it.”

    Politico 44-

  9. President Obama stopped by an eighth-grade science classroom before walking through his budget at a school in Baltimore, where one science experiment appeared to have its desired effect.

    The experiment charted how Chesapeake Bay groundwater becomes contaminated by over-fertilized farmland. After asking where the kids “got the dirt” for their experiments, Obama apparently concluded that there was sufficient evidence of contamination.

    “Did you guys see that?” he asked. “That’s nasty.”

    As he often does with students, Obama invoked his two daughters — Sasha, 9, and Malia, 12 — while he small-talked his way around the classroom.

    “Having two daughters, one 12 and one 9, sometimes they have these buddy programs with the younger kids, and the younger kids are highly influenced but what you guys say,” Obama said.

    One student, not unwilling to comment on Obama’s looks, told the president he looked “different” than he does on TV.

    “I look better?” Obama asked, fishing for a compliment.

    “Better,” the kid responded dutifully.

    P 44-

  10. This is why I just really appreciate her leadership. She is principled yet she is not dishonest or strident. An adult. Thank you, Speaker Pelosi!

  11. A lot of the youth are leading these revolutions. John doesn’t want that here. A youth revolution here is bad news for Republicans.

  12. Just in time for Valentine’s Day…sounds like supermodel Heidi Klum has a little crush on President Obama.

    In the March issue of Lucky Magazine, Klum was asked which politician she’d take to the Council of Fashion Designers of America awards.

    Her answer? “It would be President Obama because if I can bring anyone, why not go for the top? Plus, he’s hot,” she said.

    Politico Arena-

  13. Nice statement by Hillary. The cool thing is, that as more and more countries take to the streets to overthrow oppressive regimes, the more practice Clinton, and the state department have in being supportive and speaking with one voice.

    Here’s hoping we have one of these stories every week. I read that this was also happening in Baharain.

    I hope each of these countries establishes ways for folks throughout the world to offer support for their efforts. If anyone here has suggestions, my fingers are poised to click.

  14. BREAKING – “Obama Said to Propose CFTC User Fees in $308 Million Budget Plan,” by Bloomberg’s Silla Brush: “President Obama will propose user fees as an option to help the Commodity Futures Trading Commission carry out derivatives oversight as part of a $308 million budget request for the agency, according to a person with knowledge of the budget plan. … The user fees would give Congress a set of options for fulfilling the president’s budget request for the agency. … The CFTC is currently funded through congressional spending bills, and user fees would represent an alternative source of funds.”

  15. Me thinks she does it on purpose! she is appealing to the dumb tea baggers, that do NOT know any better!
    Then, if she runs, they will probably vote for her!
    Stupid is as stupid does!

  16. A rogue Giant Planet caught by our sun:

    There’s a giant planet right here, hiding in our Solar System. One that nobody has ever seen, even while it is four times larger than Jupiter and has rings and moons orbiting it. At least, that’s what two astrophysicists say.
    The name of the planet is Tyche. The scientists are John Matese and Daniel Whitmire, from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. According to them, this colossus is hiding in the Oort Cloud–the asteroid beehive that forms the outer shell of our home system, one light-year in radius. They claim that data already captured by NASA’s Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer proves its existence. It only needs to be analyzed… over the next two years.

    Matese and Whitmire are convinced that Tyche is very real now, however. 15,000 times farther from the Sun than Earth, Tyche would be made mostly of hydrogen and helium. The titanic planet would orbit the Sun with moons and rings around it, bubbling with clouds and storm systems similar to Jupiter. It would even have a mild temperature (-73ºC/-99.4ºF) compared to the asteroids around it, which are almost near absolute zero. Whitmire says that the temperature difference is because a titan of this size takes a long time to cool off after its formation.

    Would Tyche be the 9th planet of our Solar System, after Pluto’s demise? If its existence is finally confirmed, its Solar System planet status may not be guaranteed. The reason: Astronomers theorize that Tyche could be a planet born in another star system and captured by ours. But whatever classification it gets, it’s exciting to think that there may be a new neighbor just around the corner. [The Independent]

    Original image by NASA is not a concept of Tyche–used to illustrate size.

  17. What ever will Palin do for money when her looks are gone? She certainly isn’t adored for her brains.

  18. I say she have great taste.
    Heck, I’ll have what she wants to have.
    President Obama tall, dark and YUMMY 🙂

  19. Dems embrace ‘tough-love’ budget, aim criticism at GOP spending plans
    By Mike Lillis – 02/14/11 02:22 PM ET

    House Democrats are embracing President Obama’s 2012 budget proposal despite a host of cuts to programs long-championed by party leaders.

    The White House budget blueprint, unveiled Monday, requests deep cuts to hundreds of federal programs in an effort both to rein in deficit spending and offset what the administration calls new “investments” in education, infrastructure and research.

  20. The questions from the kids were probably more insightful that any that the “reporters” were carrying around.

  21. This is great news on two levels: first, a reduction in defense spending, and second, an indication that POTUS is beyond serious about winding down Afghanistan. Thanks for the reportage.

  22. I think that she really is this limited intellectually. I think that she means it when she feels “talked down” to when people use moderate adult vocabulary and correct mistakes like “refudiate.” You’re right, though, this has a lot of appeal for people who are pretty much on her level, which is an indictment of our educational system.

  23. Also, their is this:

    (Reuters) – The United States will stop funding a multibillion-dollar U.S.-European missile defense program known as MEADS after fiscal year 2013, the Pentagon said on Monday.

    “Our partners may go forward with some MEADS, but it is not our plan to do so,” said Robert Hale, the Pentagon’s comptroller, referring to Italy and Germany.

    The Medium Extended Air Defense System, or MEADS, is manufactured by Lockheed Martin Corp in partnership with German and Italian companies. Hale said stopping funding for the program after 2013 would avoid costly termination fees.

  24. Go west, youngman, go west:

    A SAN FRANCISCO TREAT: President Obama will go to San Francisco on Thursday to meet with technology leaders, the White House announced.

    “The meeting is a part of our ongoing dialogue with the business community on how we can work together to win the future, strengthen our economy, support entrepreneurship, and get the American people back to work,” a White House official said in an e-mail to reporters. “The President and the business leaders will discuss our shared goal of promoting American innovation, and discuss his commitment to new investments in research and development, education and clean energy.”

    Obama will stick around the West on Friday as he visits Intel in Hillsboro, Ore.
    P 44-


    Defense Budget Counts on Drawdown in Iraq, Afghanistan

    The Obama administration is counting on a sharp drawdown in troops in Iraq and Afghanistan in the coming year in order to achieve a first since the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks: a decrease in the overall level of defense spending.

    WSJ’s David Wessel reports on President Obama’s proposed $3.73 trillion budget which calls for just over $1 trillion in spending cuts. Also, Apple plans to release a line of lower-priced iPhones that would compete with other smartphones on the market.

    All told, the president’s budget plan for the Defense Department anticipates fiscal 2012 military spending levels of around $671 billion, a drop from the previous year’s total spending request of $708 billion to fund the ongoing wars and cover the Pentagon’s core operating budget.

    President Barack Obama has proposed a fiscal 2012 base budget request for the Defense Department of $553 billion, slightly above the $549 billion requested last year. Because Congress has yet to pass a defense appropriations bill, the request represents an increase of $22 billion above currently appropriated levels.

    On top of that, the administration also plans to seek around $118 billion in wartime spending—referred to in Washington parlance as “overseas contingency operations”—to fund the campaigns in Afghanistan and Iraq.

    Military operations in Afghanistan are projected to cost $107 billion. In Iraq, they will cost $11 billion. The wartime-spending request is a significant drop over the previous year’s wartime-funding levels. For fiscal 2011, the administration estimated wartime costs of around $159 billion.

    “It’s crystal clear this is the high water mark for defense budgets,” said Mackenzie Eaglen, research fellow at the conservative Heritage Foundation, a Washington think tank.
    Ms. Eaglen said Congress had already put significant pressure on defense spending by funding the government under a continuing resolution, rather than passing new spending bills for the current fiscal year. And she noted that the House and Senate had already proposed trims to the administration’s defense-budget request before passing the continuing resolution, which expires March 4.
    “The political winds have shifted significantly,” she said. “Congress is showing fatigue in funding current levels in this fiscal environment.”

    Todd Harrison, a senior fellow at the nonpartisan Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, said there was a “a lot of contention around the level of government spending,” as Washington goes into deficit-reduction mode and the public grows weary of sustained military involvement overseas.

    The Defense Department “is a little bit more than half the discretionary budget,” he said. “That combined with two wars that have been going on for years now—I’d say it’s a politically challenging environment for defense spending.”
    Mr. Harrison said the anticipated drop in wartime funding depended on a continued drawdown from Iraq, and the beginning of a withdrawal from Afghanistan, scheduled to begin in midsummer if security improves sufficiently.

    A U.S.-Iraqi security agreement calls for the withdrawal of all U.S. troops in Iraq by Dec. 31, and Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki recently told The Wall Street Journal that “the last American soldier will leave Iraq” by that deadline. Publicly, senior U.S. officials have dodged the question about whether more troops would be required, repeating that there is no such request from Iraqi officials.

    Jamie Fly, executive director at the Foreign Policy Initiative, a conservative think tank, said he thought it “very possible” that the U.S. government could receive some sort of request from the Iraqi government to keep more troops to supplement a large U.S. diplomatic mission. “I am very skeptical that the State Department alone is going to be capable of handling all the duties that are required of them,” he said.
    Assumptions of a rapid exit from Afghanistan, Mr. Fly added, “are dangerous to make.”

    In early January, Mr. Gates surprised observers by announcing a plan to cut a total of $78 billion from the projected military budget in the next five years, on top of an ongoing drive to identify cost savings within the Pentagon. Mr. Gates also targeted a number of Pentagon weapons programs for outright cuts, including the Marine Corps Ex peditionary Fighting Vehicle and the Army’s Surface Launched Medium Range Air-to-Air Missile air-defense system. He also pushed back procurement of one version of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, the costliest Pentagon weapons project.

    The U.S. military is also expected to shrink. In January, Mr. Gates outlined cuts to the overall size of the Army and Marine Corps. He emphasized, however, that those troop cuts wouldn’t occur until 2015, when the Afghanistan withdrawal is expected to be well under way.

    —Julian E. Barnes contributed to this article

  26. The only things will hear from the media and GOP is (BS) it seems the only thinmg the GOP want more Tax Cuts for the Wealhiest.

    How can our country outcompete the rest of the world if our children are NOT Educated properly, the GOP want NONE of that.

  27. Why are we paying attention the the half term quiter Governor she is nuts she is laughing all the way to the Banks with her GARBAGE.

  28. Jovie – you are just a little linkmeister today. so cool. Thanks for finding all these links and sending them our way. I feel a new video coming on. “Support Obama’s Budget – these website can help”.

    Just love the way Administration has started cranking out information that bloggers, twitter, facebook and general public can use.

    Jovie – if you have any input on a video about the budget please send me a note.

  29. I’m so use to dems being against President Obama, I’m shocked at Nancy and Clyburn response.

  30. Thanks jovie. I looked up AZ and I will be passing that information on. You might find this amusing. We recently got some streets around our neighborhood resurfaced that had desperately needed the work. A very prominent sign was put up announcing that this work was financed by recovery dollars. A Repub neighbor of mine said to me recently.

    “Thank goodness the county finally fixed our roads. It’s because we have Republicans in the Statehouse.”

    I asked her to take a little ride with me, put her in my car and drove over, parked in front of the sign and asked her to read it to me.

    I told her:

    “The money to fix these roads came from President Obama and a Democratic Congress. The Republicans here had nothing to do with it.”

    She didn’t say a word. Time will tell if I made any dent in her preconceived ideas. It’s hard for me to believe that she never saw or paid attention to that sign until I took her to read it.


  31. You rock, hon. Seems like I saw one of the bills the Republicans introduced this session was to prevent signs that show Recovery money being spent from being put up.

  32. Does Sullivan not realize it’s a split Congress? Does he support the GOP House budget completely? Thinks that it too doesn’t go far enough?

    Because in reality the current Obama Budget is just the starting point in negotiations. If he would have proposed the budget Sullivan would himself write and then took that to the negotiations with the House what would happen?

    OMB Director Lew has made budgets with a split Congress before, this isn’t his first rodeo.

  33. It’s amazing that opinion people in the new and national media think that they can badger POTUS into serving as a vessel to impose their specific worldview if they merely use strident language to “force” him to understand that he’s wrong about abc. Just as we’re having to maturely face the reality that elections have consequences and thus the GOP does have influence and rather than growing spending in response to a clear economic emergency, we’re having to watch spending being cut. Just as we have to face that, ideologues and fiscal hawks need to understand that this is not a conservative in the WH, and they have to compromise as well, as there is a large segment of us in the country who believe that cuts in the context of a weak recovery are a very poor idea, and that programs which have demonstrable prowess in keeping seniors out of poverty and able to access decent healthcare must be maintained.

    I’m tired of the stridency from conservatives. They had years to stop the runaway spending which took place under Bush and which largely did not take the form of investments in this country’s future. Let’s grow the economy and then look at deficits rather than wildly slashing spending regardless of the consequences.


    If enacted, the president’s spending plan would accomplish great things. So why are liberals so upset?

    Obama has certainly given up on getting anything labeled “Keynesian stimulus” through Congress. That is for sure. But it seems to me, if you are looking for reasons to cheer, or rating the budget on pure symbolism, that you can find plenty of exciting line items worth getting hot and bothered about. The president calls for an end to oil, gas, and coal subsidies and the expiration of tax cuts for the rich. There are some painful cuts, but there is also plenty of new investment in education and infrastructure — including high speed rail and a vast expansion of broadband wireless connectivity. He also offers smart proposals to address two budget boondoggles that have long bedeviled Washington: the Medicare “doc-fix” that keeps funneling cash to doctors without designating a funding source, and the ever-present AMT tax hike that threatens more middle class Americans every year. He boost funding for homeless veterans. Et cetera.

  35. Some times I thing we could write it:

    “Lucy in the sky with diamonds…”

    and it would be ignored. People only see what they want to see I guess. Maybe we should save the money on signs and just pass out 2/4’s so we can rap people up side their heads to get their attention.

  36. Proving PBO knows that the average 12 year old is smarter and can ask better questions than the whole press corp put together.

  37. LOL. Love that 2/4 idea granny. I ‘misunderestimate’ the american intelligence. A country of many numbskulls.

    One thing I like about this budget cut that this means winding Iraq & Afghanistan. The money spent in these two stupid wars could have been better spent on buying out their people.

  38. Michelle Bachman and Joe Miller were getting these subsidies…so glad they are getting cut off.

  39. Pro-democracy uprisings, without a single intervention from a U.S. President.

    I’ve done the math, and the formula in these spontaneous uprisings, appears to be, Tunisia + Egypt + the “smart power” approach of the current White House = Change.

    Protests continue into the night in Tehran after day of confrontations – Tehran Bureau/PBS

    Iran protests are not isolated to Tehran, but area also in other major cities despite massive security presence – NBC News

    Egypt’s army leaders appoint a retired judge to head committee charged with constitutional changes – Reuters

    Egypt constitution referendum will happen within 2 months, military council members tell youth activists, Google exec Ghonim tells Reuters

    Protesters marching and chanting in Bahrain – @maryamalkhawaja

    Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad dissolves Cabinet in response to Egypt crisis – AP

    Thousands of protesters gather at Sanaa University in Yemen for fourth day – Bloomberg

    Yemen’s #Saleh postpones US trip as pressure mounts, as protests in #Yemen call for his ouster

  40. I work in a pretty Republican area, too. The Stimulus funds just fixed the road leading to our offices, and put up a HUGE sign, announcing it was courtesy of the Stimulus funds. I found great pleasure every day driving in, knowing that most people at work who are Republicans could not avoid seeing that sign.

  41. hello like minded people i have noticed the media buy in to the idea that the GOP almost always make that by them retaking the house they have a madate to reshape the country as they see it fit but there is something troubling about such cnclusion wasn’t president obama given a madate by a even larger population for 4 years to shape the country and the world as he see fit so there argument at ilogical even the fact that people are fall for such is even more pathetic at most or is there something am still missing or a link done haywire somebody please tell me am not going in sane

  42. I don’t think liberals are upset (as evidenced by the house Dems, the sane bloggers and Democrats on this site and elsewhere), it’s the fauxgressives who are riding their perpetual outrage ferris wheel.

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