Obama Trims Wasteful Spending on Defense Budget
By John J. Kruzel
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Feb. 1, 2010 Though the Defense Department is exempt from a proposed federal spending freeze, President Barack Obama said wasteful defense spending has been trimmed from the $3.83 trillion fiscal 2011 budget he submitted to Congress today.
Discussing the budget proposal at the White House, Obama said his push for a three-year discretionary federal spending freeze to begin next year doesn’t apply to U.S. national security program funding.
“I also want to note, even though the Department of Defense is exempt from the budget freeze, it's not exempt from budget common sense,” Obama said in a news conference today. “It's not exempt from looking for savings.”
An example of the fat trimmed from the defense budget is congressional funding for additional C-17 transport aircraft. The department reached its goal of 180 aircraft four years ago, Obama said. Yet, he noted, Congress has provided unrequested funding for more C-17s in each subsequent fiscal year.
“We saved money by eliminating unnecessary defense programs that do nothing to keep us safe,” Obama said of the $2.5 billion dollars saved by eliminating the excess funding. “Every year since, Congress has provided unrequested money for more C-17s that the Pentagon doesn't want or need. It's waste, pure and simple.”
Obama’s remarks today about the federal spending freeze reiterate the policy he first announced last week during his State of the Union speech to a joint session of Congress. In both appearances he also emphasized that his budget proposal includes funding for support of the nation’s military veterans.
The president’s budget also provides funding to support military families. First Lady Michelle Obama discussed budget details here last week in a discussion with military spouses at Bolling Air Force Base. The budget calls for a record $8.8 billion for military family support programs and also will include a 1.4 percent basic military pay raise and an average 4.2 percent housing allowance increase.