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DoD 2007 Budget Proposal Matches 1995 GDP Percentage

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, March 2, 2006 – For a nation at war, spending about 4 cents out of every dollar on defense does not seem an exorbitant price to pay for security, Pentagon officials said before the Senate Budget Committee today.

Deputy Defense Secretary Gordon England said President Bush's 2007 defense budget request and supplemental request are serious money, but actually constitute a smaller percentage of the gross domestic product than in the past.

England and Navy Adm. Edmund Giambastiani, vice chairman of the Joints Chiefs of Staff, said the $439.3 billion budget request and the $50 billion supplemental request total 7 percent higher than fiscal 2006's enacted budget.

But the defense budget is not "crowding out" other fiscal needs, England told lawmakers. "If you look at it in terms of the GDP, we're actually a much smaller percentage now than we were in the past," he said. Including the supplemental request, DoD accounts for about 3.7 percent of GDP, the deputy secretary noted.

The percentage was much higher in the past. Defense spending accounted for 11 to 12 percent of GDP during the Korean War and into the late 1950s. During the Vietnam War, it was about 9 percent of the GDP. In 1972, the percentage dropped to about 7 percent and hovered around 5 percent for the rest of the 1970s.

At the height of President Ronald Reagan's defense build-up in 1986, Defense spending was pegged at 6.2 percent of gross domestic product.

This year - even with fighting a worldwide war on terrorism - the 3.7 percent figure matches the percentage of 1995, England said.

Overall, the defense budget request is a lot of money, England acknowledged. "But in terms of what the country can afford for its national defense ... it is not a huge percentage in terms of the insurance and the freedom and liberty that we enjoy with our men and women in uniform," the deputy secretary said.

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Gordon England
Adm. Edmund P. Giambastiani, USN

Related Sites:
England, Giambastiani Defend Budget in House

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