Defense Spending Headed Down

That’s what defense industry insider and analyst Loren Thompson says. It’s hard to imagine that given the country’s ugly fiscal situation, annual defense outlays of $700 billion will continue. Thompson peruses the 2010 QDR and finds another reason why defense spending will turn south: lack of an urgent threat sufficient to focus lawmakers and taxpayers.

The QDR speaks in very vague terms of an “uncertain” security environment throwing terrorism, a rising China, globalization and weapons proliferation into the mix. Thompson pulls this quote: "Rising demand for resources, rapid urbanization of littoral regions, the effects of climate change, the emergence of new strains of disease, and profound cultural and demographic tensions in several regions are just some of the trends whose complex interplay may spark or exacerbate future conflicts."

That’s not going to be enough:

“It sounds like Pentagon policymakers are stretching to find a justification for generating nearly half of all global military outlays, and therefore have thrown in every negative trend they can think of. The end result is a diverse menagerie of disconnected concerns that lacks the urgency or focus necessary to sustain a coherent military posture.”

His conclusion: “We're headed down, and "Exhibit A" in the case for why less defense spending is likely is our inability to find a threat that really scares the average voter.”

-- Greg

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