"For the Obama administration to exempt defense spending from its kinda-sorta-spending-freeze is a position that makes no sense from a policy perspective. None at all. From a political perspective, it only begins to make sense because a brain-dead media would amplify the braying ignorance blasted from a GOP congressional megaphone about Defense Spending Cuts OMG. And even then it doesn’t make sense. A holdover Republican Defense Secretary is now the biggest advocate of an even slightly sensible defense budget in the Obama administration."I agree completely with the point that making the DOD exempt from budgetary consideration is insane. Whether or not Defense spending is excessive is another matter - I suspect that it is but don't know enough of the programmatic details to make a rational assessment.
Glenn Greenwald has more:
"But the freeze is more notable for what it excludes than what it includes. For now, it does not include the largest domestic spending programs: Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. And all "security-related programs" are also exempted from the freeze, which means it does not apply to military spending, the intelligence budget, the Surveillance State, or foreign military aid."The inclusion of the Big Three domestic social welfare programs makes a mockery of this "freeze". This reeks to me of pure political kabuki, the thing that the Obamites were supposed to "change".
(Update 1/26: Andy makes a good point, and the previous pie chart lumped a lot of additional, perhaps defense-related but still technically not pure DOD spending together. This is from the CBO, and breaks out the DOD as a stand alone portion of the budget. It is still, you note, after Social Security, the largest individual slice. And, realistically, the VA, Homeland Security, and the "off-budget" funding for things like the NSA should be included in the DOD slice. It's not THE biggest slice...but it's a hell of a big slice.)
But on the DOD question - this is called "MilPub", after all - this reeks of Democrats running in fear of Republicans demagoging the issue of defense spending.
There is no question in my mind that the GOP will not ever make sane decisions about DOD funding - they all want the money and they all want it all (if they could zero the budgets for the Departments of Energy, Education, HHS and EPA and throw it all at another carrier air group they would, IMO). If the Dems have no stomach for it, is there any way short of Malthusian fiscal collapse to reform the defense budget and acquisition process?
Have at it.