Current discussions of the federal budget are consumed with the prospects for a government shutdown, as is to be expected given what’s at stake.
When it comes to the Pentagon budget, officials have spoken out about the impacts of a shutdown on U.S. military operations. Under legislation working its way through Congress, the troops would still be paid, and basic operations could continue. The issuing of new contracts and the start of new programs would likely cease, but this would only become a major issue if the shutdown dragged on for a long period of time.
The best likely outcome in the short-term would be a “continuing resolution” that keeps funds flowing until November 17th, at the same levels in place for this fiscal year (which ends on September 30th).
In the midst of this budgetary chaos, there has been little discussion of the size or content of the Pentagon budget proposed for next year. At $886 billion for the Pentagon and work on nuclear warheads at the Department of Energy, spending for military purposes will be at one of the highest levels since World War II, far higher than at the peaks of the Korean or Vietnam wars or the height of the Cold War. At this rate, the Pentagon budget could hit an astonishingi $1 trillion within the next few years.
Read the full piece in Forbes.