One of the unspoken assumptions of the Obama game plan for governance was that lots of money could be freed up for domestic programs if the military got out of Iraq. That plan is not working out. Not only is Secretary Gates seeking more troops than the 92,000 add that candidate Obama signed up for (even before Afghan commanders put in their request for 4-8 additional brigades), but now it turns out the services are seeking a higher level of contingency funding in 2011 than they did for 2010. According to Inside the Pentagon, the Army wants $78 billion for “overseas contingency operations” in 2011, $5 billion more it sought in 2010. With the Air Force and Navy requests also going up, defense agencies request flat and Marine Corps request down only slightly, that sure doesn’t sound like a “peace dividend.” Maybe it’s time for the White House to tell the Army to make do with the forces it already has and stop adding to the long-term deficit.
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