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29 Sep, 2010 21:14

US military defense cuts unlikely

A group of top Pentagon officials gathered on Capitol Hill in Washington to share their ideas on how to save money.

A plan put forward by US Defense Secretary Robert Gates calls for a cut of $100 billion in defense spending over the next five years.

Ivan Eland, a senior fellow at The Independent Institute said cuts are unlikely to take place because the defense industry is closely tied to campaign funding for politicians.

It’s a very politicized industry,” said Eland.

He explained that defense contractor’s work hard to utilize contracts in a number of US congressional districts, to ensure the jobs and their influence are spread around the country. This helps to ensure that congressional votes favor contractors because the companies are employing a number of constituencies.

I think what Gate’s is doing is trying to come up with some internal cuts so his budget doesn’t get cut anymore,” said Eland. “He is sort of immunizing himself from further cuts by coming up with what seem to be cuts but are really just moving funds around.”

The budget has actually increased over the past few years, as has the number of contractors. The Pentagon argues that contractors are needed to ensure they have the manpower and experts they require.

Eland explained that the founding of US was based on an anti -conflict, anti-intervention model. A cut to the defense budget would require a more restrained foreign policy, he said.