Introduction:WASTE IN THE PENTAGONS BUDGETMany in Congress and the Department of Defense (DoD) argue that there is not a penny to spare in the Pentagons budget and that the military is right on the edge of having insufficient capacity to meet the security threats to this country. There are many expensive and unnecessary weapons systems initiated to fight the Cold War that drag on due to bureaucracy at a cost of billions of dollars annually to Americans. In addition to these wasteful purchases, a review of the present military budget shows massive waste in other areas, including: Corporate subsidies to defense contractors of nearly $10 billion annually. An antiquated and poorly administered accounting system resulting in tens of billions of excess purchases, excess inventories, and unnecessary spending by the DoD. Projects inserted into the defense budget by lawmakers intent on securing reelection from special interest lobbyists.Excerpt taken from http://www.fas.orgUS Military SpendingOver the last decade, our defense budget has only decreased to a third of what it was during the Cold War. During the height of the Cold War our defense budget was over $400 billion annually in current dollars. Our current Budget for FY 2000 is just a mere $290.6 billion. Last week the Joint Chiefs had attempted to make amends with congressional leaders regarding the DoD budget, stating that our readiness has been brought to that of pre-World War II era. Essay:As the 21st century begins the United States faces an uncertain security environment. The threat of global war remains distant with the downfall of the Soviet Union, and an end to Communism in Eastern Europe. The U.S. economy continues to thrive, relationships with key allies, such as NATO partners, Japan, South Korea, and others are strong and continuing to adapt successfully to meet today s challenges. Former adversaries like Russia and other former members of the Warsaw Pact, now cooperate with the United States across a range of security issues. Many in the world see the United States as a Global Police Force. This is evident in our continued presence in such hotspots as the Demilitarized Zone bordering North and South Korea, the strictly enforced No-Fly Zones in Iraq, and our continued peace keeping efforts in the Balkans.Current Security ChallengesDespite these developments in the international environment, the world is still a complex and dangerous place. While there is great uncertainty about how the United States will face significant security challenges in the coming years. It can be noted that there is no longer the fear of attack from any major Superpower. Our primary concern now is the threat of an attack from any number of rogue nations, nations that may not have the manpower, or military to lead a full-fledged attack on the United States. Some of the types of threats that still threaten world peace are described within the next few pages.Cross Border ConflictsSome nations will continue to threaten the territorial sovereignty of other nations in regions critical to our national interests. In Iraq, Saddam Hussein continues to pose a threat to his neighbors and to the free flow of oil from the region. North Korea still poses a highly unpredictable threat in spite of its dire economic and humanitarian conditions. Other states could be aggressors as well. In East Asia, for example, sovereignty issues and several territorial disputes remain potential sources of conflict. Many instances of cross border aggression will be small in scale, in the coming years it is entirely possible that more than one regional power will have both the motivation and the means to pose a military threat to U.S. interests.Conflict Within a NationPolitical violence other than cross border violence can also threaten U.S. interests. This includes civil wars, internal aggression (i.e. by a state against its own people or by one ethnic group against another. Such as the ethnic cleansing brought on by Slobodan Milosevic) armed uprisings, and civil disturbances. These events can threaten U.S. interests because they may spread beyond the individuals involved, bring intervention by outside powers, affect U.S. economic interests, or put at risk the safety and well being of American citizens in the region. Even when important U.S. interests such as oil, or the safety of American Citizens in the region are not threatened, the United States has a humanitarian interest in protecting the safety, well being, and freedom of the people affected. This is one of our primary reasons for acting as the prime peacekeeping force in the Balkans.
Dangerous Military TechnologiesThe development, manufacture and use of advanced weapons and technologies with military or terrorist uses, including nuclear, chemical, or biological weapons (NBC) and their means of deployment will continue despite the best efforts of the international community to halt such instances. The manufacture and use of these weapons and technologies could directly threaten the United States, destabilize other regions of national interest, and increase the number of potential adversaries with significant military capabilities, including smaller states and parties hostile to the United States and our allies. The increasing spread of military technologies also raises the potential for countermeasures to U.S. capabilities, as enemies could attempt to use these weapons and technologies to destabilize or current overwhelming military capability.What is of particular concern is the growing threat of a ballistic missile attack on the United States. The threat of missile attack, which was once thought to be remote, is growing significantly as rogue nations such as North Korea and Iran seek to develop and export long range ballistic missile capabilities. Although the number of ballistic missiles of such nations capable of reaching U.S. soil is well under the tens of thousands that the Soviet Union possessed at the height of the cold war, the threat of just one reaching the United States is still there. Moreover, the possibility of an unauthorized or accidental launch from Russia or the Peoples Republic of China remains a real concern; it has become overwhelmingly less likely. Multinational ThreatsThe vast range of nations or individuals that can affect U.S. and global security and the stability will likely grow in its capability and number. Increasingly capable and violent terrorists, Osama Bin Laden for example, have directly threatened the lives of American citizens and their institutions and will seek to undermine U.S. policies and alliances. Terrorist attacks, such as the bombings of the U.S. Embassies in East Africa or the Trade Center bombing in New York will be directed not only against U.S. citizens and allies abroad but also against U.S. territory. The means employed by terrorists could include conventional attacks, information warfare, or even NBC weapons. These attacks can be done independently or with the backing of their respectable nation (possibly in response to conventional conflict with the United States elsewhere in the world) and will be increasingly sophisticated in propaganda, and political operations. Illegal drug trade, piracy, international organized crime and activities aimed at denying U.S. access to vital energy supplies and key strategic resources will serve to undermine the legitimacy of friendly governments. This may also disrupt key regions vital to national interest, sea-lanes, trade routes, and threaten the safety and well being of U.S. citizens at home and abroad.Humanitarian ReliefHumanitarian crises can also affect U.S. interests and has been vital in the funding of our military. Failed governments, floods, famines, hurricanes, and other disasters will continue to occur, at times requiring the unique capabilities of U.S. military forces and those of the United Nations to provide stability, disaster relief, and other forms of emergency assistance.