Though asking for more money for defense “in the middle of a massive financial crisis is not the news most want to hear,” one analyst says most of the priorities in President Obama's $83.4 billion supplemental request “seem reassuring.”
Anthony Cordesman of the Center for Strategic and International Studies writes in a new paper on today's supplemental request that Obama had no choice but to submit a war-cost request because the “Bush administration had failed to draft a comprehensive defense budget.”
But Cordesman calls on Congress to closely review the request, particularly in the categories of equipment and force structure.
He questions the $11.6 billion requested to refurbish or replace equipment used in theater, arguing that “there still is no credible estimate of what the overall cost and procurement strategy will be to pay for the equipment lost or worn out in Iraq, and to ensure a suitable form of 'reset' for Afghanistan.”
Additionally, he says there are concerns surrounding the $9.8 billion marked for force protection, calling for a “clear path to providing an effective mix of armored vehicles to meet both current and future needs.”
Cordesman concludes that “Congress should be prepared to spend and the President seems to have all of the right priorities.”
“But,” he adds, “these are areas where the Congress, the media, and think tanks should be ruthless in questioning the quality of planning and management, and demanding transparent accounting and measures of effectiveness.”