Health Care Pressures Defense Budget
Think tank says rising military health care costs will hamper modernization plans.
—Marc V. Schanz
August 17, 2009—While President Obama’s $668 billion defense budget request for Fiscal 2010 reflects a historic high level of funding, there are implications beyond the future years defense plan since increased personnel costs, particularly for health care, will begin to crowd out other areas of the budget, suggests a new analysis by the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments.
In Fiscal 2010, health care accounts for about $47 billion of the defense request and, at its current rate of growth, is on track to nearly double every 10 years, Todd Harrison, CSBA fellow, told journalists during an Aug. 12 briefing in Washington, D.C., on the think tank’s newly issued analysis.
This will create pressure on the Pentagon to scale back some modernization plans or force structure increases, if defense funding levels remain constant in the coming years except for keeping up with inflation, as the Administration has indicated will occur, he said.
Increasing the end strength of the Army and Marine Corps, expected to cost about $14 billion per year, will also place similar pressures on the budget, Harrison said.
(CSBA’s budget analysis.)
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