The Public Interest

Reexamining the military budget

Charles L. Schultze

Winter 1970

OVER the next several years, the Executive and the Congress will face a series of basic decisions on military programs and weapons systems the outcome of which will largely determine not only the nation’s security and its military posture, but also the resources available to meet urgent domestic needs. It will be most unfortunate if these decisions are made piecemeal, without reference to their effect on nonmilitary goals and priorities. Moreover, in any one year the decisions on military programs— and, in fact, on many elements of the civilian budget—cast long, and usually wedge-shaped shadows into the future. Their cost in the initial budget year are often only a small fraction of the costs incurred in succeeding years.

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