The price of the world's most expensive security blanket -- the U.S. defense budget -- is growing robustly just as Washington can least afford it, with an aging population soon demanding their promised retirement and health benefits, lawmakers and independent analysts said.
The U.S. Senate on Wednesday was poised to approve nearly $460 billion to allow the the Pentagon to pay soldiers, buy weapons and conduct research over the next 12 months.
That's up from about $335 billion when President George W. Bush took office in 2001, before the Sept. 11 attacks that year, which helped spark a surge in defense spending.
Similar legislation already has passed the U.S. House of Representatives....
But given the pressing need to deal with baby boomers, some specialists think military spending must be examined as part of a broader budget solution that focuses on massive government benefit programs and potential new taxes.
"Certainly there are areas of savings in defense," said Maya MacGuineas, president of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget. On the Pentagon, she said, "In anything that large, the way we do procurement, inefficient weapons systems, outdated weapons systems" should all be examined...
Maya MacGuineas is Director of the Fiscal Policy Program at New America Foundation. For the complete article, please visit Reuters.com.