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The Bush Administration has requested $518.3 billion to cover the peacetime costs of the Department of Defense (DoD) in fiscal year (FY) 2009. In addition to this funding in DoD’s “base” budget, the request includes $70 billion to cover costs associated with the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan (what the Bush Administration calls the Global War on Terror, or GWOT). Taken together, under the new plan DoD is projected to receive some $588.3 billion in FY 2009.The administration’s FY 2009 request also includes $22.8 billion for Department of Energy and other non-DoD defense activities. Thus, altogether, the FY 2009 request includes $611.1 billion for National Defense. The request for DoD’s base budget (i.e., the budget exclusive of war costs) amounts to a nominal increase of about 7.5 percent from the level of funding approved by Congress for FY 2008. In real (inflation-adjusted) terms, the increase would be some 5 percent (estimates of real change included in this analysis were derived using the GDP deflator).1 This would bring the DoD base budget to its highest level ever, in real terms. The total request for DoD (i.e., the base budget plus war funding) is slightly (about 1 percent) higher in real terms than the budget approved by Congress for 2008. It is below the level provided for FY 2007. However, as the administration acknowledges, its $70 billion request for war funding represents only a down-payment on next year’s war costs. It is possible (perhaps even likely) that when the administration eventually amends its request to include full-year funding for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan the total defense budget for FY 2009 will end up exceeding both the 2007 and 2008 defense budgets. This would make it the largest defense budget since the end of World War II. Even without such an amendment, the total request for 2009 would surpass the peak years of the Korean and Vietnam Wars by, respectively, some $145 billion and $215 billion dollars (in fiscal year 2009 dollars).
for 2009, defense is likely to account for under 5 percent of GDP