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Andrew T. Gillies is Director of Communications at the Center for Audit Quality, an affiliate of the American Institute of CPAs, in Washington, DC. Based in Washington since 2002, he has also worked in editorial and communications roles at the Investment Company Institute, the World Bank, Forbes, and Vault.com. His policy-themed writing has focused on aerospace and defense, energy and environment, transportation, and financial services.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

$488 Billion? That'll Do, For Now

Tuesday, President Bush signed into law a giant spending bill that, among other things, appropriated $488 billion for the U.S. Department of Defense for 2009. The defense spending sum fell $4 billion short of the president's budget request but represented a 6% increase over 2008 funding levels.

"Not bad," says Cord Sterling, vice president for legislative affairs with the Aerospace Industries Association (AIA), of the $488 billion. "That's a pretty good amount of money."

But pretty good needs to be a lot better, according to the AIA. The Rosslyn, Va., trade group, with a $10 million budget and 60 staffers, is pushing the industry position that the incoming administration and Congress must set defense spending at a minimum of 4% of gross domestic product, not including supplemental wartime spending bills.

The $488 billion in defense appropriations amounts to just 3.5% of U.S. GDP.

Full story at Forbes.com