Defense Spending and Reorganization

June 10, 1953

Report Outline
Controvers over defence spending
Steps Toward Armed Services Unification
New Plans for Defense Reorganization
Special Focus

Controvers over defence spending

Anew debate on the place of air power in the nation's defense has been set off by the cuts proposed by the Eisenhower administration in the Truman defense budget. If approved by Congress, the revised budget will hit the Air Force harder than either the Army or the Navy. Champions of air power, disturbed by lowering of the sights for Air Force expansion, have found additional cause for misgivings in President Eisenhower's designation of Adm. Radford to succeed Gen. Bradley as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Radford in 1949 led Navy opposition to the Air Force program for development of the B-36 intercontinental bomber. And a pending Defense Department reorganization plan, scheduled to go into effect June 30, promises to enhance the power of the chairman of the Joint Chiefs.

In view of strong pressure for government economy, to balance the budget and permit tax reduction, it was somewhat paradoxical that proposals for major appropriation and expenditure savings should evoke immediate protest in Congress. With defense accounting for something like 60 per cent of all federal spending, it was obvious that government income and outgo could not be balanced while that sphere of activity remained intact. The desired goal could not be reached merely by eliminating alleged waste and inefficiency in government operations. But Secretary of the Treasury Humphrey made it known on May 8, the day after the new defense estimates were submitted, that the administration had abandoned hope of balancing the budget in fiscal 1954. Knowledge that the budget could not be balanced anyway tended to remove any hesitancy that might otherwise have been felt about opposing the recommended cuts in defense outlays.

Cuts Proposed by Administration in Defense Budget

The budget sent to Congress by President Truman last January proposed new defense appropriations of $41.3 billion for the next fiscal year and estimated that defense expenditures in that period, to be met in part from funds already appropriated, would amount to $45.4 billion. The revised defense budget, as submitted by the Eisenhower administration on May 7, called for only $36.1 billion in new appropriations and lowered the expenditure estimate for fiscal 1954 to $43.2 billion. It thus envisioned an overall saving of $5.2 billion in new appropriations and of $2.2 billion in actual expenditures for defense.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Defense Spending
Nov. 03, 2017  Military Readiness
Sep. 07, 2001  Bush's Defense Policy
Jul. 30, 1999  Defense Priorities
Sep. 29, 1989  Can Defense Contractors Survive Peace?
May 17, 1985  The Defense Economy
Apr. 16, 1982  Defense Spending Debate
Oct. 10, 1980  Defense Debate
Apr. 12, 1974  Peacetime Defense Spending
Sep. 24, 1969  Future of U.S. Defense Economy
Oct. 26, 1966  Defense Spending Management
Feb. 19, 1964  Arms Cutbacks and Economic Dislocation
Jun. 10, 1953  Defense Spending and Reorganization
Jan. 18, 1950  Civil Defense
Nov. 03, 1948  Atlantic Security and American Defense
Defense Budget
Defense Technology and Force Planning