The First Military Budgets of Barack Obama: Change in Continuity

According to the draft submitted on 1 February 2010 by Robert Gates, the military budget of the United States is expected to exceed 700 billion dollars for fiscal year 2011. Despite this impressive figure, the first two budgets presented by the Obama administration marked a clear break with those of George W. Bush, and show a real commitment to curb financial excesses of several major weapons programs, previously considered untouchable. However, it seems that this comeback to financial orthodoxy has been possible only through an under-estimation of certain expenses, and deferred necessary investments. Moreover, Barack Obama must reckon with the inertia and cohesion of a military-industrial complex well decided to defend its positions and reinforced by the climate of permanent war that was installed since 2001. In this context, it is unrealistic to expect a shift of the critical path of military spending in the United States.