Cover image for This war really matters : inside the fight for defense dollars
This war really matters : inside the fight for defense dollars
Wilson, George C., 1927-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Washington, DC : CQ Press, 2000.
Physical Description:
xiii, 239 pages ; 23 cm
General Note:
Includes index.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
UA23.6 .W55 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



Drawing on nearly 40 years of news writing focused on military issues, George C. Wilson takes the reader through a fascinating, but little understood, process: how the Pentagon and Congress spend $500,000 a minute on guns and soldiers. Interweaving personal stories and insights from the major players throughout a fast-paced narrative, Wilson provides an inside look at how the 105th Congress and the Pentagon battled for a 250 billion dollar defense budget.Wilson demystifies the &BAD:quot;realpolitik&BAD:quot; among the individual armed forces and highly partisan members of Congress, as well as civilian and military leaders, thus giving a sense of the trade-offs involved on all sides. Exclusive interviews with major players&BAD:mdash;including Secretary of Defense William S. Cohen, Rep. David R. Obey, and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Hugh H. Shelton&BAD:mdash;relate their distinctive perspectives on how Congress allocates and the Pentagon spends defense dollars.Wilson takes a look ahead&BAD:mdash;with a critical eye&BAD:mdash;to the wars of the next century and asks tough questions: Are we ready for future wars or are we still preparing for the last war, the Cold War? Does the Pentagon need more money? Or can it really do its job with less?

Author Notes

George C. Wilson is the former chief defense correspondent for the Washington Post and is a columnist for Army Times, Navy Times, and Air Force Times.

Table of Contents

Lawrence J. Korb
Forewordp. xi
Acknowledgmentsp. xiii
Introductionp. 1
Chapter Summariesp. 4
1 Firing the Opening Shotp. 11
Waiting for the Defense Reviewp. 16
Beginning the Sellp. 17
Cohen's Objectivesp. 20
2 The Cautious Blueprintp. 25
Two-War Capabilityp. 27
Congressional Reactionp. 29
Cohen's Rebuttalp. 32
QDR Detractorsp. 34
The Awkward Middle Groundp. 36
3 Looking Through the Military's End of the Telescopep. 38
Shalikashvili: "No Billy Mitchells"p. 39
Civilian-Military Conflictp. 43
Combat: The Shaping Experiencep. 45
Postscriptp. 72
4 Guns Versus Butterp. 75
"Highway King" Not Impressedp. 77
The Afterglowp. 78
Would It Last?p. 80
5 Spurning the Holy Grailp. 84
An Emerging Strategyp. 87
Obey's Explanationp. 89
Spotlighting the Joint Chiefsp. 89
6 Heating Up the Ironp. 91
In Defense of Clintonp. 92
Joint Chiefs' "Wish List": $17.5 Billion Morep. 96
7 Realpolitik Behind the Scenesp. 98
The Retention Problemp. 99
Complicating Factorsp. 102
The White House Offerp. 106
Livingston Blames, and Explains, the Processp. 108
The Upshotp. 111
8 Is There a Better Way?p. 113
Congress "No Help"p. 115
Knowledge Is Powerp. 116
Livingston's Amiable Dissentp. 117
"Impediments to Discipline"p. 119
Doubts About Missile Defensep. 126
Unresolvable Problemsp. 128
9 The Turnaroundp. 129
Pay and Retirement Problemsp. 132
Letters to Clintonp. 134
White House Meetingp. 136
Cohen Slam-dunks Onep. 137
$288.8 Billion Approvedp. 139
New "Iron Triangle"p. 141
Obey's Warningp. 141
10 Shooting the Messenger: A Case Historyp. 145
High Stakesp. 147
Furor over Privatizationp. 149
The Case for Closing Basesp. 151
Preserving the Processp. 153
The Peters Memop. 157
The Leak and Repercussionsp. 160
Epiloguep. 166
11 Peering Into the Futurep. 169
Secretary of Defense Cohenp. 169
Joint Chiefs Chairman Sheltonp. 178
Franklin Spinney, Pentagon Hereticp. 182
12 Summing Upp. 193
What I Thinkp. 194
Greider: A Kindred Soulp. 198
It Takes a Presidentp. 202
Appendixp. 205
Glossaryp. 205
The Federal Government Dollar--Where It Comes Fromp. 208
Revenue by Source--Summaryp. 209
The Federal Government Dollar--Where It Goesp. 210
Total Spending by Functionp. 213
Discretionary Spending by Agencyp. 214
Department of Defense Outlays by Service, 1945-2005p. 216
Department of Defense Manpower, 1940-2001p. 222
Military Force Trendsp. 227
Department of Defense Budget Authority by Service, 1996-2005p. 228
Department of Defense Budget Authority by Title, 1996-2005p. 228
Where Military Dollars Are Spentp. 229
Procurement Dollarsp. 231
The Pentagonp. 232
Indexp. 233