Pentagon budget: 4 ways White House wants to change the military

Here are the top four things the new Defense budget reveals about the White House’s priorities for the US military.

2. Drones are still a big deal, but with a twist

Chris Kaufman/Appeal-Democrat/AP/File
An Airman hooks up a Global Hawk drone to a tow bar as a maintenance crew performs post flight checks at Beale Air Force Base in Yuba County, Calif., in this 2009 file photo.

The administration’s budget recommendations “favor a smaller and more capable force,” placing a premium on “rapidly deployable” troops and gear “that can defeat more technologically advanced adversaries.”

High-tech is the key phrase in this budget. Drones have been integral to the Pentagon’s military campaigns. The difference in the future, however, is that the Defense Department no longer expects that the drones will operate in uncontested airspace, as they have in Iraq and Afghanistan.

And so the Air Force “will slow the growth of its arsenal of armed, unmanned systems that, while effective against insurgents and terrorists, cannot operate in the face of enemy aircraft and modern air defenses.”

At the same time, the Pentagon is retiring the 50-year-old U2 in favor of the unmanned Global Hawk. And the much-lauded, much-criticized, most-expensive-weapon-in-US-history, the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, is still a priority for the Pentagon, which will also be putting another $1 billion into “promising next-generation jet engine technology, which we expect to produce sizable cost savings through reduced fuel consumption and lower maintenance needs.”

This new funding – in a nod to lawmakers and their pork – will in turn “ensure a robust industrial base,” Hagel added, “itself a national strategic asset.” 

2 of 4

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.