Originally created 05/22/01

Military funds predicted to rise



A retired Air Force major general said Monday that he expects military spending to increase under the Bush administration, even as the armed services become smaller.

"We have to get away from a Cold War mentality, and we have to rethink our strategy," said Perry M. Smith, an Augusta resident who works as a military analyst for NBC.

"The overall result will be a smaller and more agile force, but because it's smaller, you will have to be careful that you don't deploy it too much."

The services desperately need a quick infusion of cash, Mr. Smith said, because current equipment is growing old and there is insufficient money for adequate training.

U.S. military spending now equals about 3 percent of the gross national product, compared with 6.5 percent during the Reagan administration, Mr. Smith said.

"We have undercapitalized the military in the last 10 years," he said. "The services are all hurting pretty badly."

Mr. Smith also predicted that the military will become more technologically advanced, with an emphasis on space-based military devices.

More reconnaissance and intelligence satellites might be launched, eventually joined by weapons platforms capable of striking other satellites and ground targets, Mr. Smith said.

The armed forces also are likely to develop more unmanned vehicles and systems, which are capable of performing missions without humans on board, Mr. Smith said.

Reach Brandon Haddock at (706) 823-3409 or bhaddock@augustachronicle.com.