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Obama Presides Over Largest Ever Military Black Budget

May 11, 2009
Bill Sweetman
Aviation Week
May 9, 2009

For black-budget watchers, the FY2010 budget is a revolution. Spending on classified programs and activities is listed as such, by category. Goodbye, 0207424F Evaluation and Analysis Program. So long, 0207248F Special Evaluation Program. These long-running budget lines, with their ever-changing names, have disappeared, along with the chore of wading through the USAF’s Operational Systems Development budget, counting what is there and calculating what is missing.

In the R-1 (research and development), P-1 (procurement) and O-1 (operations) budgets for 2010, just over $50 billion is listed for classified programs, the largest-ever sum. The Pentagon’s “black” operations, including the intelligence budgets nested inside it, are roughly equal in magnitude to the entire defense budgets of the UK, France or Japan, and 10 per cent of the total.

Highlights include the US Air Force’s classified research and development budget. Earlier estimates suggested that secret projects accounted for 36 per cent of USAF R&D spending, but the FY2010 budget shows that even this startling number is on the low side. The USAF plans to spend almost $12 billion on secret programs in 2010 – more than three Joint Strike Fighter development efforts – or just about 43 per cent of its R&D.

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