Every year, tens of billions of Pentagon dollars go missing. The money vanishes not because of fraud, waste or abuse, but because U.S. military planners have appropriated it to secretly develop advanced weapons and fund clandestine operations. Next year, this so-called black budget will be even larger than it was in the Cold War days of1987, when the leading black-budget watchdog, the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments (CSBA), began gathering reliable estimates. The current total is staggering: $58 billion—enough to pay for two complete Manhattan Projects.
Where does the money go? Tracking the black budget has always been a challenge. Constantly shifting project names that seem to be randomly generated by computers—Tractor Cage, Tractor Card, Tractor Dirt, Tractor Hike and Tractor Hip are all real examples—make linking dollar amounts to technologies impossible for outsiders. But there are clues.
According to Todd Harrison, an analyst at the CSBA, the allocations for classified operations in the 2011 federal budget include $19.4 billion for research and development across all four branches of the military (funding for the CIA, including its drone strikes in Afghanistan and Pakistan, is contained within the Defense Department black budget), another $16.9 billion for procurement, and $14.6 billion for "operations and maintenance." This latter category, Harrison notes, has been expanding quickly. This may suggest that many classified technologies are now moving from the laboratory to the battlefield.
In fact, the rise in classified defense spending accompanies a fundamental change in American military strategy. After the attacks of September 11, the Pentagon began a shift away from its late Cold War–era "two-war strategy," premised on maintaining the ability to conduct two major military operations simultaneously, and began to focus instead on irregular warfare against individuals and groups. That strategic shift most likely coincides with an investment shift, away from technology that enables large-scale, possibly nuclear, war against superpower states and toward technology that helps military planners hunt and kill individuals. Each branch of the military uses different language to describe this process. Pentagon officials have spoken openly about their desire to use advanced technology to "reduce sensor-to-shooter time" in situations involving "time-sensitive targets." The head of U.S. Special Operations Command talks about "high-tech manhunting," while Air Force officials describe plans to compress the "kill chain."
Even inside the Pentagon, few people know the precise details of the black budget. But by combining what is known about Pentagon goals and what is known about the most recent advances in military technology, we can begin to sketch its general contours.
The first link in the kill chain: finding the person to hunt. Particularly in Afghanistan and Pakistan, this type of intelligence gathering is increasingly done using unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). According to the New America Foundation, a nonprofit think tank, the U.S. conducted 45 drone strikes in Pakistan in the first six months of this year. The centrality of unmanned aircraft to such missions suggests that the black budget is almost certainly already funding next-generation drones.
In April 2009, a French magazine published a photograph of one recent product of that funding—a slender-winged aircraft that had previously been spotted in southern Afghanistan and that aerospace experts had begun calling the Beast of Kandahar. After another photograph surfaced, this one a clear shot of the craft on the runway in Kandahar, the Air Force issued a statement that finally gave the Beast a formal identity: the RQ-170 Sentinel.
Manufactured by Lockheed Martin, the RQ-170 is a tailless flying wing with the telltale shape and surface contours of a stealth aircraft. Black-plane watchers immediately noticed similarities between the RQ-170 and Lockheed's unmanned Polecat aircraft, which UAV observers had long speculated was being developed in secret and which was finally made public at the Farnborough International Airshow in England in 2006. The Air Force says that the Sentinel is a reconnaissance drone, a claim supported by the aircraft's lack of visible armaments, by the sensors that appear to be embedded in its wings, and by its "RQ" designation.
But much about the RQ-170 is puzzling. Why would the Air Force need a stealth aircraft in Afghanistan, a country with no radar defense system? It wouldn't, according to those familiar with the drone. The RQ-170 was developed with a more sophisticated enemy, perhaps China, in mind. That doesn't mean it couldn't be adapted for current conflicts, however. Unlike the relatively easy-to-spot Predator and Reaper drones, the RQ-170's stealth could allow it to conduct missions that those aircraft cannot, such as clandestine tracking, or slipping unnoticed across Afghanistan's border into Iran or Pakistan to spy on their nuclear programs.
Aircraft like the RQ-170, the Predator and the Reaper can get only so close to their targets, of course, which is why the Pentagon is developing micro-drones designed to investigate dangerous terrain undetected. In April the Washington Post reported that the CIA was using pizza-platter-size micro-drones to find insurgents in Pakistan. And the 2010 Pentagon budget contains a brief unclassified reference to Project Anubis, a micro-drone developed by the Air Force Research Laboratory. The Air Force won't talk about that specific vehicle, but a more general 2008 marketing video released by the lab did suggest that future micro-UAVs might be equipped with "incapacitating chemicals, combustible payloads, or even explosives for precision targeting capability." The video depicts an explosives-laden drone dive-bombing and killing a sniper. Budget documents indicate that Project Anubis (named for the ancient Egyptian god of the dead) is now complete, which means a lethal micro-drone could already be in the field.
We need safeguards against this drone being used against citizens and allies who are inconvenient to whatever party line the country is following at any given time.
I just realized that ONCE the U.S. Military brings these weapons out publicly in the future--targeted individuals of directed energy, like me, will be able to SUE AND GARNER credibility to our plight. We are tortured by microwaves & non-lethal weapons. WHY? Here's an example why: I have suffered fr. having these weapons beamed directly in my eyes for a year & more---it was excruciatingly painful. Many times, I wish I would die. My husband insisted that I see a neurologist for record keeping. I saw the neurologist. I also described the pain to 2 doctors who wrote it down. THAT WAS BEFORE THIS ARTICLE WAS WRITTEN, thus I am not making it up. I CAN EXPLAIN CLEARLY AND DESCRIBE UNDER OATH, IN A COURT OF LAW, HOW IT FELT TO BE TORTURED WITH THESE WEAPONS. And I am 100% sure that THAT'S exactly the same torture that their "target terrorists" in Pakistan and Afganistan will describe. When these weapons are out, they will finally acknowledge to the whole world what they are denying to targeted individuals--that these weapons exist, and they used American civillians as their target practice to create them. The world will demand declassification. The crimes of the terrorists will pale in comparison to what the US Military did and is still doing to us. The terrorists will not be as hated as the militants bec. it will come out that the U.S even beamed these weapons on children--it will be in the press. I WILL REMIND PEOPLE THAT we can defend ourselves from the Muslim insurgents by staying home or keeping them away from our country---BUT WE CAN NEVER DEFEND OURSELVES FROM THE USE OF SATELLITES & MICROWAVE WEAPONS. CIVILLIANS ARE HUMAN BEINGS--COMPLETELY DEFENSELESS BEFORE THE US MILITARY'S USE OF THESE WEAPONS. I am tortured everyday with "everything". My doctor now believes me. (Yes, that is my real name. Please do not call me a believer of the conspiracy theory in order to belittle what I write. I am tortured with these weapons everyday--I have no choice but to believe. Please google: JOHN B. ALEXANDER, HAARP, DARPA, MICHAEL AQUINO--NSA, DR. JOHN NORSEEN, ETC.)
Why are you tortured by these weapons every day?
Wait. Let me get this right, Aileen......
Are you saying that you are regularly targeted by the US military as a test subject and target practice for non-lethal military weapons? I just want to make sure I understood your claims properly.
Sounds to me that "Eileen" is sympathetic to terrorists.
Maybe that's why he's targeted.
TALKING IN CAPS MAKES US SOUND SANE AND CREDIBLE. REALLY.
Lighten up on Aileen. You have no idea how hard it is to get volunteers to test these systems on. You can't just put an ad in CL under GIGS, 'Top secret project needs Guinea pigs to test weapons on.'
People like Ms. Aranzame are selected following a thorough investigation and carefully observed during and after each test to evaluate the effectiveness of the system.
Of course, none of her sworn depositions will get her anywhere. After the LSD experiments that went wrong in the 60s, subjects were only recorded as code numbers, not names. Those who become an embarrassment are disposed of when the testing is concluded.
We can honor their contribution to America and remember that they gave their all for their country.
haha i luled a bit at Aileen.
I'M BEING TARGETED AND CAN DESCRIBE IT IN DETAIL
but i dont.
I WILL SWEAR UNDER OATH IM NOT A NUTJOB
but no one believes me anyway
HERE IS MY EVIDENCE!!
Oh my! I'd kill quite a lot of people for that much even though it's not my line or work. The money is right.
I'd love to be able to get the reward for Bin Laden.
Pretty sure I'd like to get a tinfoil hat for you know who.
On the off chance that Aileen isn't just a troll...
There are many ways to stop microwave, ultraviolet, or any number of "energy" waves from hitting your eyes. I suggest you research it if you're in that much pain. Although if it really is happening to you, there would be a source it comes from. You could buy any number of radiation detectors or go to a lab to determine where it's coming from and what type of "energy" it is. Or you could take a tour of a deep underground cold war bunker where nothing could penetrate deep enough to get to you.
If you still feel pain then, you most likely have a tumor pressing on your optical nerve or something equally more mundane.
Plus, to sue someone you need ACTUAL evidence that it happened to you. Not just a claim that you had some pain before you heard about something that could cause it. If you think a doctor writing down something you said qualifies as substantial evidence your case wouldn't even make it to court.
When did it become acceptable to commit murder?
@hollycow - Did you not see the close up of that terrorist's eyeball. He was planning something evil! Isn't that probable cause enough? We just had to do something, we did it for our children! We owe it to them.
The missing money is spent on the Stargate program. Duh.
Ryan M Cornelius - you can look into someones eyes and tell what they are planing. No that is not enough, our society is build on due process of law not someones imagination. Murder is murder, especially when due process is not followed.
I'm sorry, but killing known terrorists is not murder. Lets also remember in a world of animals, there really is no morals except for the ones we make up.
1) It is murder for the US military to kill an American citizen without the benefits of due process (a trial) or expedient need (he is shooting up a school).
2) It is not murder for the US military to kill enemy combatants in a war.
3) It is not murder to accidently kill others in the attempt to kill enemy combatants in a war - though it is frowned upon and reducing "collarteral damage" is always a goal.
4) While assassination has traditionally not been the prefered means of politcal dispute for the US, discreation (avoiding collateral damage) has reached the point where, once again we choose exactly who we kill.
The arguement then turns to the age old military question of "can you shoot the generals and the officers rather than the soldiers." Tradition (written by officers) says no. Conventional wisdom is moving towards yes.
@ Aileen Aranzame...
May I remind you, Ms. Large, that you are under contract, and now that you've talked, you contract is now at an end, an end in which the US government cannot allow you to continue your daily life with your husband.
WOW, that right there is proof anyone can make themselves look like someone else entirely fiction, BTW Ms. Large, or Aileen if you like to be called that, if you really want to prove a point, don't just type it up on a magazine's website, go to a major news company, like CNN, or BBC (these two, without a doubt, have the best credibility) and maybe the whole world might know whats going on with you, or even possibly believe you.
Aileen... shut up
Anyone that supports this should really understand that you are creating a security grid that will be used against all citizens of any freedom loving nation. If all you do is eat, sleep, work, repeat then your exposure to this crap will be minimal. But if you actually have a life then get ready for all your rights to freedom, liberty, and privacy to be revoked.
the money could have been going into other things :c
1) Yes it is murder, only reasonable force may be used otherwise it is murder. Soldiers in every war and many police have been punished for using unreasonable force.
2) I'll give you this one
3) Killing innocent bystanders is murder
4) Assassination is murder there is no getting around it.
I suppose those people in the towers were not murdered, there just casualties of war. Due process of law is one of the fundamental principles our country is based on, we can not and should not deny it to anyone.
"Why would the Air Force need a stealth aircraft in Afghanistan, a country with no radar defense system?"
Cuz some types of SAMs use a radar lock, like, duh Eh?
These new drones & micro drones are for use on the american people, there are already drones in use in some american cities.
Do a bit of late 18th century-modern day role reversal here.
"Has Great Britain any enemy, in this quarter of the world, to call for all this accumulation of navies and armies? No, sir, she has none. They are meant for us: they can be meant for no other." (Patrick Henry: Give me Liberty or Death speech)
Much as I hate it, the USSR was a valid excuse for expansion of military. Terrorists are not. I'm sorry, but we don't need large scale military invasions and occupations, we don't need new aircraft, we barley need anything described here to deal with the middle eastern terrorist threat, infiltration and espionage are much cheaper and more effective. We need to trim out at least 70-80% of the military's budget. I think the new military technologies are destined for a much different purpose.....
Jeez Aileen just turn off the TV.
Yep, I used to be gung ho for weapons systems like this. Now I am not so sure. This current administration will find it expedient to hang on to political power in any way it can. Because I am not an ethnic minority, or homosexual and I am a Christian and vote conservatively this administation ,I am sure, considers me a threat to their power and we all know how progressives and liberals treat people that are a threat to their power.
Maybe Aileen isn't so far off base afterall. However, I do agree that she should start by turning off the TV, Computer, and not watch the microwave oven quite so closely.;-)
The article states, "In 1998, U.S. Navy ships in the Arabian Sea fired Tomahawk cruise missiles at a number of training camps in Afghanistan where Osama bin Laden was believed to be hiding."
I thought we started chasing bin Laden after 9/11/2001...
On another point, while I am generally in favor of a strong military, what are the opportunity costs of spending so much?
Instead of spending $58 billion, what if we allocated $18 billion to beefing up measures to detect and prevent potential terrorists from coming into the US, and maybe $20 billion to provide jobs or economic stimulus for the unemployed, then we could reduce our budget by $20 billion with the unused amount. (I'm using this as an example to make a broader point about how we spend taxpayer money and money borrowed money from China to fund our federal budget.)
I was told by a US govenment official that if you shoot at, or kill a police officer, you are dead, The police will kill you.
What about all this "In God we trust"?
Of all the supposed Christian countries of the world, the USA is without doubt the most Godless: See The Westboro Baptist Church and The Peoples Temple etc.
Also the angriest and the most unpleasant if you criticize them, a bit like Iran etc.
As for global threats, the USA is the only country to have used an atomic(2) weapon, no wonder the USSR was frightened of them.
Sigh. And in the end it just won't make a whole lot of difference. Some US general was spot on when he said "We can't kill our way to victory." For every wing-nut Taliban leader you toast there will be another ten waiting to take his place.
Take a tiny portion of those billions of dollars and blanket the whole country with schools. Make sure every child, girls and boys, has the opportunity to receive a non-madrassa education. Support micro-loans for entrepreneurs and community run co-ops, thereby giving young men some hope for a livelihood that does not involve receiving a stipend from Al Quaeda. Those are the expenditures that are far more likely to produce peace over time.