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U.S. Department of Defense

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The U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) is headquartered in the Pentagon building in Washington, DC.

Overview

The U.S. Army, U.S. Navy, and U.S. Marine Corps were established in 1775, concurring with the American Revolution. The U.S. Department of the Navy and U.S. Coast Guard were later founded in 1798. In 1947, Congress established a civilian, Cabinet level Secretary of Defense to oversee a newly created national military establishment, at which time the U.S. Air Force and the U.S. Department of the Air Force were created. The War Department was then converted to the U.S. Department of the Army. The three branches (Army, Navy and Air Force) were placed under the direct control of the new Secretary of Defense. In 1949, an amendment withdrew the cabinet-level status for the three Service secretaries and further consolidated the national defense structure of what is now known as the DoD. In 2003, the U.S. Coast Guard became part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. [1]

DoD & Bioport Corporation

Regulations allowed the Department of Defense (DoD) to "provide extraordinary relief" to BioPort Corporation during late FY 1999, in spite of "significant risks." [2] Between 1998 and 2002, the DoD pumped over $130 million into the company, in hopes of stockpiling enough anthrax vaccines for all 2.4 million U.S. soldiers and reservists. The Pentagon continued paying BioPort even after the company repeated failed Food and Drug Administration (FDA) inspections and was prohibited from shipping any vaccine. [3]

Mandatory experimental vaccinations & related deaths

In 2003, six soldiers filed suit against the government for experimenting on them with the BioPort anthrax vaccine. According to the charges, the vaccine was considered experimental; therefore its mandatory administration was illegal. On Dec. 22, 2003, the US District Court for the District of Columbia ordered the military to stop experimenting on soldiers for dangerous anthrax vaccines. In 2003, army sergeant Rachel Lacey died of complications from the vaccine, according to an autopsy report from the Mayo Clinic. Despite strong evidence that the vaccine was causing pneumonia-like symptoms in military personnel, the Pentagon denied the possibility. Instead, they blamed cigarette smoking as the leading factor. The vaccination is a series of 6 shots over 18 months.

Staff Sgt. Neal B. Erickson Sr. didn't smoke, yet had pneumonia-like symptoms 10 days after his fourth anthrax shot. He required hospitalization 10 days after his next shot; where he tested negative for viruses. The Pentagon referred to the illnesses as a “mysterious pneumonia cluster”. According to Sgt Erickson, there were at least four other cases in his squadron, as well as another hospitalization. There were at least one hundred similar cases as well as multiple deaths; many of which were not investigated.

Thousands of Gulf War I veterans were poisoned by depleted uranium and the same BioPort vaccine under George H.W. Bush and later under Bill Clinton. In October of 2003, 80.3 million tax dollars were spent in ordering VaxGen Inc. to develop an experimental anthrax vaccine. An additional $71.3 million was contracted to Avecia for 3 million doses of a new anthrax vaccine. Within weeks of a court decision to cease mandatory vaccinations, the FDA approved BioPort's vaccine as "“safe and effective”. Judge Emmit Sullivan, who ruled that soldiers should not be used in experimental vaccination programs, issued a subsequent order allowing the Pentagon to resume mandatory vaccinations; a “temporary boost” for BioPort. Just days before his ruling, the Pentagon ordered a $29.7 million order of anthrax vaccine from BioPort, part of a $245.6 million contract, in anticipation of the reversal. [4]

DoD animal testing programs

DoD animal testing programs subject animals to irradiation, burnings, bombings, wounds and decompression sickness. [5] Every year, at least 320,000 primates, dogs, pigs, goats, sheep, rabbits, cats, and other animals are hurt and killed by the DoD. These experiments are considered to be the most painful and invasive conducted in the country. Also, since these figures do not take into account contractual research done at non-government facilities, the number of animals used is actually much higher. Armed forces facilities all over the U.S. test all manner of weaponry on animals; from Soviet AK-47 rifles to biological and chemical warfare agents to nuclear blasts. These experiments can be acutely painful, repetitive, costly and unreliable. Particularly so, because their effects can be or have been observed on humans and/or because results cannot be extrapolated to humans. The estimated cost for U.S. Military experiments on animals is over 100 million annually. [6] See also U.S. Government's War on Animals, section 5.

Congressional hearings on DoD experiments

During a U.S. House Armed Services Committee hearing on April 7, 1992, former military researchers, physicians, scientists and animal activists testified against waste, negligence and abuse. According to Rep. Ron Dellums:

"The committee has heard testimony that raises disturbing questions about the necessity, ethical propriety, oversight and quality of the military's experiments on animals".

The Committee implemented greater oversight, including annual reporting and an investigation by the General Accounting Office (GAO) to reduce animals and eliminate duplication. Since these measures, DoD animal testing has declined by 42% and the GAO has also investigated research programs. [7]

Military spending & funding

The U.S. is without question the most formidable military power in recent years. Its spending levels are the principle determinant of world military spending. Generally, US military spending has been on the rise for the last decade. Recent increases are attributed to the "War on Terror" as well as the the Afghanistan and Iraq invasions, but it was also rising prior to these events. According to Christopher Hellman, an expert on military budget analysis, military spending had been on the rise since 1998, if not earlier. [8], [9]

Over the last decade, U.S. defense spending has risen dramatically. With the inclusion of funding for Iraq, Afghanistan, and nuclear weapons activities, national defense budgets increased by 78%. In inflation-adjusted dollars, the budget increased from $387 billion in FY 2000 to $687 billion in FY 2009. The DoD's base budget, which excludes both war and nuclear weapons funding, has also grown steadily over the past decade. The budget increased from $370 billion in 2000 to $513 billion in 2009; a 39% increase or an average of 16 billion a year. Funding requests for Iraq and Afghanistan may have reached their peak in 2008. the projected total war war supplemental of $144 billion is 50 billion less than the 2008 total of 194 billion dollars. The Iraq and Afghanistan policies of the Obama Administration, which include removing troops from Iraq and adding troops to Afghanistan; should not restore these budgets to their 2008 peak amounts. [10]

Research & development programs

Congress agreed on $82.4 billion for DoD research and development programs for the fiscal year ending in 2009. This amount was an enormous increase of three billion or 3.8 percent; an all time high for DoD spending. The DoD's support of basic research would gain 12.9% or $210 million for an 1.8 billion dollar budget for 2009. [11]

USA global ranking of military spending

The USA is responsible for 41.5% of the world's military spending. It is distantly followed by the China, which accounts for 5.8%. France and the United Kingdom account for 4.5% and Russia accounts for 4 %. [12]

DoD agencies

Military Commands

DoD animal testing

Personnel

Contact

Web address: http://www.defenselink.mil/

Articles & sources

SourceWatch articles

References

  1. Welcome to the Department of Defense, Department of Defense, accessed November 2009
  2. Robert J. Lieberman, Assistant Inspector General for Auditing, DoD Statement before the Senate Committee on Armed Services on Defense Anthrax Vaccine Contracting, Senate.gov, July 12, 2000
  3. Bill Hogan, A Biodefense Boondoggle, Mother Jones, January/February 2002
  4. Michael Kane, Nico Haupt Vaccine Epidemic: A Tragic History of Lies, Fraud, and Death Remains the Standard, From the Wilderness, March 2004
  5. Mark Hawthorn, Spoiler Alert: 10 Things Animal Exploiters Do Not Want You to Know, Oped News, pg 2, February 2008
  6. The Military's War on Animals, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, accessed February 2009
  7. Military Research Facts: Congressional Concern, In Defense of Animals, February 2009
  8. Christopher Hellman, The Runaway Military Budget, Friends Committee on National Legislation, no. 705, p. 3, March 2006
  9. Anup Shah World Military Spending: US Military Spending, Global Issues, September 2009
  10. Travis Sharp Growth in U.S. Defense Spending Over the Last Decade, Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation, February 2009
  11. AAAS R&D Funding Update on R&D in FY 2009 DOD House-Senate Conference Appropriations, AAAS.org, October 2009
  12. Anup Shah World Military Spending, Global Issues, September 2009

External articles