In March 1996, when the Republican-dominated Congress was avidly slashing federal aid to the poor, the homeless, and the infirm, Clinton sent to Capitol Hill a six-year Pentagon budget laying out steady increases in military spending. Under the administration's plan, Department of Defense allocations will rise to $276.6 billion by 2002, an increase of 14 percent over fiscal year 1997. If the Republicans maintain their control of Congress (and/or win the presidency), these figures could go even higher.
Underlying this agreement on budget levels is a deeper consensus on the nature of future threats and on the type of forces needed to counter those threats. This consensus was forged in 1993, when Clinton unveiled a new U.S. military blueprint for the post-Cold War era. Known as the "Bottom-Up Review," this blueprint calls for sufficient U.S. forces to fight and win two "major regional conflicts"that is, Desert Storm-like engagements"nearly" simultaneously, a force about three-quarters of that supposedly needed to defeat the Soviet Union at the peak of its strength.