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Statement on Military Expenditures.

July 23, 1929

LAST WEEK there was published a statement showing the estimated increase in Federal expenditure over the next 4 years, as imposed by legislation already passed by Congress.

These estimates indicate by 1933 an increased burden of somewhere from $250 million to $300 million above the expenditures of the fiscal year just ended and from $400 million to $500 million above the expenditures of 4 years ago.

Of this, the purely military and naval expenditures excluding nonmilitary activities of these departments, represent about one-half. The [p.232] combined expenditure is estimated at $803 million in 1933, an increase of $120 million over the last fiscal year, and $224 million over 4 years ago. All of which compares with a total $266 million average prewar total for the combined military services of the Army and Navy or an estimated increase by 1933 of $530 million over prewar. These amounts do not include any amount which we justly spend on veterans who suffered in past wars which in itself amounts to about $820 million per annum. Moreover, many bills are pending before Congress that will still further increase this sum.

The American people should understand that current expenditure on strictly military activities of the Army and Navy constitutes the largest military budget of any nation in the world today and at a time when there is less real danger of extensive disturbance to peace than at any time in more than half a century.

The hope of tax reduction lies in large degree in our ability to economize on the military and naval expenditure and still maintain adequate defense. Our whole situation is certainly modified by the Kellogg Pact.

We hope to save materially on naval expenditures by international agreement on naval arms. In the matter of Army outlay, I am in agreement with the Secretary of War to set up within the General Staff a commission of leading Army officers to reconsider our whole Army program, to see what services and other outlays have become obsolete through advancement of science and war methods; and what development programs can be well spread over longer periods in view of the general world outlook and at the same time maintain completely adequate preparedness. Such an investigation to be constructive and not destructive.

Note: For the statement on estimated increases in Federal expenditures, see Item 156.

The study entitled "Report of the Survey of the Military Establishment by the War Department General Staff" was completed November 1, 1929. It covered the major functions, state of preparedness, costs, and the minimum requirements necessary for the military service to fulfill its mission.

Herbert Hoover, Statement on Military Expenditures. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/211118

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