BY TARA COPP
President Obama takes the podium for his seventh address to Congress on Tuesday night in a security environment much changed from the threats he first addressed in 2009. This chart tracks the defense initiatives, drawdowns and priorities included by Obama in each of his State of the Union addresses.
In 2009, Obama inherited the final $514 billion defense budget (not including contingency funds) presented by President George W. Bush. That year, Obama addressed a joint session of Congress and began an agenda to bring more accountability into defense spending, remove all U.S. combat troops from Iraq, and close the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
Six years later, Obama’s anticipated 2016 defense budget is expected to be in excess of the $499 billion cap set by sequestration, a nod to the reality that while combat operations in Iraq and Afghanistan have ceased, evolving threats in cyberspace, attacks by evolving extremist organizations such as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria and the current state of the nation’s manpower and weapons systems after a decade of conflict require additional spending.