In case you haven’t heard, the President’s FY 2011 budget request was released this week.
For Fiscal Year (FY) 2011, which begins on October 1, 2010, the Obama Administration has requested a base budget of $548.9 billion for the Department of Defense (DoD). This is approximately $18 billion, or 3.4 percent, above FY 2010 appropriations.
In addition, the administration has requested $159.3 billion to support Overseas Contingency Operations in Afghanistan and Iraq, which brings the FY 2011 defense budget request to a total of $708.3 billion.
Including an expected $33 billion in supplemental appropriations, the planned percent increase in total DoD spending for FY 2011 will be 2.1 percent over FY 2010.
Adjusted for inflation this amounts to a $9 billion, or 1.3 percent, increase over FY 2010.
In addition to an initial $708 billion, the administration has requested $18 billion for nuclear weapons activities at DoE and $7 billion for additional non-DoD defense related activities. This brings total non-DoD defense related spending (053/054) to a total of $25 billion, a $2 billion increase over FY 2010.
Though the numbers are large, particularly compared to non-military discretionary spending, let’s look at the bright side of things…
First, the increases requested are significantly lower than during the Bush years, when the DoD’s base budget grew at a steady increase of 4.3 percent (after adjusting for inflation) each year.
Last year, Secretary Gates led a (mostly) successful effort to cut wasteful spending out of the defense budget, eliminating the F-22 Raptor, Multiple Kill Vehicle (MKV), CSAR-X Helicopter, and Transformational Satellite Communications System (TSAT) and reducing the funding for Future Combat Systems (FCS).
This year he’s back for more.
Once again, the DoD has recommended cuts of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) Extra Engine and the C-17 Globemaster Strategic Airlift Aircraft, which were blocked from elimination by Congress in FY 2010. In addition, the DoD will look to cut the CG(X) Cruiser, Third Generation Infrared Surveillance (3GIRS), and Net-Enabled Command Capability (NECC) and delay funding for the LCC-R and Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle.
These cuts could amount to billions of dollars in savings if they are successful. So look on the bright side, even though the numbers continue to rise, at least the quality of the programs at DoD will (theoretically) rise as well.