Tomorrow, April 10, the administration is set to release its budget request for Fiscal Year 2014. We’ll have plenty of analysis of the release tomorrow and in the coming days, but before looking forward let’s look backward. Below is a chart outlining the final FY 2013 appropriations for key nuclear weapons delivery replacement systems and the National Nuclear Security Administration’s (NNSA) weapons activities account (click on the image for the PDF version).
You’ll notice that the final appropriations match the original budget request. While the final FY 2013 Continuing Resolution included a full-year defense appropriations bill, NNSA weapons activities was funded at the FY 2013 requested level due to a special anomaly that did not apply to the rest of NNSA’s programs. Sequester will eat into the above levels, but the final outcome is uncertain as both the Pentagon and NNSA are likely to submit reprogramming requests to allow them to prioritize certain programs over others.
News reports indicate that the Pentagon will request a base budget of approximately $526 billion. As Gordon Adams notes, this is “a tiny step down from FY 2013, but one that leaves out any consideration of the sequester.”
Unlike some previous years, no information has leaked on NNSA’s proposed budget request. According to the November 2010 update to the Section 1251 report, the 10-year nuclear spending plan devised as the Senate was considering the New START treaty, NNSA would be slated to receive $8.4 billion for the coming fiscal year. But given the new budget environment, the request will not keep place with the 1251 level.
UPDATE 4/9 7:00 PM: Jeffrey Smith and Doug Birch of the Center for International Policy are reporting that NNSA will request approximately $7.7 billion for weapons activities. They also report that funding for the Global Threat Reduction Initiative will be reduced. The reduction to material security programs is particularly concerning, since they were also cut in last year’s budget request.
Another item to keep an eye on is how the Pentagon complies with Section 1041 of the FY 2013 National Defense Authorization Act, which requires “a detailed estimate of the budget requirements associated with sustaining and modernizing the nuclear deterrent of the United States and the nuclear weapons stockpile of the United States…” I’ve pasted the full text of the provision below. This requirement could gives us a better understanding of how the Pentagon budgets for nuclear weapons, which to this point has been very opaque and difficult to decipher.
SEC. 1041. COST ESTIMATES FOR NUCLEAR WEAPONS.
(a) Budget Requirements- Section 1043 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012 (Public Law 112-81; 125 Stat. 1576) is amended–
(1) in subsection (a)–
(A) in paragraph (2), by amending subparagraph (F) to read as follows:
`(F) In accordance with paragraph (3), a detailed estimate of the budget requirements associated with sustaining and modernizing the nuclear deterrent of the United States and the nuclear weapons stockpile of the United States, including the costs associated with the plans outlined under subparagraphs (A) through (E), over the 10-year period following the date of the report, including the applicable and appropriate costs associated with the procurement, military construction, operation and maintenance, and research, development, test, and evaluation accounts of the Department of Defense.’; and
(B) by adding at the end the following new paragraph:
`(3) BUDGET ESTIMATE CONTENTS AND METHODOLOGY- Each budget estimate under paragraph (2)(F) shall include a detailed description of the costs included in such estimate and the methodology used to create such estimate.’; and
(2) by adding at the end the following new subsection:
`(c) Comptroller General Review- The Comptroller General of the United States shall–
`(1) review each report under subsection (a) for accuracy and completeness with respect to the matters described in paragraphs (2)(F) and (3) of such subsection; and
`(2) not later than 180 days after the date on which such report under subsection (a) is submitted, submit to the congressional defense committees a summary of each such review.’.
(b) CBO Estimate of Costs- Not later than one year after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Director of the Congressional Budget Office shall submit to the congressional defense committees a report setting forth the following:
(1) An estimate of the costs over the 10-year period beginning on the date of the report associated with fielding and maintaining the current nuclear weapons and nuclear weapon delivery systems of the United States.
(2) An estimate of the costs over the 10-year period beginning on the date of the report of any life extension, modernization, or replacement of any current nuclear weapons or nuclear weapon delivery systems of the United States that is anticipated as of the date of the report.