Monday, January 16, 2012

1/13/12 RD Bulletin: DoD Budget Details to be Released Jan. 26

State of Play

Executive: Secretary Panetta will likely release details of the President’s upcoming defense budget request on January 26, while the actual Fiscal Year 2013 budget will be released in its entirety on February 6.  In an interview this week, Secretary Panetta announced that the United States would be removing two combat brigades from Europe, and replacing them on a rotational basis, as part of the Pentagon’s new strategic review. Panetta attempted to reassure NATO allies of America’s commitment to Europe during the interview, saying “they will probably see more Americans under the new strategy because the brigades that were fighting in Afghanistan weren’t even there.”

Inside Defense reports that the Pentagon is “dumping” Boeing’s contract to develop the Family of Advanced Line-of-Sight Terminals (FAB-T), a next generation communications system.  Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and former representative Ellen Tauscher says the United States will finish a missile defense cooperation agreement with Russia by the end of 2012, although she could not specify when.  Tauscher also announced that the U.S. would not participate in a European-proposed code of conduct in space because it’s “too restrictive.”

The Marine Corps received its first two F-35B Joint Strike Fighters with STOVL technology this week at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida.  Chris Hellman from the National Priorities Project comments, “Once the F-35B goes operational, it becomes much more difficult to terminate the program without at least a partial buy.  You need to have enough aircraft to give a few units operational capability.  Otherwise all the R&D money is wasted with nothing to show for it.”  The deputy chief of naval operations, Vice Admiral Terry Blake expressed concern this week over the Navy’s looming gap in DDG-51 destroyers and CG-47 cruisers, acknowledging that the Navy couldn’t afford to purchase four to five vessels a year in order to meet fleet goals.  

Legislative: President Obama has notified Congress of his intent to raise the debt limit.  Under the terms of the Budget Control Act, Congress will have fifteen  days to pass into law a resolution of disapproval (likely subject to a Presidential veto) in order to block the debt limit increase, an unlikely occurrence.  The former chairman of the House Appropriations Committee from 2005-2007, Jerry Lewis (R-CA), announced his retirement from the House this week after a 33-year career in the body.


Washington Post: President Obama and the Defense Budget: A Factoid That Falls Short
Glenn Kessler fact-checks the President’s assertion that the U.S. spends more on defense than the next ten nations combined and cites Carl Conetta’s estimate for China’s purchasing power parity in defense spending.   (1/12/12)

McClatchy Newspapers: Some Worry ‘New’ U.S. Military Focus on Asia is a Muddle
McClatchy reporters cover the United States’ strategic pivot toward Asia and discuss relations and territorial disputes in the region, with Christopher Preble commenting, “How much are we going to allow worst-case scenarios to dictate our posture?”  (1/12/12)

Pentagon Fires At Budget Targets That Can’t Be Hit
In an op-ed piece, former budget director Peter Orszag says that Secretary Panetta cannot find enough savings in the procurement account alone to meet required defense savings under the Budget Control Act.  Orszag urges Panetta to reduce end strength above what’s being reportedly considered.   (1/10/12)

Other News and Commentary

Bloomberg: Boeing’s C130 Transport Upgrades Said to Be Ended by Pentagon
The Pentagon has cancelled a program to upgrade C-130 Hercules aircraft cockpit electronics saving roughly $4 billion.  However, the contractor, Boeing, has not been notified yet of the termination.  (1/13/12)

DoD Buzz: SNA: Analysts Paint Bleak Picture of Future Navy
Speaking at the Surface Navy Association’s annual symposium, CBO expert Eric Labs predicts that the Navy would “lose between 16 and 24 ships from its 30-year plan” if sequestration were to take effect, and that even without sequestration, the Navy is still facing a shortfall in cruisers and destroyers.   (1/12/12)  

Danger Room: Military Networks ‘Not Defensible’ Says General Who Defends Them
The head of the National Security Agency and Cyber Command, General Keith Alexander, says the military’s networks today are “not defensible.”  (1/12/12)

The Hill:
Lawmakers Geared Up For Battle Over Defense Spending, Military Strategy
John Bennett of The Hill predicts that 2012 will see a protracted debate in Congress over the strategic direction of the U.S. military.  (1/11/12)

AOL Defense: Navy to Review 313-Ship Plan, VCNO Says
Due to budget constraints, the Navy will reexamine its goal of attaining a 313-vessel fleet, a goal originally set forth in the 2006 Quadrennial Defense Review.  (1/11/12)

DoD Buzz: SNA: Marines Says They’ve Got No Choice But To Modernize
The Marine Corps is trying to ensure that its top two procurement priorities, the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV) and the Amphibious Combat Vehicle (ACV), don’t fall victim to forthcoming budget cuts.  (1/11/12)

CNN Security Clearance:
Obama’s Defense Cuts Are Too Timid
Compared to past military builddowns, Russell Rumbaugh argues that the Obama Administration’s planned defense cuts don’t go far enough.  (1/6/12)

Foreign Policy: How to Save the Global Economy: Cut Defense Spending
Retiring Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) opines that with short-term stimulus measures ending and Congress unable to increase government revenues, the only way to reenergize the U.S. economy is to trim the military budget in the long-term in order to free up resources for additional recovery initiatives.   (1/3/12)

Reports and Publications:

Congressional Budget Office: Final Sequestration Report for Fiscal Year 2012
CBO estimates that, under sequestration, the cap on defense discretionary spending would “shrink by $55 billion each year.”  The report includes a table projecting discretionary spending, both defense and non-defense, for Fiscal Years 2013-2021.  (1/12/12)