Sunday, February 12, 2012

2/10/12 RD Bulletin: Administration FY13 Budget Expected Monday

State of Play

Executive: The White House will release its full budget submission to Congress this coming Monday and is expected to request $525 billion for the Pentagon’s base budget in line with discretionary spending caps set by the Budget Control Act.  Politico’s Charles Hoskinson writes that those in the anti-nuclear community expect the administration’s budget to make deeper reductions to the nuclear weapons budget than the White House had previously indicated.  The Air Force will contribute $50 billion to the Pentagon efforts to trim $487 billion from ten-year projected spending levels, according to the Journal Gazette. 

Inside Defense reports that the Pentagon has launched a new, ten-year, $2 billion dollar program to modernize the B-2 bomber fleet to “ensure survivability in ‘evolving anti-access environments’ -- a Defense Department euphemism for potential adversaries such as China and Iran.”  The State Department is pushing back against a New York Times article earlier this week that reported the department was planning on slashing its personnel in Iraq by as much as half.

In a report published by the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments this week, Todd Harrison points out that the Super Committee represented the best option for the Pentagon to avoid sequestration, and with its failure, automatic cuts will likely occur next year as scheduled.  As a result, Harrison encourages DoD to budget for sequestration or plan for defense reductions in line with previous military drawdowns. 

Legislative: Secretary Panetta and Gen. Dempsey will appear before SASC at 9:30 am on Tuesday and HASC at 10:00 am on Wednesday to discuss the administration’s FY13 budget request (for a full list of Senate Armed Services Committee scheduled hearings click here.)  The House passed legislation this week that would provide the President with expedited recession authority.  Under such legislation, the President would be able to send Congress recommended recessions from appropriations bills and receive an expedited, up-or-down vote on the recommendations within forty-five days. 

Former veteran and current HASC member, Rep. Mike Coffman (R-CO), has written Secretary Panetta urging him to consider larger cuts to the U.S. military presence in Europe because “there is no longer a strategic reason to maintain the heavy permanent forces in Germany that are a relic of the Cold War.”  And Congress has approved a request by the Pentagon to reprogram $81.6 million in order to improve the Air Force’s Massive Ordinance Penetrator, also known as the “bunker buster,” following news that Iran will begin uranium enrichment at an underground facility thought to be nearly-impenetrable. 


U.S. News and World Report: Pentagon Should Embrace Larger Cuts
Instead of hyperventilating over the “disastrous” effects of sequestration, Matthew Leatherman urges Secretary Panetta to set a gradual savings target of $858 billion over ten years and adapt “defense strategy and management for a sequence of modest cutbacks through 2021.”  (2/9/12)

Winslow Wheeler provides an easy-to-understand guide to finding and analyzing national security spending in the President’s forthcoming budget request to Congress.  (2/9/12)

Ben Freeman reports on changes to the military retirement system that allow officers with more than forty years’ experience to earn more in pension payments than they received in annual salary.  (2/8/12)

Kate Brannen surveys different defense analysts’ thoughts on the extent to which U.S. military spending is in decline relative to GDP and past defense drawdowns.  (2/9/12)

Other News and Commentary

CNN Security Clearance: Defense Budget Magic
A CNN blog post cites Russell Rumbaugh’s finding that, over the past decade, one out of every four dollars spent on modernization and procurement came from the OCO account.  (2/10/12)

An analysis finds that the Navy will fare better than the other services as a result of the Pentagon’s recent strategic guidance and upcoming budget request.  Dr. Loren Thompson from the Lexington Institute seems to agree.  (2/9/12) 

Russell Rumbaugh is quoted in a Bloomberg article arguing that fluctuating energy prices and increased Pentagon consumption will put pressure on other military accounts like personnel and procurement.  (2/8/12)

While reminding readers that the U.S. spends more on its military than the next seventeen countries combined, George Will rhetorically asks Republicans if they really are “going to warn voters that America will be imperiled if the defense budget is cut 8 percent from projections over the next decade?.”  (2/8/12)

The Pentagon Inspector General will launch an investigation into the Air Force’s probe of a fatal F-22 crash in 2010, in which the pilot was officially blamed although the aircraft’s oxygen system failed.  (2/8/12)

The United States is moving forward with plans to redeploy 8,000 Marines from Okinawa, Japan; however Japanese officials and media reports indicate that not all of the redeployed Marines will transfer to Guam, as previously planned.  (2/8/12)

Jonathan Masters writes, “The Pentagon's new strategic guidance and the budget projections it informs suggest the United States has reached ‘an inflection point’ along its fiscal/military trajectory--a time to pare back spending as the country restores its economic engine and transitions from more than a decade at war.”  (2/8/12)

A lack of common standards for data streaming systems is hindering the ability of the services to share intelligence gathered by unnamed drones.  (2/9/12)

Reports and Publications:

Center for a New American Security: Down Payment: Defense Guidance, 2013 Defense Budget and the Risks of Sequestration  (February, 2012)

Bipartisan Policy Center Report on U.S. Policy toward Iranian Nuclear Development: Meeting the Challenge: Stopping the Clock   (February, 2012)