Budget Balances Military Needs with Fiscal Restraint, Hale Says

WASHINGTON, Feb. 14, 2011 — The Defense Department’s $671 bil­lion fis­cal 2012 bud­get is a respon­si­ble fund­ing request that bal­ances the needs of the mil­i­tary with efforts to con­trol fed­er­al spend­ing, the department’s comp­trol­ler said today.
“We in the depart­ment need to be part of the deficit reduc­tion plan,” Robert F. Hale said dur­ing a Pen­ta­gon news brief­ing to out­line the bud­get. “This is a respon­si­ble bud­get that meets our nation­al secu­ri­ty needs and is sus­tain­able.”

Under the pro­pos­al to Con­gress, total defense spend­ing would decrease 6.6 per­cent, but the base bud­get — all fund­ing except over­seas con­tin­gency oper­a­tions — would increase 0.7 per­cent to $553 bil­lion.

Air Force Lt. Gen. Lar­ry O. Spencer, direc­tor of force struc­ture, resources and assess­ment for the Joint Staff, said the bud­get would not hurt mil­i­tary readi­ness. Spencer accom­pa­nied Hale to the brief­ing in place of Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, chair­man of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who is trav­el­ing.

“This bud­get ensures that our Amer­i­can mil­i­tary is ready to respond when the nation calls,” he said.

The bud­get allows the depart­ment to “con­sid­er the full spec­trum” of glob­al chal­lenges, Hale not­ed, from the pro­lif­er­a­tion of weapons of mass destruc­tion to ter­ror­ism to pro­tect­ing free trade.

The bud­get freezes civil­ian cost-of-liv­ing rais­es, but gives ser­vice mem­bers a 1.6 per­cent increase to match the Labor Department’s annu­al Employ­ment Cost Index.

The bud­get gives $8.3 bil­lion to fam­i­ly sup­port pro­grams, includ­ing child care for more than 200,000 school-age chil­dren and fund­ing of spousal employ­ment pro­grams. It also will allow for 15 mod­ern­iza­tion projects at depart­ment schools for ser­vice mem­bers’ chil­dren.

Depart­ment offi­cials plan to spend $52.5 bil­lion on health care, with increas­es to treat­ing trau­mat­ic brain injuries and psy­cho­log­i­cal health, as well as open­ing a new hos­pi­tal on Fort Bliss, Texas.

Near­ly $2 bil­lion will be spent on con­struc­tion, includ­ing 41 bar­racks, six fit­ness cen­ters, four chapels and four child care cen­ters.

For war fund­ing, the bud­get pro­vides about $85 bil­lion to main­tain readi­ness and train­ing, part­ly due to the mon­ey saved from the draw­down in Iraq. It increas­es fund­ing in intel­li­gence, sur­veil­lance and recon­nais­sance capa­bil­i­ties to $4.8 bil­lion, which includes pro­cure­ment of more unmanned air­craft.

To improve weapons mod­ern­iza­tion, the bud­get would:

— Extend pro­cure­ment of the F/A-18 air­craft through 2014;

— Sta­bi­lize ship­build­ing with an 11-ship pro­gram;

— Pro­cure a new long-range strike bomber with unmanned capa­bil­i­ty for the Air Force;

— Fund $.09 bil­lion for the KC-X Tanker;

— Give $1 bil­lion to the SSBN nuclear sub­ma­rine devel­op­ment;

— Pro­vide $10.7 bil­lion to bal­lis­tic mis­sile defense;

— and give $12.2 bil­lion, a 2 per­cent increase, for sci­ence and tech­nol­o­gy research.

The bud­get rein­vests $100 bil­lion of $178 bil­lion found in Defense Sec­re­tary Robert M. Gates’ “Effi­cien­cies Ini­tia­tive,” with the remain­der tak­en as reduc­tions from “top line” costs, such as $13 bil­lion by freez­ing civil­ian bil­lets, $12 bil­lion with a two-year civil­ian pay freeze, $2.3 bil­lion by clos­ing Joint Forces Com­mand and $8 bil­lion in health care reforms.

As part of those ini­tia­tives, the Army will save $29.5 bil­lion by reduc­ing recruit­ing and reten­tion incen­tives, ter­mi­nat­ing the Future Com­bat Sys­tems and sur­face-launched advanced medi­um-range air-to-air mis­sile, as well as reduc­ing con­struc­tion and man­ning and sup­port process­es.

The Navy and Marine Corps found $35 bil­lion in sav­ings by ter­mi­nat­ing the Corps’ Expe­di­tionary Fight­ing Vehi­cle, using mul­ti­year pro­cure­ment con­tracts for new ships and air­craft, and reduc­ing ener­gy con­sump­tion.

The Air Force will rein­vest $33.3 bil­lion through reor­ga­ni­za­tions and con­sol­i­da­tion; reduc­ing, ter­mi­nat­ing and stream­lin­ing process­es; as well as cut­ting infor­ma­tion tech­nol­o­gy costs.

The bud­get decreas­es over­seas con­tin­gency oper­a­tions spend­ing from $159 bil­lion in the cur­rent year to $118 bil­lion next year. Of that, $66.6 bil­lion would go to oper­a­tions, includ­ing $12.8 bil­lion to train and equip the Afghan army and police. Near­ly $12 bil­lion would be for equip­ment reset costs.

Much of the decrease in the over­seas bud­get is due to the draw­down of U.S. troops from Iraq, which is to be com­plet­ed by the end of Decem­ber. Expen­di­tures in Iraq dropped from $46 bil­lion in the cur­rent bud­get, which ends Sept. 30, to $11 bil­lion to com­plete the tran­si­tion to State Depart­ment oper­a­tions in Iraq.

The department’s four-year bud­get plan calls for a 1 per­cent increase in the base bud­get in fis­cal 2013, fol­lowed by 0.5 per­cent in 2014, and a flat bud­get in fis­cal 2015 and 2016.

U.S. Depart­ment of Defense
Office of the Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense (Pub­lic Affairs)

More news and arti­cles can be found on Face­book and Twit­ter.

Fol­low GlobalDefence.net on Face­book and/or on Twit­ter