Ashton Carter has chosen his support team for the confirmation process to become Secretary of Defense. Defense One reports three people will work with Carter: former Defense Business Board Chairman Michael Bayer; former adviser to Adm. Mike Mullen and Gen. Jim Mattis, Sally Donnelly; and 20-year Navy veteran Dave Copp. Todd Harrison is a fellow for defense budget studies at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments. In his Top 3 for 2015, he tells In Depth with Francis Rose why the report from the Defense Department’s Compensation Commission is probably one of the first things the new SECDEF will deal with.
Compensation reform: The commission Congress created to study compensation reform is due to release its recommendations in February. If Congress is going to make any substantial changes to military compensation in the near future, the timing is between February and August of this year. Odds are low, but not zero.
BCA budget caps: Since the enactment of the BCA in 2011, Congress has modified the budget caps twice — raising them for fiscal 2013, fiscal 2014 and fiscal 2015. In fiscal 2016, the caps return to their original level. Will Congress do something similar this year and raise the caps slightly for 2016 (maybe fiscal 2017 as well), or will they replace the budget caps entirely?
OCO funding: So far, the effects of budget cuts have been largely offset by increases in OCO funding. Now the OCO budget contains more base budget funding than actual war-related funding. Some in Congress (and in the Obama Administration) have grown frustrated with this budget practice, and in 2015 there may be a renewed effort to enforce more discipline in what types of funding are allowed in the OCO budget.
In our special radio report, Top 3 for 2015, federal experts tell In Depth host Francis Rose what top three concepts, trends or priorities they believe will be important in 2015.