Congress decided yesterday what programs will get a haircut in freeing up $5 billion in defense spending. Among the programs is the Long Range Strike Bomber and defense readiness increases.
Defense Secretary Ashton Carter said Wednesday that he has advised President Barack Obama to veto the Defense Authorization bill Congress will vote on later this week for several reasons.
The Defense Authorization Act will expand milestone decision authority for military service chiefs, it just has to get past President Obama first.
A top DoD budget official said if Congress does not pass a new budget for 2016, the Pentagon would not have enough money to upgrade systems and platforms for a second straight year.
House Budget Committee Chairman Tom Price (R-Ga.) released his $3.8 trillion budget plan, which includes language calling for an increase to federal employees' contributions to their retirement plans. All federal employees would pay 6.6 percent of their pay into their retirement plans. The bill also increases funding to the Defense Department's Overseas Contingency Operations fund, while keeping total DoD spending under sequestration caps.
About $490 billion go to defense spending in 2015, that's just under the $500 billion cap congressional budget leaders Pat Murray and Paul Ryan set last year. Overseas Contingency Operations get $64 billion in fiscal 2015. Gordon Adams, distinguished fellow at the Stimson Center and a professor of international relations at American University, writes about the deal in Foreign Policy magazine. He tells In Depth with Francis Rose that the defense spending deal and the OCO budget is more of a "shell game" that Congress can tap into to buy what it wants.
The Defense Department's request for its overseas contingency operations is about $20 billion less than initial estimates. Former Defense officials say realistic goals and managed expectations usually spelled success for weapons systems.
The White House wants $60 billion for the Pentagon's overseas contingency operations in fiscal 2015. Defense News reports the President's OCO budget has an extra $5 billion request for a new counterterrorism fund, too. Over the next few days, Capitol Hill will host a number of defense officials to make their cases for some specific programs. Roger Zakheim is counsel for Covington and Burling, and former deputy staff director of the House Armed Services Committee. He wrote about the relationship between the White House and Congress when it comes to defense budget planning. He shared his thoughts on In Depth with Francis Rose.
Military officials say overseas contingency operations dollars are vital to ongoing operations around the world, even after the wars end. All the services tell the House Armed Services Committee that OCO funding is helping with readiness and maintenance challenges.