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The Weeks Ahead March 23, 2009

Posted by Stephen Abott in Analysis, News.
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Source: DOD

Source: DOD

President Obama is slated to release his DOD supplemental budget soon. The $75.5 billion piece of legislation is expected to hedge closely to the President’s criteria for a “clean bill”. Such a bill would not contain funding for costs normally included in the DOD base budget, such as for BRAC (Base Realignment and Closing) and long-term health care. Additionally, the request is likely to cut most non-war related procurement items (such as advanced fighters or replacements for “stressed” equipment) not directly related to current operations.

However, as the President has called for a “clean” and straightforward bill, there are hints that the it may not be as pristine as hoped. Last week, Defense Department Comptroller Robert Hale, speaking in front of the House Budget Committee, said that the Administration will likely ask for four F-22 fighter aircraft as part of the supplemental. Paid for by fuel offsets, this would, nonetheless, cloud the waters of the supposed “clean bill”. Additionally, Rep. Murtha, the House Appropriations Defense Subcommittee chairman has pledged to add $20 billion to the supplemental to “… do as much as we can in the supplemental to take pressure off of the baseline budget.” Such a step may further weaken Obama’s attempt to reign in the use of supplemental budgets, which have been used to obfuscate normal DOD budgets.

Budget Insight will have continuous analysis, news, and commentary on the upcoming budget request when it is released.

Recent Stimson Center analysis of the upcoming supplemental request can be found here here, and here.

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