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Long-Term DOD Budget Analyses November 20, 2009

Posted by Trice Kabundi in Analysis.
Tags: ,

On Wednesday, the House Armed Services Committee (HASC) held a hearing on the significance and impact of the defense budget in the long-term. The following provides a brief summary of the hearing’s four testimonies:

David J. Berteau, Defense Industrial Initiatives Group

Berteau testified that both Congress and DOD are ill prepared to “deal with declining defense budgets,” and identified “inadequate defense planning and programming” and the inadequacy of short term fixes as the major causes of the lack of preparation. In his opinion, recent changes in DOD’s planning processes have created an environment where “there is no longer a rigorous process inside the Pentagon.” His solutions for fixing these issues center on creating a better assessment of DOD’s force requirements, fiscally meeting such requirements, and utilizing the short and long-term program projections of the FYDP to define FY 2011 and future budgets.

Thomas Donnelly, Center for Defense studies at American Enterprise Institute

Donnelly’s testimony centered on whether or not the US defense budget effectively matches the country’s national security goals and interests, analyzing whether or not there exists any functional balance between the country’s “strategic ends” and “military means.” His concern highlighted the importance of maintaining American primacy and that the current view and means of reducing the defense budget creates an environment where the “level of investment will not match the level of threat or the level of our strategic need.”

Matthew S. Goldberg, Congressional Budget Office

Goldberg provided an in-depth overview of the CBO’s latest analyses of the current and future trends of DOD’s budget requests, specifically focusing on FY 2011- FY 2028. The projections, which are partly based on the FY 2010 budget request and justification, estimate that defense spending will amount to 3.5 percent of GDP by 2015, and 2.6 percent of GDP by 2028. Goldberg stated that even the inclusion of unbudgeted costs would still result in a drop of defense spending portion of the GDP by 2015.

The categories of spending that would be the impetus for an increased need of resources were: 1) the cost maintaining the salaries and benefits of a growing military; 2) O&M costs associated with maintaining aging and newer equipment and systems; 3) current plans to replace aging weapons systems with newer more advanced ones; and 4) the costs associated with addressing developing security threats through the development of advanced systems.

Stephen Daggett, Congressional Research Service

Daggett’s testimony focused on: the six trends that have caused the cost of the military’s capabilities to increase; budgetary implications of DOD’s recent decision to terminate a plethora of their major weapon programs; trade-offs the DOD might be confronted with over the next decade in light of the federal budget deficit; and the level of impact the QDR will have on the long-term decision making framework.



1. Bang Zero - January 16, 2010

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