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FY 2009 Supplemental Update May 7, 2009

Posted by dglaudemans in Uncategorized.
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Politico has the scoop on the FY 2009 supplemental appropriations bill that just made its way out of the House Appropriations Committee.  The most interesting piece of this story is the compromise struck between Chairman Obey, the DOD and the State Department.  In the mark-up, the Pakistan Counterinsurgency Capability Fund ($400 million) will be funded through the Department of Defense for the remainder of FY 2009, then another $400 million funded through the State Department beginning in FY 2010.

The compromise comes in the context of a growing concern on Capitol Hill that the DOD is conducting foreign assistance programs that are traditionally carried out under the auspices of the State Department.  Budget Insight has tracked this issue closely in recent blog posts and you can follow the debate in other Stimson publications.  We will continue to track the FY 2009 supplemental appropriation bill as it works its way through Congress and will provide further analysis in the coming days.

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In Today’s News April 28, 2009

Posted by Stephen Abott in Uncategorized.
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  • Ensuring that the U.S. military has the kinds of tools best suited to address the complex security challenges it is likely to face in the future is the task of leadership. However, with only a few weeks before Congress considers the fiscal 2010 defense budget, there appears to be a disconnect between the trends in our national defense strategy and the recognition by policymakers of the role nonlethal weapons can play in achieving those strategic goals.
  • Sadly, America’s defenses are festooned with programs that should be eliminated; however, killing them all off – many more than just five – will do very little to solve our problems. To fix the problem, we must first understand its basic nature:
  • Alabama’s two senators lifted their “hold” April 23 and the U.S. Senate promptly confirmed Ashton Carter to be new chief weapons buyer at the Pentagon.
  • (more…)

In Today’s News April 21, 2009

Posted by Stephen Abott in Uncategorized.
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  • For a fellow who spent only two years as a young officer in the Air Force, Defense Secretary Robert Gates is looking equal parts Clausewitz and Sun Tzu — two of history’s greatest military tacticians — as he unfolds his battle plan to remake the U.S. military.
  • The announcement by U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates to end production of the U.S. Air Force’s only operational fifth-generation fighter, the F-22 Raptor, and cap production at 187, should not be the end of the F-22. Its future lies in sales to important American allies: Japan and Australia.
  • Now, thanks to two new budget fights President Obama has recently picked, we are about to receive an in-depth lesson about the insidious reach of crony capitalism beyond Wall Street and Detroit.
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In Today’s News April 17, 2009

Posted by Stephen Abott in Uncategorized.
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  • Geoff Fein has an article on EMALS in Defense Daily (subscription only) discussing the decisions moving forward with the Ford class aircraft carriers. The article lays out the history since about September 2008, and goes into how in January Sea Stackley was not very pleased with the scheduling slip and increased cost of the system.
  • The U.S. Department of Defense must face up to reality and rethink some of its standard acquisition processes, industry analyst Jacques Gansler said April 14 at the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) acquisition conference here.

Supplemental Appropriations Analysis: International Affairs April 16, 2009

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President Obama has released his FY09 supplemental request asking for additional funds to support programs at the Defense Department, State Department and others. He requested $7.1 billion for international affairs, which primarily includes the State Department, USAID and the Department of Agriculture.

Supplemental requests for the international affairs budget reflect President Obama’s foreign policy objectives for Afghanistan, Iraq and other regions critical to security – as well as his commitment to ending the practice of large supplemental budgets. This supplemental budget was not as far-reaching as past requests, but does include a number of funding requests that would be more appropriately addressed in FY 2010 budget debate.

The request shows a shift in foreign policy priorities from Iraq toward Afghanistan and Pakistan. Ten percent of the total international affairs request is for Iraq, 23% for Afghanistan and 20% for Pakistan. In the FY 2008 supplemental request, 35% of funding requested was for Iraq, while Afghanistan was budgeted for 23% and Pakistan 2%.

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Supplemental Appropriations Analysis: Department of Defense April 16, 2009

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def-f-22President Obama released his FY09 supplemental request last week asking for $83.4 billion to support ongoing operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. The President requested $75.5 billion for the Defense Department and $7.1 billion for international affairs to support the State Department and USAID. This supplemental request begins to reflect the administration’s commitment to tighten the definition of supplemental funding to focus on needs directly related to combat-related activities Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Unlike previous supplementals, the administration’s request is not defined as “emergency” spending. Thus, Congress will have to decide to increase funding limits set in its original budget resolution or to designate its supplemental bill as emergency funding. The Obama administration supplemental also limited medical-care funding and non-war related personnel funding, returning these items back to the upcoming base defense budget. However, while the supplemental request limits non-war related procurement, it continues to request funding for some items that are not directly war-related. Below are highlights of the major areas of the supplemental request. (more…)

Obama Supplemental Represents First Step Toward Responsible Budgeting April 10, 2009

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President Obama and OMB Director Peter Orszag

President Obama and OMB Director Peter Orszag

President Obama released his FY 2009 supplemental request to Congress on April 9, 2009 asking for $83.4 billion to fund ongoing military, diplomatic and foreign assistance activities. Specifically, the request included $75.5 billion for the Department of Defense and $7.1 billion for international affairs. Prior supplemental requests often included funds for programs that were not directly related to combat operations or were used to fund foreign assistance programs that were not emergencies. To stop this practice, President Obama said that beginning in FY 2010 war costs will be fully accounted for in the base budget. However, this supplemental request does not yet reach Obama’s goal of limiting the use of supplementals to only fund unforeseen emergencies. While it is a good first step, there are programs included in this supplemental request that could otherwise be funded in the base budget.

What Doesn’t Belong

Some of the major items requested in this supplemental are long-term acquisition programs that are not directly related to ongoing military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. In addition, some funds for international affairs and foreign assistance are not requested in response to unforeseen emergencies but instead initiate long-term development programs and facility upgrades. Some examples of non-combat and non-emergency programs requested in this supplemental include:

· $600 million to purchase four new F-22 fighter jets;

· $400 million for a new Pakistan Counterinsurgency Capabilities Fund;

· $3.6 billion to train and equip Afghanistan Security Forces;

· $806.2 million to upgrade the U.S. diplomatic facilities in Pakistan; and

· $200 million for budget support to the Palestinian Authority.

In contrast to the above programs, several key items in Obama’s supplemental request can be characterized as combat-related or in response to an unforeseen emergency, necessitating the need for funds in a supplemental appropriation. Two examples that are arguably appropriate for inclusion in the supplemental are:

· $2.7 billion for the Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicle; and

· $350 million for counternarcotics activities on the Mexico border.

The MRAP was successfully procured through emergency supplementals in the past and this process allowed the MRAP to be rapidly deployed to combat units overseas. While this is a major procurement item, some argue the time-critical need for these vehicles in Iraq and Afghanistan merits their inclusion in the supplemental.

Given the increasing levels of violence and civil unrest on the border of Mexico and the United States, it might be appropriate to increase counternarcotics activities to stem the cross-border drug trade and mitigate further violence. Overall, President Obama’s supplemental request is a good first step in the effort to fully account for U.S. war costs. If the FY 2010 budget fully funds combat operations, diplomatic activities and foreign assistance, the Obama administration will demonstrate that it is committed to honest and transparent budgeting.

Budget Resolution Passes House and Senate April 3, 2009

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capitol1The House and Senate passed the Budget Resolution last night, setting out a broad spending and revenue blueprint for the next five years. Differences remain between the House and Senate versions however, and will have to resolved in conference when Congress returns from its two-week Easter recess. Of particular interest, is the difference in the amount of international affairs funding each chamber provided. The Senate, following the adoption of the Kerry-Lugar amendment, restored the $4 billion that was initially cut from the Presdient’s request. The House has yet to take action to restore the cuts made in the Chairman’s mark ($5.3 billion). Both chambers fully funded the President’s request for national defense ($556.1 billion).

Next week, look for the second FY 2009 supplemental to be submitted to an absent Congress and for the White House (led by OMB and Secretary Gates) to propose cuts in major defense programs such as the Army’s Future Combat System, the F-22 fighter-jet, the Navy’s DDG-1000 and the Virginia Class Submarine.

Defense Budget Poll March 20, 2009

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Aid to Africa: Does It Work? March 17, 2009

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This morning NPR’s Steve Inskeep spoke with Dambisa Moyodeadaid – a Zambian-born economist about her book Dead Aid: Why Aid Is Not Working and How There Is a Better Way for Africa. Moyo argues that U.S. assistance to Africa has in fact stunted Africa’s development by relying on an assistance model predicated on pity.  Instead, Moyo believes that a business approach, similar to the one used by China, is the only way to develop the private sector in Africa.   Dambisa Moyo, an economists formerly with the World Bank and now working for Goldman Sachs, raises a fundamental question regarding U.S. foreign assistance: does it work?  (more…)