Welcome to our third and final week of the defense budget! This post marks the third part of our defense budget breakdown. If you didn't get a chance to read last week's breakdown, check it out here and if you'd like to start at the very beginning, check it out here. If you have any questions or are interested about hearing us speak about this on a podcast, let us know in the comments or via email!
In the FY 2019 budget, $12.9 billion is allocated towards missile defense, with $9.9 billion of that going to the Missile Defense Agency (MDA). This is one of the few sections in the defense budget that explicitly discusses international partners and the importance of them, particularly in deploying missile defenses at their bequest. Some partners include the US Forces Korea, meant to protect the Korean peninsula, the Aegis Ashore site in Romania and a second site in Poland and Israel’s Cooperative BMD program. However, missile defense also includes the development of advanced missile defense technologies, increasing BMD capability and developing the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) program as well as systems engineering, and the necessary testing for these kinds of programs.
Space, Cyberspace, Science and Technology
While weapons and missiles might be the obvious recipients of DOD funding, other parts of defense are also included. Space-based defense systems are now in development, including the Air Force’s Next-Generation Strategic Missile Warning System as well as the Global Positioning System. Cybersecurity is also on DOD’s radar. There are 133 Cyber Mission Force teams, all of which defend the US, DOD networks and protect Commands in the field against cyber attacks. The DOD also funds Science and Technology (S&T), sending $13.7 billion, around 2.3 percent of the Department’s funds, towards the development and innovation of new products that can counter threats. Between FY 2018 and 2019, there has been a $500 million increase in funding towards research and development within the S&T sector.
Another large section of the defense budget goes towards maintaining readiness. In other words, the military wants to make sure it is ready for combat if the situation calls for it. However, each branch uses a slightly different model. The Navy uses readiness pillars to organize themselves - which can be applied to all four sections of the force: keyword PESTONI. PESTONI stands for Personnel, Equipment, Supply, Training, Ordnance, Networks and Installations. One of the key indicators for readiness is the level of training exercises. In the Air Force, for example, there was 25 full spectrum air force training exercises in FY 2018. These training exercises were also supplemented by the Combatant Command Exercises and Engagement and Training Transformation program (CE2T2), the only coalition training forces for wartime. In the budget, $602.2 million was allocated towards these exercises.
Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO)
One of the more visible funding operations of the DOD is their overseas operations. Whether the forces are deployed in Iraq or Syria, it is these forces that place their lives in danger and whose actions are the most widely broadcasted. For the FY 2019 budget, $69 billion was allocated for OCO spending. There are four main operations in this framework: Operation FREEDOM’S SENTINEL (Afghanistan), Operation INHERENT RESOLVE (Iraq, Syria and other ISIS operations), the European Deterrence Initiative, and other forms of security cooperation. Security cooperation can include troops in South Asia, and supporting US Central Command wherever they need assistance. Between FY 2018 and FY 2019, there was a 2.3 billion increase in funding for Operation INHERENT RESOLVE, a 1.7 billion increase for the European Deterrence Initiative and a decrease of 800 million for Operational FREEDOM SENTINEL.
Consider that for many of these missions — the budget not only supports dual counterterrorism methods, but also funds increasing troop levels and “in-theater” support. Also consider that in in Afghanistan there are 11,958 troops, while in Iraq and Syria there are 5,765 troops. While these numbers seem clear, the next figure of “In-Theater Support” which can refer to any support in Afghanistan, Iraq, Africa or Europe is at 59,463 troops. In total, there the budget requested an increase in troops to 93,796 troops in OCO operations, an increase of 34,333 troops These troops are most likely funded by the $3.2 billion increase from the FY 2018 budget of $65.8 billion.
The OCO Budget Request is also broken up by functional category:
To keep up with inflation and to remain competitive with the private sector, the FY 2019 budget also requests a 2.6 percent increase in basic military pay, which is the largest pay raise in 9 years. Personnel costs also include the cost of military health care and military family support. Costs are also broken down via department. The Department of the Army is increasing its budget authority by 23.6 billion in total; The Department of the Navy is increasing its budget authority by 21.1 billion; and the Department of the Air Force is increasing its budget by 23.9 billion.
Part Two of Three. Read Part One Here, Read Part Two Here.
Welcome to our second week of the defense budget! This post marks the second part of our defense budget breakdown. If you didn't get a chance to read last week's breakdown, check it out here. If you have any questions or are interested about hearing us speak about this on a podcast, let us know in the comments or via email!
When looking at these big numbers, it can seem overwhelming. What are these billions of dollars going towards? One spender is the continued modernization of the nuclear triad. The nuclear triad is a three-pronged military structure consisting of submarines, missiles and strategic aircraft, all of which have nuclear bombs attached to them. Even though nuclear bombs have only ever been used once in actual warfare, countries like the United States continue to modernize their tools. From FY17 to FY19, there will be a 3.84 billion increase in spending going towards modernizing bombers like the B-21 Bomber, COLUMBIA-class Submarines, Ground Based Strategic Deterrents, Long Range Standoff Cruise Missiles, Trident II Life Extensions (Submarines), F-35 Dual Capable Aircrafts and B61 Tail Kits (Aircrafts).
As one might expect, a large portion of funding for the DOD is going towards weapons development and modernization. For the Air Force, investment is being directed towards developing the F-35 program, which modernizes the F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter and builds three separate variants of this aircraft for different uses. The budget also allocates funds for both the Air Force and Navy’s procurement of the AIM-120D Advanced Medium Air-to-Air Missle (AMRAAM) and the AIM-9X Block II Sidewinder short range air-to-air missile. The budget also funds the development of the new B-21 Raider, a long range strike bomber, and modernizing the existing fleet of B-52, B-1, and B-2 bombers. In total, the FY 2019 budget allocates $25.6 billion for all aircrafts.
For the Navy, the budget provides for a variety of nuclear aircraft carriers, amphibious warships and multi-missile warships. The budget also especially adds funding for two T- AO 205 Fleet Oilers, which act as power projectors in the sea. Their existence allows other ships to go longer without having to return to port to fuel as they provide logistical support to deployed ships. The Navy is also known for its usage of submarines, for which they are receiving an additional 154 Tomahawk land-attack cruise missiles (TLAMs). The current OHIO-class submarines will begin to be decommissioned in 2020, hence, development for new kinds of submarines will also be underway. In total, the FY 2019 budget allocates $18.4 billion for ships and $18.3 billion for missile defense and deterrence.
According to budget documents, the DOD used more munitions than expected over the last few years. These munitions were largely used in Syria and other Middle Eastern countries to target ISIS. Because of this, the DOD has increased productions of munitions as a whole. From FY 2017 - 2019 the amount of Guided Multiple Launch Rocket Systems has increased by 6,013, Joint Direct Attack Munitions by 10,355 and Advanced Precision Kill Weapon Systems by 9,240.
Part Two of Three. Read Part One Here.
This post kicks off the start of our budget breakdown! We'll start with three weeks about defense spending and then move to other parts of the budget like healthcare and education. If you have any questions or are interested about hearing us speak about this on a podcast, let us know in the comments or via email!
For fiscal year (FY) 2019, the President’s budget request was for $686.1 billion US dollars. From last year, that’s an increase of 5 percent from the President’s 2018 Budget and an increase of 10 percent from last year’s Continuing Resolution (CR). Although the budget this year marks a reverse in a 7-year-decline, defense spending is still a relatively small amount of the US economy. Think back to World War II: defense spending was 35.5 percent of the US economy. Since the 1950s, it has hovered below 10 percent. In FY 2019, the budget reflects defense spending as 3.1 percent of US GDP. Any historical comparison, however, should be treated with caution. Due to inflation, pay raises and unforeseen circumstances —- it is likely that each budget is likely to be ‘the biggest ever.’ It is also difficult to place the current administration in either a wartime or peacetime environment as the US currently has over 90,000 troops abroad but is not engaged in serious combat as it was in World War 2 or the Vietnam War.
Under the Budget Control Act of 2011, discretionary spending was supposed to sink to historically low levels as a share of our national economy. This law imposed limits on such spending through 2021. Since the actual implementation of defense sequestration in 2013, defense spending has actually somewhat decreased. In the FY 2010-2012, the overall funding for the Defense Department (DOD) was over $640 billion. During the next four years, funding for the DOD dropped significantly to under $600 billion per year. While $600 billion is nothing to scoff at, the decrease of $40 billion is also no less important.
However, that is beginning to change. In FY 2017, defense spending came in at $606 billion, the next year $612 billion and in FY 2019, the budget puts defense spending at $686 billion. By 2023, spending for defense is expected to rise to $742 billion. That is $51 billion higher than the budget in 2010. In other words, the era of sequestration is over.
With every budget comes new priorities. For this President, one of his main priorities is investing in Defense. It follows, then, that defense spending would increase. From 2017’s continuing resolution, the budget for 2018 allocated $639 billion for the DOD, a $52 billion increase from the previous year. That money will be spent ”rebuilding, modernizing, and preparing our Armed Forces for the future so that our military remains the world’s preeminent fighting force and we can continue to ensure peace through strength.”
Of the many ways that the President can reinvest in Defense, budget documents have outlined three key strategies: reversing defense sequestration (triggered in 2013), filling critical gaps and building war-fighting readiness and implementing defense reform. As mentioned before, that includes a $52 billion increase in funding for the DOD and a $2 billion increase for national defense programs. That funding will go to implementing a full Readiness Review of the troops, which will cost $21 billion, depot maintenance, shipyard requirements, training and cyber warfare. The DOD also hopes to hire 56,400 more Marines, Soldiers, Sailors and Airmen. While all of this funding will be used for these purposes, the budget also called for reducing the costs of military programs and HQ activities by 25 percent.
Despite documents that state the increase in defense spending will be offset with targeted reductions elsewhere, this new budget will eliminate the defense sequester and raise the cap on defense discretionary spending, and in doing so, increase the deficit. Between 2018-2022, the deficit will have risen by $245 billion but between 2018-2027, it will have risen by $469 billion.
Part One of Three
The US Budget is one of the most talked about and least understood parts of how the American government functions. And it’s no surprise; budgeting is difficult and complex. Imagine your own personal budgeting process and multiply it times 300 million. The number of actors needed for that can’t just be one person, which means the sole power doesn’t directly go to the President.
The Constitution actually ascribes the vague “power of the purse” to Congress. In other words, Congress has the ability to collect taxes, to create taxes and to borrow money. However, as the founders found in many cases, the details of that process remain unclear. Consequently, the process has evolved with our government.Now, there are a series of federal agencies whose sole purposes are to create the budget. They include the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), the Government Accountability Office (GOA) and the Congressional Budget Office (CBO).
Every year, Congress goes through the appropriation process and passes a series of appropriation and authorization bills. Appropriation bills state how much money is allocated to a particular department. Authorization bills actually give the government permission to spend that money.
The Five Steps in the Federal Budget Process
If the budget is not complete by October 1 and it rarely is, then Congress must pass Continuing Resolutions so that federal agencies can still receive funding while negotiations are ongoing. You might remember 2013 where the government shut down. Those were situations when an agreement was not reached and funding was shut off to federal agencies. In fact, Congress has only passed all twelve regular appropriation bills four times between 1977-2012. If Congress can’t decide on twelve separate appropriations bills, they can also pass an omnibus bill - one bill that encompasses twelve funding areas.
Here at Sub-Stances, we’re going to be diving into what makes up the budget, how the funds are redistributed and providing some transparency to the budget process itself. The budget is an important process and one that many Americans only have a surface understanding of. Over the next few months, we’ll be breaking down each segment of the budget and bringing everything into layman’s language. Look forward to deep dives on defense, energy, social security and many more!
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