U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel unveiled a $527 billion budget request for fiscal 2014 Wednesday, a spending plan $52 billion above federal spending caps. (AFP)
WASHINGTON — The U.S. Defense Department unveiled a $527 billion budget request for fiscal 2014 Wednesday, a spending plan $52 billion above federal spending caps.
The spending plan proposes increases in both research-and-development (R&D) funding and procurement spending compared to 2013 sequestered levels, although the R&D figure is less than the agency requested in 2013.
Pentagon officials say the fiscal 2014 proposal deepens its commitment to the overarching military strategy unveiled in January 2012. One of the main tenets of that strategy is an increased focus on the Asia-Pacific region.
Whether that strategy remains intact is yet to be seen as the Pentagon has already been hit with a $41 billion cut in fiscal 2013, the result of the first year of 10 years of sequestration. The immediate budget reductions have prompted the curtailment of military training and civilian workers are facing 14-day furloughs.
The Budget Control Act of 2011 caps Pentagon spending at $475 billion in 2014.
DoD’s $527 billion 2014 request lays out $137 billion for personnel, $99.3 billion for procurement, $67.5 billion for R&D and $9.5 billion for construction.
Personnel costs grew $1.7 billion over fiscal 2013 enacted levels — if the sequester is not included, despite reductions in the uniformed force. Operations and maintenance fell $650 million, procurement fell $540 million and R&D took a $1.9 billion hit compared to 2013, if the sequester is not included in the numbers. With the sequester factored into the 2013 enacted budget, operations and maintenance would climb $15.4 billion, procurement would be up $10 billion and R&D would climb $4.1 billion in the 2014 budget request.
The Air Force was the only service to see its budget rise in the 2014 request compared to the enacted 2013 budget without sequester — a hike of $4.6 billion.
The Pentagon has requested a base closure round in 2015. Last year, DoD proposed a round of base closures; Congress immediately rejected the request.
The 2014 request includes an additional $88 billion “placeholder” to fund war operations in Afghanistan. DoD plans to submit a war budget request in late April or early May.
The Pentagon said its budget proposal would save $13.7 billion by terminating and restructuring programs. This includes terminating the Precision Tracking Space System, the future Space Based Surveillance follow-on and “redundant” unmanned vertical take-off and landing aircraft.
The request also delays procurement of new Apache helicopters and reduces Army Light Utility Helicopter procurement.
With the increased focus on the Pacific and drawdown of forces in Afghanistan, experts have said the Air Force and Navy should see budget increases over the next decade, while Army spending is expected to shrink.
In the Pentagon’s 2014 budget request, the Army would receive $129.7 billion, a 3.6 percent increase from DoD’s enacted 2013 budget once the sequester is included. The Navy budget would climb to $155.8 billion, up 4.6 percent. The Air Force budget would jump nearly 11 percent to $144.4 billion compared to the sequestered 2013 enacted budget and the defense-wide numbers would climb 9 percent to $96.8 billion.
If the sequester is not factored into the 2013 enacted numbers, just as the 2014 budget does not reflect the cuts required by law, the services’ budgets look less robust. The Army request is down 1.7 percent from the enacted budget, the Navy is requesting just under 2 percent less, and the Air Force budget request total is up only 3.3 percent.
DoD has requested $4.7 billion for cyber-related operations, an $800 million increase from the level enacted in 2013. It also requested $5.4 billion for the Virginia-class submarine program, $2 billion for 21 Boeing EA-18G Growler jamming aircraft, $2.1 billion for 18 Lockheed Martin C-130J cargo planes, $3.2 billion for precision munitions, $3.8 billion for the 16 Boeing P-8A surveillance aircraft and $1.9 billion for five United Launch Alliance Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicles.
DoD requested $8.4 billion for 29 Lockheed Martin F-35 joint strike fighters: 19 for the Air Force, six for the Marine Corps and four for the Navy. Of that, $1.9 billion is for development efforts.
The Air Force requested $1.6 billion for continued development of the Boeing KC-46A aerial refueling tanker and $400 million to design and develop a new bomber.
The Air Force proposal also requests $507 million for 12 General Atomics MQ-9 Reapers; $1.2 billion for four Lockheed MC-130Js, one HC-130J and five AC-130 gunships; $231 million for three Bell-Boeing CV-22 Ospreys; and $397 million for two new combat rescue helicopters. The service also requested $1.2 billion for two Lockheed Martin GPS III satellites.
The Navy has requested $14.3 billion for shipbuilding programs. Of that, $1.7 billion is requested for the second year the construction of the aircraft carrier John F. Kennedy and completion costs for the carrier Gerald R. Ford.
It also includes a $5.4 billion request for two Virginia-class subs and advance procurement funding for two ships planned in 2015. The Navy also requested $2 billion for one Arleigh Burke-class destroyer, $2.4 billion for four littoral combat ships and $524 million for one afloat forward staging base. It also requested funds for four air-cushioned landing craft service-life extensions. The Ohio-class ballistic-missile submarine replacement program received $1 billion in the request.
As for aircraft, the Navy requested funding $1.4 billion for five Northrop Grumman E-2D Hawkeyes, $167 million for two Marine Corps Lockheed KC-130J tankers, $868.1 million for 25 Bell AH-1Z/UH-1Y helicopters, $1.5 billion for 18 Bell Boeing V-22 Ospreys, $847 million for 19 Lockheed/Sikorsky MH-60R helicopters, $455 million for 18 Lockheed MH-60s helicopters, funding one Northrop Grumman MQ-8 Fire Scout unmanned aircraft and $252 million for 29 Beechcraft T-6 trainers.
The Army requested $1.8 billion for network-related efforts, $395 million for Stryker vehicles, $178 million for Abrams tank upgrades and $158 million for Bradley modernization.
As for aircraft, the Army requested $1 billion for six new and 22 remanufactured Boeing CH-47F helicopters, $184 million for Bell OH-58 upgrades, $1.2 billion for 65 Sikorsky Black Hawk helicopters, $813 million for 42 remanufactured Boeing AH-64 Apache helicopters, $96 million for 10 Eurocopter UH-72 Lakota helicopters and $518 million for 15 General Atomics MQ-1 Gray Eagle unmanned aircraft.