WASHINGTON — Like any complex organization, DoD adds and removes budget lines — the most granular spending category presented in its annual budget requests — from year to year.
In the 2015 request, Pentagon budgeteers added 103 new lines worth a total of just under $9 billion, according to analysis by VisualDoD, a Virginia-based defense consulting firm. That’s up from last year’s 61 lines totaling about $2 billion. They also deleted 21 lines that received a total of $5.2 billion in the 2014 budget.
Some of the added lines have obvious reasons for being. For example, new WIN-T Increment 2 and WIN-T Increment 3 lines support the Army’s growing battlefield communications program.
Some lines are making a reappearance. The Navy reinserted a line for advance procurement of LPD-17 amphibious ships, a spending category last seen in 2013.
The reasons for others are not immediately apparent. For example, the new Paladin Integrated Management research, development, test and evaluation (RDT&E) line seems to duplicate the existing Paladin RDT&E line. The upcoming 2015 budget justification documents should shed some light.
“The DoD said there will be no new starts in this year’s budget. And while that might be true for major platforms, that doesn’t mean there aren’t new ways of funding existing systems and the Pentagon’s operations,” said Michael Cadenazzi, CEO of VisualDoD. “These new additions include funding for Space Fence, which was planned for award in 2014; unmanned systems; littoral combat ship; and next generation air dominance; among others.”
In addition, there are six lines totaling $125 million added last year in response to congressional queries and kept by Pentagon planners in the 2015 budget. These are generally single appropriations lines that have been split to answer lawmakers’ requests for more detail, mostly about Missile Defense Agency programs. ■