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Editorial: A Budget Without Clarity

Mar. 9, 2014 - 04:20PM   |  
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The Obama administration’s 2015 budget request submitted last week is among the most complex in memory, appearing to confuse Pentagon officials, lawmakers, analysts and reporters alike.

The administration rightly built its 2015 request in line with current spending caps and is asking for $26 billion in 2015 to shore up near-term readiness shortfalls.

It also seeks $115 billion in additional spending in its five-year budget plan — over and above budget caps — to pay for modernization programs and ensure readiness.

But the plan still seems half-baked.

The status of major programs was changing even as the budget was being rolled out. The White House ordered the Pentagon only about a month ago to add back more troops and the Navy’s 11th aircraft carrier, which the Pentagon had planned to cut.

In fairness, they’ve got time to work out those details and redirect about $15 billion in funding in the years that follow — assuming Congress goes along with the plan.

But given the magnitude of help the administration needs from Congress to raise spending, close bases and reform military compensation, it’s got to do a better job detailing and explaining its decisions and providing the full rationale behind them.

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