04 Mar 14. President Barack Obama today sent Congress a proposed defense budget of $495.6 billion in discretionary budget authority to fund base defense programs in fiscal year 2015.
The request is $0.4 billion less than the enacted FY 2014 appropriation and is consistent with the current budget caps. The Opportunity, Growth, and Security Initiative — a government-wide initiative — requests an additional $26 billion in FY 2015 to address significant readiness and modernization challenges. In the years from FY 2016 to FY 2019, the Department of Defense (DoD) is asking for funding that exceeds the current budget caps by a total of approximately $115 billion in order to meet defense requirements.
This DoD budget request supports the strategy in the 2014 Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR), which is being released in conjunction with the budget request. The 2014 QDR builds upon and updates the strategy submitted in January 2012, “Sustaining U.S. Global Leadership: Priorities for 21st Century Defense,” preparing for the future by rebalancing our defense efforts in a period of fiscal challenges.
The DoD budget request reflects a balance between readiness, capacity, and capability. It seeks efficiencies, including another round of base realignment and closure, and slower growth in military compensation in order to free up funds to minimize cuts in force size and readiness. Even with these initiatives, the force gets smaller and modernization programs are streamlined under this budget with changes made in a manner that reflects the new QDR. The net result is a military force that can fulfill the defense strategy, but with some increased levels of risk. The department can manage these risks under the President’s 2015 Budget plan, but risks would grow significantly if as current law requires sequester-level cuts return in 2016, if proposed reforms are not accepted, or if uncertainty over budget levels continues.
Commenting on the DoD request for FY 2015, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said, “This is a budget that recognizes the reality of the magnitude of our fiscal challenges, the dangerous world we live in, and the American military’s unique and indispensable role in this country and in today’s volatile world.”
For Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) operations in FY 2015, the budget only includes a placeholder of $79 billion, an amount equal to the request for FY 2014. Once conditions permit a decision about the scope of the enduring U.S. presence in Afghanistan, a formal budget amendment will be proposed to specify and fund OCO needs in FY 2015.
The QDR advances a broader strategic framework emphasizing three pillars – protect the homeland, to deter and defeat threats to the United States and to mitigate the effects of potential attacks and natural disasters; build security globally, to preserve regional stability, deter adversaries, support allies and partners, and cooperate with others to address common security challenges; and project power and win decisively, to defeat aggression, disrupt and destroy terrorist networks, and provide humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.
The QDR highlights the imperative for institutional reform to implement this strategy. Controlling cost growth and generating greater efficiencies will allow the DoD to maximize its readiness and combat power over the long term.
“This QDR defines the historic transition unfolding throughout our defense enterprise. As we move off the longest continuous war footing in our nation’s history, this QDR explains how we will adapt, reshape, and rebalance our military for the challenges and opportunities of the future,” said Hagel.
“Today’s world requires a strategy that is neither budget driven nor budget blind. We need a strategy that can be implemented with a realistic level of resources, and that is what this QDR provides,” said Hagel.
The QDR establishes DoD’s force planning construct t