- Seattle socialist: Minimum-wage discussion skewed by ‘right-wing’ GAO analysis
- U.N. warns of Muslim ‘cleansing’ in Central African Republic
- Senate blocks change to military sex assault cases
- Drug mix may have cured child born with HIV, doctors say
- De Blasio’s wife irks former mansion chef with ‘servant’ remark
- Russia’s neighbors shiver amid Putin’s Cold War moves in Ukraine
- New SAT: The essay portion is to become optional
- Military group can’t march to honor the fallen at Boston Marathon due to security changes
- Senate passes bills deleting ‘retarded’ from laws
- China announces biggest military hike in 3 years: We are not ‘boy scouts with spears’
Pentagon budget ignores sequester, puts off cost-saving
The White House’s defense budget request for fiscal 2014 calls for a new round of base closures, the termination of at least two weapons systems and continued funding of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter project.
At $526 billion, the fiscal 2014 defense budget is only slightly lower than the White House’s $528 billion requests for 2010 and 2011.
The budget anticipates savings from closing bases, which would not start until 2016 if approved by Congress; ending or restructuring “lower priority and poorly performing” weapons programs; reducing the number of active-duty personnel and contractors; and slowing the growth of military pay and benefits.
Weapons programs that would be terminated include the Missile Defense Agency Precision Tracking Space System, which aims to provide space-based tracking of ballistic missiles, and the Expeditionary Combat Support System, which was to consolidate and automate the Air Force’s logistics operations.
At least two programs would be restructured — the Standard Missile-3 Block IIB, which is being designed to counter ballistic missiles, and the Ground Combat Vehicle, which would replace the Army’s armored fighting vehicles.
Investments would include $8.4 billion for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program, which has been plagued by cost overruns and production delays; $10.9 billion for ship construction; $9.2 billion for missile defense; and $379 million for the development of a penetrating bomber.
The budget’s call for base closings — using a process called Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) — backtracks on a campaign promise by President Obama.
“BRAC is the only effective means of achieving infrastructure consolidation,” the Pentagon said. “This BRAC round adds $2.4 billion to costs in the next five years but would eventually save substantial sums. The actual closing of bases would involve a multiyear process that would not start until 2016, after the economy is projected to have more fully recovered.”
During a campaign interview with a Virginia radio station, Mr. Obama said now is not the time for base closings.
“We just went through some base closings, and the strategy that we have does not call for that,” he said.
In fact, his proposed fiscal 2013 budget at that time did call for a new BRAC. Then-Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta and the Joint Chiefs of Staff had testified to Congress in the winter of 2012 that they desperately needed to close excess properties.
Under the 2014 budget request, military personnel would receive a 1 percent pay raise, down from a planned increase of 1.4 percent. Basic housing allowances would increase by 4.2 percent, and subsistence allowances by 3.4 percent.
Despite these cost-cutting measures, the 2014 defense budget request is $34 billion higher than the actual 2013 defense budget, and only $6 billion lower than the fiscal 2013 budget request — not counting automatic spending cuts that began March 1, according to Pentagon figures.
The budget request is designed to implement the president’s defense strategy, unveiled last year, even though the Pentagon is undergoing a review of that strategy with regard to the automatic spending cuts known as sequestration.
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Kristina Wong is a national security reporter for The Washington Times, covering defense, foreign policy and intelligence affairs. She can be reached at email@example.com.
- Despite Pentagon cuts and eye on Pacific, Air Force implored to save the 'Warthog'
- Pentagon welcomes budget deal but says more defense spending needed
- Rep. Hunter to Pentagon: Don't lower combat standards for women
- Scientists raise alarm over plan to destroy Syria's chemical weapons at sea
- Hagel renews Qatar defense pact despite differences over Iran, Syria
TWT Video Picks
By Tammy Bruce
- Bill Clinton cashes in on struggling nonprofit hospital
- Putin has transformed Russian army into a lean, mean fighting machine
- Aronofsky's 'Noah' banned in Qatar, Bahrain, United Arab Emirates
- Christine O'Donnell eager to re-engage in political debate
- Kim Jong-un calls for execution of 33 Christians
- Bill Clinton poses for photo with Bunny Ranch prostitutes
- DELAY: A revolution for the Constitution
- PRUDEN: Likening Putin to Hitler on Ukraine shows Hillary's shaky grasp of history
- Back to the Future: HUVr Tech marketing video goes viral with hoverboard release tease
- Russias Putin nominated for Nobel Peace Prize
Pope Francis meets his 'mini-me'
Celebrity deaths in 2014
Winter storm hits states — again