On normal years the US Department of Defense goes through a complicated-enough process to establish and finalize its budget. But whereas FY 2012 offered a welcome return to normalcy after a very long continuing resolution, the budgeting cycle for fiscal year 2013 unfolded in an unproductive, fractious political environment.
As fiscal year 2012 came to a close Congress bought time with a continuing resolution. And as the new civil year started, Congress begrudgingly applied a short-term patch to avoid the fiscal cliff, while the President eventually signed a FY13 authorization bill containing language he had threatened to veto for months. By March 2013 everyone seemed to capitulate to wrap up appropriations for the rest of the year. But FY13 appropriations ended up including sequestration, an outcome that few had predicted since the Budget Control Act was passed in 2011. The FY14 budget cycle then started late, with only dim hope of a more reasonable outcome.