The USA’s FY 2007 Defense Budget
The US Department of Defense has submitted its FY 2007 budget request for $439.3 billion. This is 7% more than the FY 2006 request, but slightly less than the $441.5 billion eventually appropriated by Congress in the FY 2006 budget. Note that this is just the first step in a long process that involves bills drawn up in both the House of Representatives and the US Senate, which will add some things, subtract others, and impose conditions. Then the House and Senate bills must be reconciled in committee into one common bill for the President to sign into law. Last year’s FY 2006 budget, introduced in February 2005, was finally signed into law on December 30, 2005.
This budget would wait until October 17, 2006 for Presidential signature as Public Law No. 109-364. It provides $462.8 billion in budget authority, and Senate and House conferees added the $70 billion defense supplemental budget request to the act – overall, therefore, the act authorizes $532.8 billion for FY 2007.
Because this budget was put together in parallel with the 2006 Quadrennial Defense Review, it bears some imprints from that process and begins to implement some of the QDR’s proposed directions. Rather than try to summarize such a vast document for our readers, DID will simply link you to the key source and ancillary materials, which contain their own summaries as well as access to more detailed information.
- For maximum detail, go straight to the DoD Comptroller’s mini-site laying out the FY 2007 budget request and supplementary materials in full.
- GovTrack.us (updated Oct 17/06) – 109th U.S. Congress (2005-2006)
- US Congress, THOMAS (updated Oct 17/06) – Report of the Committee on Armed Services House of Representatives on H.R. 5122 together with Additional and Dissenting Views (Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office, plus charts and tables; documents in PDF format)
- The February 6, 2006 DefenseLINK release that summarizes key aspects of the request, and a transcript of the resulting press conference which contains lots of good questions and useful tidbits (also slides in PDF format).
- US DoD DefenseLINK (Oct 17/06) – President Signs 2007 Defense Authorization Act. Gives a number of program figures. Note this item: “The $70 billion supplemental provision covers the cost of ongoing operations in Iraq, Afghanistan and the Horn of Africa, as well as other expenses affiliated with the war on terrorism. The supplemental funding also provides $23.8 billion to help “reset” Army and Marine Corps equipment, which is wearing out faster than originally planned because of the war.” See DID’s FOCUS article re: the RESET effort.
- Wall St. Journal OpinionJournal (Oct 20/06) – Our Small Defense Budget: This is no way to fund a war. Comes with interesting charts. The statistical core: Overall defense outlays for fiscal year 2007 are on track to surpass – in dollars adjusted for inflation – defense spending at the height of the Vietnam War. On the other hand, spending as a percentage of GDP is at just under 4% and as a share of federal outlays it’s 19.8% – both lower than the pre-Reagan levels of the 1970s.
- Amidst the weapons and special forces priorities, note especially the issue of future medical costs addressed in the press conference, and in Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Pace’s testimony to the Senate Armed Services Committee. DID recently explained why health costs are a big deal, and deserving of equal billing.
- US DoD DefenseLINK (Feb 7/06) – Rumsfeld Speaks on Process Behind Budget, QDR. Key sound bite: that no nation has the resources or capability to defend against every conceivable attack, which is why the military must “focus on developing a range of capabilities, rather than preparing to confront any one particular threat.” DID’s QDR coverage suggests that many outside the Pentagon are less than happy with the balances struck. We shall see if that plays out in the FY 2007 budget’s reception and modification in Congress.
- (NEW) Center for Defense Information, Strauss Military Reform Project (Feb 14/06) – Briefing on DOD’s QDR and 2007 Budget. Includes slides from their Feb 10/06 presentation. Money quote: “In their depictions of the defense budget, both liberals and conservatives bias their typical presentations to conform to their preconceptions. These days, few consider a depiction of the threat.”
- Defense Tech reports that Steven Kosiak, with the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, thinks there’s a “significant mismatch” between the Pentagon’s “modernization plans and [its] projected funding levels. The new budget “would do little to improve the affordability.” Or read the relevant reports directly:
- Center for Strategic & Budgetary Assessment (Feb 7/06) – FY 2007 Request; DOD Budget Continues to Grow, Modest Program Cuts [PDF]. Described as “A first cut review of the FY 2007 defense budget request; continued growth, modest cuts. Steve Kosiak’s initial analysis.”
- Center for Strategic & Budgetary Assessment (Feb 3/06) – QDR Does Little To Improve Affordability Of Long-Term Defense Plans, by Steve Kosiak. [ HTML format | PDF format]
- Associated Press (Feb 6/06) – Military budget grows, but troops shrink. DID has talked before about the coming “maintenance overhang.” It’s starting to bite.
- Plans to cut the number of troops in the National Guard look like they’re going nowhere in Congress. Meanwhile, the US Army Reserves are moving into what they call a “5 year readiness cycle.”
- US Navy (Feb 9/06) – Navy Leaders Budget for 21st Century Sailor, Future Force. Buying plans for FY 2007 include 2 Littoral Combat Ships, 2 DD(X) destroyers, 1 Virginia-class submarine, 1 LHA (R), 1 T-AKE, 12 EA-18G Growlers, 14 MV-22 Ospreys, 30 F/A-18 E/F Super Hornets, 21 T-45 Goshawks/JPATS, and 4 KC-130J tankers.
- The US Navy submitted its fleet expansion plan. It hopes to grow from 281 ships this year to 313 within several years, though the number of aircraft carriers would drop by one (to 11). “We need to stop getting smaller,” said Adm. Mike Mullen, the chief of naval operations. That may be hard to do with the 5-8 destroyer DD (X) program eating up so much of the shipbuilding budget, even with projects like Stiletto stealth ships and increased funding for the new Littoral Combat Ships.
- The US Air Force has its own release re: QDR and FY 2007 budget request highlights.
- Inside Defense (Feb 7/05) – Air Force Budget Boosts Unmanned Aircraft. RQ-4 Global Hawks and MQ-1 Predator UAVs will be the main beneficiaries, and Special Operations will get their own UAVs. DID covered the Predator force’s planned expansion back in March 2005, and has covered other planned Predator enhancements since. This budget request is the beginning of that implementation.
- Defense Tech has a piece that links to a detailed breakdown of the Department of Homeland Security budget request – which does not fall under the DoD, but is included as it is related.
- The Virginian-Pilot has an article that looks at the US Coast Guard’s FY 2007 budget requests, which are tied into its “deepwater” modernization plan. DID has covered Deepwater’s various facets, and also its potential problems. All concerned are hoping for more of the first, and less of the second.