The USA’s FY 2008 Defense Budget
The US Department of Defense has submitted its FY 2008 budget request for $481.4 billion. This is 9.5% more than the FY 2006 request, and 4% more than the $462.8 billion eventually appropriated by Congress in the FY 2007 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 2007 budget, introduced in February 2005, was signed into law on October 17, 2006 as Public Law No. 109-364.
The US Congress has also made a conscious decision since 9/11 to fund the Global War on Terror’s operational components via supplemental budget requests. In theory, this separates “normal” pay, maintenance, and new equipment buys from war maintenance, aid to allied governments, and replacements for destroyed or broken equipment. The FY 2007 initial supplemental budget request was $70 billion, and this budget request adds $93.4 billion to cover expenses during the remainder of the year.
Resources and Materials
- For maximum detail, go straight to the DoD Comptroller’s mini-site laying out the FY 2008 budget request and supplementary materials in full. If we had to read just one item re: the 2008 budget request, however, it would be the FY 2008 budget rollout attachment [PDF].
- US Navy Newsstand (March 1/07) – DoN Budget Request for FY08 Addresses Near and Long-term Needs. The Department of the Navy’s (DoN) proposed $139.8 billion budget request is described as a $12 billion increase from last year’s baseline. The $14.7 billion FY08 ship construction and aviation procurement plan includes the first CVN-21 aircraft carrier, a Virginia-class submarine, one LPD-17 amphibious assault ship, one T-AKE logistics ship and 3 Littoral Combat Ships. It also calls for 18 EA-18G Growlers; 24 F/A-18E/F Super Hornets; 21 MV-22 Ospreys, unmanned aerial vehicles, mine-resistant ambush protected vehicles (MRAP vehicles, given emphasis in the Navy’s article) and the continued development and procurement of F-35 joint strike fighters.
- DID (March 5/07) – C-17 Production Line Out of Time? Following the FY 2008 budget which offers funds to pack up the production line, and a USAF unfunded request list of just 2 C-17s, Boeing announces preparations to shut down the C-17 production line.
- DID (Feb 23/07) – F136 Engine: More Lives Than Disco? Funding for the F-35’s second engine program was dropped from the FY 2007 budget, but lawmakers put it back. In FY 2008, here we go again.
- DID (Feb 9/07) – USA’s $160+ Billion Future Combat Systems Restructured. A very minor restructuring for the Army’s $160+ billion Future Combat System program – with 4 of the 18 systems in the program deferred, 1 removed from the program, and the fielding rate for the envisioned 15 brigade combat teams stretched from a 2015-2025 period to 2015-2030. Army Maj. Gen. Jeffrey A. Sorenson, deputy for acquisition and systems management, said these changes would eliminate $3.4 billion from its budget over the next 5 fiscal years.
- MarineLOG (Feb 8/07) – $3.5 billion increase in Navy shipbuilding budget. They write:
bq. “In 2001, the Fleet numbered 341 ships compared with a 90-year historic low of just 276 ships today.
bq. The shrinkage of the U.S. Navy is a result of persistently low procurement budgets. Since 2001, the budget for the Department of Defense has increased 68%, excluding war supplementals, while the Navy shipbuilding budget has experienced only a 17% increase. In 1988, the Nation invested $27 billion in today’s dollars to build a Navy. While the FY08 increase is significant, shipbuilding budgets will have to be increased much more if the United States is to continue as the leading sea power.”
- US DoD DefenseLINK (Feb 5/07) – “Warfighter Support Tops Modernization Spending in Budget Request” summarizes key aspects of the request, and this official 2008 budget release links to a PDF summary.
- US DoD DefenseLINK (Feb 5/07) – Pay Raise, Plus-up, War on Terror Highlight Budget Requests. Jim Garamone offers his own run-through of key capital programs and other increases.
- US DoD DefenseLINK (Feb 5/07) – Top DoD Budget Official Outlines War on Terror Costs. Includes all figures since 9/11, and estimates $690 billion from then to end FY 2008. Recall DID’s 2006 coverage of the health care costs issue, especially the long-term impact. Note esp. this item in the DefenseLINK story:
bq. “Jonas also spoke about the $38.8 billion allocated for military health care for fiscal 2008. The budget assumes some change in military health care because health care expenses are rising well above inflation… Under changes suggested [in 2006], certain classes of beneficiaries would have to pay more. Congress did not go along with the request and called for a task force to examine the problem. The 2006 National Defense Authorization Act called for DoD to appoint a 14-member Task Force on the Future of Military Healthcare. DoD announced those selected to serve on the task force on Dec. 22. The task force is scheduled to turn in an interim report to Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates in May. The final report is due in December .”
- Amidst the weapons and other flashy priorities, note especially the issue of future medical costs addressed in the 2006 press conference, and in Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Pace’s February 2006 testimony to the Senate Armed Services Committee. DID recently explained why health costs are a big deal, and deserving of equal billing.
- Center for Defense Information, Strauss Military Reform Project (Feb 6/07) – The 2008 National Security Budget and Briefing Slides. Includes 3 slides from their Feb 5/07 presentation, showing spending in FY 2007 dollars from 1947, supplemental appropriation amounts from 2001-present, and breaking down the FY 2008 national security budget (defense+) into its broad components.
- Center for Defense Information, Strauss Military Reform Project (Feb 5/07) – Update: Experts Give Poor Grades to Expected Defense Budget Proposal. Note that CDI leans toward the liberal-left end of the political spectrum. Interesting quote from Cindy Williams of the MIT Security Studies Program:
bq. “The Defense Department has a history of pushing substantial amounts of realistic expenses off to the future, hoping that it will figure out how to deal with it later. This is not a good idea at a time when the baby boomers are preparing to retire, federal deficits are high and debt is mounting,” Williams said. “By not recognizing the costs, we’re making decisions today that will lead to expenses in the future, but we’re not planning how we’ll pay them.”
- Center for Strategic & Budgetary Assessment (Feb 6/07) – “The Global War on Terror: Costs, Cost Growth and Estimating Funding Requirements” [PDF]. Steve Kosiak’s testimony before the Senate Budget Committee, on behalf of the non-partisan CSBA. See also this 2006 document: “QDR Does Little To Improve Affordability Of Long-Term Defense Plans,” by Steve Kosiak. [ HTML format | PDF]