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Budgets | Guest Articles | Industry & Trends | Other Corporation | USA

2012 Defense budget outlook: The new certainty

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(click to view full) Guest Article by Lou Crenshaw, Vice Admiral U.S. Navy (ret.) The 2011 defense budget was characterized as a budget about uncertainty. Budget officials struggled to make ends meet in what seemed to be an endless stream of continuing resolutions (CRs), debt ceiling crises and impending government shutdowns. There was doubt about the continuing presence of U.S. forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, and planners were uncertain about what a post-Iraq war presence would look like. Given the lack of clear guidance, future force structure levels were practically impossible to predict. DoD officials were also concerned about the loss of supplemental funding and how to accommodate the migration of baseline expenses into supplemental funds. The newly appointed secretary of defense, Leon Panetta, had presumably been appointed to oversee a massive defense budget restructuring. Given his reputation as a tough but savvy budgeteer, DoD officials were uncertain about how aggressive he would be; they were still stinging from the relatively modest cuts mandated by Secretary Gates. In short, it was a very difficult year for Defense Department planners and budgeteers to put into place any sort of long-term plan that would adequately address the security challenges facing the nation […]

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