Update: FY13 PB has been released. Top Pentagon officials gave a briefing yesterday on major budget decisions ahead of the FY13 President Budget request coming on Feb. 13. Highlights among the outlined priorities [PDF]:
- A relatively stable topline at $613.4B, made of a $525B baseline plus $88.4B overseas contingency operations (OCO). The former is a couple billion dollars below the FY10 actual budget and reflects a 5% decrease from the FY12 request, but in reality is just $6B below what DoD ended up getting last year. The OCO funds are 25% lower than last year’s $117.8B request but they remain at a pretty sizable level now that troops have left Iraq. Again, a significant part of the cuts Panetta and House Republicans have most vocally objected to are actually found in a) reductions vs. baseline growth previously projected by DoD – as opposed to net cuts – and b) a drop in war funding which arguably makes sense when you’re withdrawing troops from combat.
- Force and infrastructure adjustments, starting with a new base realignment and closure (BRAC) process. The last one dates from 2005 and wrapped up only very recently. Well, almost. Also, the start of a 5-year process that aims to lower active troops to 490,000 for the Army and 182,000 for the Marines; and a 10% reduction in the number of Air Force tactical air squadrons from today’s 60. A new BRAC is sure to open a whole new can of worms in Congress.
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