#KEM Quarterly on Defense: FY 2016 Defense Budget Strategy vs. “Agile, Efficient, Ready & Lethal” U.S. Forces

KEM continues to monitor and work with partners on the FY 2016 Defense Budget Strategy’s ability to ensure that U.S. Armed Forces are “agile, efficient, ready, and lethal” and able to sustain national defense capacities in a complex and unsafe world.

This ability is eroding due to a combination of (but not limited to) the following:

  • Acquisition system dysfunctions and growing budget uncertainty (Sequestration, BCA Caps, CR again & using OCO to fill the gaps
  • Emerging and unprecedented global threats including sophistication of cyber capabilities and military intelligence
  • Rapid technology changes and a closing technology gap
  • Required 21st Century U.S. DoD personnel reforms
Ashton Carter

Secretary Carter, 10/14/2015 (Defense.gov)

As Defense Secretary Ash Carter remarked at the Association of the U.S. Army in Washington, D.C., October 14, 2015, “We cannot as a nation allow this to become the new normal,” he said. “In today’s security environment we need to be dynamic and we need to be responsive. What we have now is a straitjacket.”

Add to this that for the 7th year in a row Congress has failed to pass a defense appropriations bill while for 4 years The Department of Defense (DoD) has worked against sequestration impacts, as noted by Secretary Carter, further impacts DoD’s ability to preserve agility and responsiveness.  In addition to providing for the common defense, it is key for the U.S. to provide funding for identified platforms and programs noted in the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2016  above and beyond the necessary operations and maintenance activities.

The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2016 is a bill that does not appropriate funding but sets the funding.  The NDAA creates the authority to spend money on a wider range of programs across the different services; however, due to the continuing resolution (CR) passed on 9/30/2015, this stop gap measure keeps spending at FY 2015 levels with a slight bump due to the temporary war fund.

KEM continues to monitor and work with partners on the FY 2016 Defense Budget Strategy especially over the next week as the President is expected to veto the NDAA FY 2016 mainly due to funding concerns in the overseas contingency operations (OCO) account.