Pentagon unveils $686 billion military budget for FY19

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American funding to deter Russia may not grow next year, Mattis says
By: Aaron Mehta
13.02.2018

BRUSSELS — A special fund set up for European requirements is not guaranteed to grow again next year after it received a nearly $2 billion increase in the fiscal 2019 budget request, U.S. Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis said Tuesday.

The Pentagon’s European Deterrence Initiative, initially called the European Reassurance Initiative, was created to help Eastern European allies rest easier and deter Russia from further incursion into Europe following what the West perceives as an illegal annexation of Crimea and continued aggression in the region.

The FY19 budget request included $6.5 billion for the EDI — an increase over the $4.8 billion requested in FY18 and a steep increase from the $3.4 billion received for FY17. But Mattis was clear that those year-over-year increases are no guarantee that another plus-up will be coming in FY20.

“No, I do not see it increasing every year going forward,” Mattis told reporters while traveling in Europe.

However, asked if that meant this year’s EDI figure would be the high watermark for the account, Mattis said everything would be decided based on the situation in Europe at the time. He reiterated a call for NATO nations to develop plans to spend 2 percent of gross domestic product on defense, a target encouraged by the alliance.
“We are where we’re at. We’re in good position. We also see the rest of the alliance climbing in their commitment,” Mattis said.

His comments came hours after NATO Secretary General Jens Stolenberg announced that eight NATO nations would hit the 2 percent GDP target this year, and that by 2024, 15 of the 29 nations should be there.

“This is substantial progress and a good start. But we still have a long way to go,” Stoltenberg said Tuesday.

https://www.defensenews.com/smr/federal-budget/2018/02/13/american-funding-to-deter-russia-may-not-grow-next-year-mattis-says/
 

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White House budget chief: Military was more important than deficit cutting
By: Joe Gould
2 hours ago
15.02.2018


WASHINGTON — White House budget Director Mick Mulvaney defended President Trump’s abandonment of his campaign pledge to erase the national debt as necessary to secure military funding.

“It’s not hypocritical,” said Mulvaney, who served in Congress as a deficit hawk.

“I think the president takes deficits very clearly, but he also recognizes we live in a world where in order to get the funding that we needed for the Defense Department— that we considered critical, and a priority of ours, we had to agree to higher non-defense discretionary levels than we would have liked,” Mulvaney said.

The deal to ease budget caps signed by Trump last week lets Congress boost spending for both defense and non-defense programs by $300 billion over the next two years while suspending the debt ceiling for one year.

Critics have called unrealistic the new fiscal 2019 budget’s projections of $3 trillion in deficit reduction through 3 percent annual growth projections and $1.7 trillion in mandatory savings, bringing the U.S. to within 1 percent of GDP by 2028.

As a member of Congress, Mulvaney criticized the Obama administration over deficit spending and pushed back on lawmaker efforts to prioritize military spending over deficit reductions.

Before the Senate Budget Committee on Tuesday, he said if he were still a member of Congress, he “probably” would vote against a deficit-financed budget plan he and Trump are proposing. OMB has since clarified, saying he would have voted against a two-year budget deal reached last week

On Wednesday, Mulvaney defended the budget proposal as adhering to that deal in a tense exchange with Massachusetts Rep. Seth Moulton, the top Democrat on the House Armed Services Committee’s sub panel on oversight.

Moulton highlighted candidate Trump’s statement — made in a 2016 Washington Post interview — that he would wipe out America’s debt in eight years.

“So, is it safe to say that the president no longer intends to end deficits — end the national debt after eight years, which is what he said?” Moulton said.

“I don’t think it’s possible to, at this point, given what has happened in the last 12 months, especially to pay off the debt in eight years,” Mulvaney replied.

When Moulton questioned whether this was hypocrisy, Mulvaney pushed back.

“This recognizes the reality in Washington, D.C., right now, which is — with all due respect — your party insists on a dollar-for-dollar ransom for military spending, and we can’t change that, especially with the 60-vote rule in the Senate,” he said.

“Your ransom is my investment, and as a veteran of the military,” Moulton shot back. “I think there is nothing we can do to further our chances of defeating great-world adversaries like Russia and China than to invest in things like education.”

The House Budget Committee’s chairman, Rep. Steve Womack, R-Ark., earlier in the hearing welcomed the president’s fiscal 2019 budget as addressing national security, the opioid crisis and border security.

“Without question, there are plenty of worthwhile ideas included in the president’s budget this year,” Womack said. “First, I am encouraged that the administration prioritizes and boosts the investment in our national defense. With mounting threats to our security, both at home and abroad, it is critical that we provide for a strong and capable military.”

https://www.defensenews.com/congress/2018/02/14/white-house-budget-chief-military-was-more-important-than-deficit-cutting/
 

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Its totally hypocritical. I like Mulvaney overall, but he is covering up for GOP here big time.

If GOP cannot hold to its own stated goals (and the really stupid part is it also at one point was a democrat goal too and quite bipartisan issue overall), then people simply turnout for them based on the Trump stuff just like now dem base is segregating to vote on the far left nonsense. This is very volatile, polarised reactionary-ism and is not good. Both sides have effectively decided to ignore the sword of damocles still staring at the US economy (where does the seignorage (and thus borrowing buffer) of USD bottom out and create massive emperor has no clothes environment).....and are becoming over reliant on spending their ways out of the debt, by way of terribly managed social welfare from the dem side and military spending from the GOP side....big govt (and big+growing captive vote ppl) welcomes it, US productive ppl (and esp their children) get crushed long term.

No one learns from history....seems the long run of the US is largely due to very excellent founding father ideology...but the grand long term decline (whenever you have unfettered "democracy" that seeks to expand for expansion sake rather than using basic stark facts to operate in a stable window....i.e the change from higher guided merit control to sheer populism) that Socrates always warned about basically is inevitable everywhere.
 

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Army looking to funnel potential budget boost into modernization
By: Meghann Myers  
21.02.2018

After two decades of ups and downs, the Army is preparing for its biggest base budget in history. The service is staring down the end of Congress’s latest continuing resolution, but if a budget deal becomes law at the end of March, the Army is preparing to use the extra $6.5 billion it would get in this year’s latest proposed budget.

Those extra funds would likely go straight into the Army’s modernization plans, Lt. Gen. Thomas Horlander, the military deputy to Army’s comptroller, said Wednesday.
“We’re posturing ourselves to take an increase in our top line,” Horlander said. “If we get what we would like in the increase in ‘18, much of it is in our modernization account.”

Waiting half of a fiscal year to find out whether a funding boost is coming isn’t the preference, he said.
“Obviously, it’s not ideal, when you get a funding decision — and funding deal — late in the year.” he said. “But I’ll tell you, when it’s an increase, it’s greatly appreciated.”

President Trump’s fiscal 2019 budget proposal looks to build on that increase, kicking the Army’s budget up from $175 billion this year, if the proposed 2018 budget passes, to $182 billion next year.

While the budget is trending downward from the height of the Global War on Terror, when the Army was working with more than $250 billion a year, its base budget is higher than it’s ever been at $148 billion, when you factor out overseas contingency funds.

Just over 60 percent of that is allotted for military personnel programs, including a 2.6 percent pay raise, and a gradual uptick in Army end strength. The service is slated to add 7,500 to the active component and 500 to the Reserve in 2018, followed by another 4,000 active in 2019.

A request for $2.6 billion more in the military personnel account will cover not only recruiting and retention of more soldiers, but their training and sustainment.

“It’s not just about recruiting bonuses and retention bonuses — it also has a lot to do with our institutional Army, our training base,” Horlander said. “It’s between two and three billion more over the next two years. Some of that, not all of that, contributes to end strength growth.”

Despite operation on a fifth continuing resolution in a row, and two short government shutdowns since the year began, Horlander said he’s optimistic about where Army funding is heading.
“I would tell you now, I think we’re in a much better place financially than we have been in a while,” he said.

https://www.defensenews.com/news/your-army/2018/02/21/army-looking-to-funnel-potential-budget-boost-into-modernization/?utm_source=Sailthru&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=DFN DNR 2.21.18&utm_term=Editorial - Daily News Roundup
 

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Republicans jeopardizing Pentagon budget boost, lawmaker says
By: Joe Gould
06 March 2018

WASHINGTON — The Pentagon’s two-year budget boost may unravel next year if Republicans fiddle with the domestic side of the deal, the top Democrat on the House Armed Services Committee warned Tuesday.

“You have the second year of the budget agreement, and that’s great, but that, too, is uncertain because there are certain Republicans who have already started to make noise that nondefense discretionary [spending can be lowered],” said HASC ranking member Adam Smith, D-Wash.

“I don’t think that’s the way Democrats looked at it during the course of negotiations, so that could cause uncertainty as well,” Smith said at the McAleese and Associates/Credit Suisse defense conference in Washington.

After months of wrangling on Capitol Hill, the budget deal signed by President Donald Trump last month increases discretionary spending caps over the next two years by $165 billion for defense and $131 billion for nondefense.

Smith offered a counterpoint to a call for a 355-ship Navy from Senate Armed Services Seapower Subcommittee Chairman Roger Wicker, R-Miss. Building up the Navy, Wicker said, would address the causes of two fatal ship collisions last year and align with the new National Defense Strategy’s focus on great powers Russia and China.

“The budget request was good, but it wasn’t good enough,” Wicker said. “The Navy’s 2019 budget request was for $22 billion for 10 ships. We want them to come up with $26 billion for 14 new ships.”

Smith, a vocal critic of congressional budgeting dysfunction, argued the Republican-led tax cuts were inconsistent with increased defense spending. He called for a means-based defense strategy and argued projections for a 355-ship Navy are “pure fantasy.”

“It’s simply a number thrown out there,” Smith said. “I think they’ve said they hope to achieve a 355-ship Navy by 2050. It’s so far off in the distance. We can barely predict what’s going to happen two months from now.”

The Navy performed a 2016 Force Structure assessment that explains the requirement for a 355-ship fleet, but a recent Center for Strategic and International Studies report has raised doubts about whether the Navy can afford it, given that it struggles to control costs for its current 277-ship fleet.

Wicker and Smith did seem to agree Congress should stretch 2018 appropriations for the Pentagon in some way to compensate for the appropriations likely to come halfway into the fiscal year. Under existing rules, the Pentagon must spend or lose one-year operations and maintenance dollars.

Wicker and SASC Chairman John McCain, R-Ariz., sponsored legislation that would address the systemic causes of the collisions and let the Navy spend O&M money as late as in the fiscal year after it’s appropriated.

Asked how he would grapple with potential opposition from appropriators, Wicker argued the collapse of regular order necessitates his remedy. “I think we should try on this one area that … has been problematic,” he said.

Military leaders at the conference said they would welcome leeway to spread money. Gen. Glenn Walters, the Marine Corps’ No. 2 uniformed officer, said stopgap spending bills have delayed the maintenance on ships, which in turn delays training.

“The problem with one-year money is if you only get it for six months, it’s really difficult because what you can’t recover is time,” Walters said. “Time behind me is less training and less-ready forces.”

Smith predicted the Pentagon would be unable to spend the money before the end of fiscal 2018, fueling a record number of Pentagon requests to reprogram funding — whether or not Congress formalizes a flexible funding arrangement.

Wicker and Smith also shared optimism that Congress would pass an omnibus spending bill for FY18 before the latest funding patch expires March 23.

Because Congress has yet to reach a final budget agreement for FY18, which began Oct. 1, 2017, the military has been operating at 2017 spending levels.

Without congressional action, the military would have five months or less to spend the big bump afforded by the deal on budget top lines, which provides national defense nearly $700 billion for FY18 and $716 billion for FY19.

https://www.defensenews.com/congress/2018/03/06/republicans-jeopardizing-pentagon-budget-boost-smith/
 

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Republicans jeopardizing Pentagon budget boost, lawmaker says
By: Joe Gould
06 March 2018

WASHINGTON — The Pentagon’s two-year budget boost may unravel next year if Republicans fiddle with the domestic side of the deal, the top Democrat on the House Armed Services Committee warned Tuesday.

“You have the second year of the budget agreement, and that’s great, but that, too, is uncertain because there are certain Republicans who have already started to make noise that nondefense discretionary [spending can be lowered],” said HASC ranking member Adam Smith, D-Wash.

“I don’t think that’s the way Democrats looked at it during the course of negotiations, so that could cause uncertainty as well,” Smith said at the McAleese and Associates/Credit Suisse defense conference in Washington.

After months of wrangling on Capitol Hill, the budget deal signed by President Donald Trump last month increases discretionary spending caps over the next two years by $165 billion for defense and $131 billion for nondefense.

Smith offered a counterpoint to a call for a 355-ship Navy from Senate Armed Services Seapower Subcommittee Chairman Roger Wicker, R-Miss. Building up the Navy, Wicker said, would address the causes of two fatal ship collisions last year and align with the new National Defense Strategy’s focus on great powers Russia and China.

“The budget request was good, but it wasn’t good enough,” Wicker said. “The Navy’s 2019 budget request was for $22 billion for 10 ships. We want them to come up with $26 billion for 14 new ships.”

Smith, a vocal critic of congressional budgeting dysfunction, argued the Republican-led tax cuts were inconsistent with increased defense spending. He called for a means-based defense strategy and argued projections for a 355-ship Navy are “pure fantasy.”

“It’s simply a number thrown out there,” Smith said. “I think they’ve said they hope to achieve a 355-ship Navy by 2050. It’s so far off in the distance. We can barely predict what’s going to happen two months from now.”

The Navy performed a 2016 Force Structure assessment that explains the requirement for a 355-ship fleet, but a recent Center for Strategic and International Studies report has raised doubts about whether the Navy can afford it, given that it struggles to control costs for its current 277-ship fleet.

Wicker and Smith did seem to agree Congress should stretch 2018 appropriations for the Pentagon in some way to compensate for the appropriations likely to come halfway into the fiscal year. Under existing rules, the Pentagon must spend or lose one-year operations and maintenance dollars.

Wicker and SASC Chairman John McCain, R-Ariz., sponsored legislation that would address the systemic causes of the collisions and let the Navy spend O&M money as late as in the fiscal year after it’s appropriated.

Asked how he would grapple with potential opposition from appropriators, Wicker argued the collapse of regular order necessitates his remedy. “I think we should try on this one area that … has been problematic,” he said.

Military leaders at the conference said they would welcome leeway to spread money. Gen. Glenn Walters, the Marine Corps’ No. 2 uniformed officer, said stopgap spending bills have delayed the maintenance on ships, which in turn delays training.

“The problem with one-year money is if you only get it for six months, it’s really difficult because what you can’t recover is time,” Walters said. “Time behind me is less training and less-ready forces.”

Smith predicted the Pentagon would be unable to spend the money before the end of fiscal 2018, fueling a record number of Pentagon requests to reprogram funding — whether or not Congress formalizes a flexible funding arrangement.

Wicker and Smith also shared optimism that Congress would pass an omnibus spending bill for FY18 before the latest funding patch expires March 23.

Because Congress has yet to reach a final budget agreement for FY18, which began Oct. 1, 2017, the military has been operating at 2017 spending levels.

Without congressional action, the military would have five months or less to spend the big bump afforded by the deal on budget top lines, which provides national defense nearly $700 billion for FY18 and $716 billion for FY19.

https://www.defensenews.com/congress/2018/03/06/republicans-jeopardizing-pentagon-budget-boost-smith/
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