The FY2015 Defense Budget and the QDR: Key Trends and Data Points
July 23, 2014
This year’s defense budget submission and QDR present a complex mix of changes in strategy, force levels, and defense spending plans. They also reveal a growing gap between the resources the US is likely to commit to military spending and its strategy. This discrepancy, however, is concealed by the lack of any meaningful data on future US plans and programming, and a QDR that borders on vacuous concepts and generalizations.
The Burke Chair has updated its analysis of these trends by drawing directly on the summary materials presented by OMB, CBO, the Office of the Secretary of Defense, and each military service to summarize these trends. The new Burke Chair study, The FY2015 Defense Budget and the QDR: Key Trends and Data Points, examines how the trends in defense spending compare with other trends in the federal budget and the rising costs of entitlements. It compares FY2012 to F2015 plans, examines the Department’s request to spend well above the Sequestration level, and examines the problems set forth in the QDR, including a vaguely defined strategy and force goals.
The updated report is entitled The FY2015 Defense Budget and the QDR: Key Trends and Data Points, and is available on the CSIS web site at http://csis.org/files/publication/140723_US_FY2015_QDR_0.pdf.
The report summarizes the projected trends in total federal and defense spending through FY2024 to FY2040, and the details of the projected defense budget through FY2019, using both DoD and CBO data. It compares FY2014 and FY2015 spending, and compares the projected changes in military personnel and force levels through FY2019 – drawing on the force projections in the QDR.
It looks at the summary data on current and projected force plans and deployments, and on modernization/procurement, O&M, and manpower. It summarizes the trends in readiness, and the risk of “going hollow” at both the President’s requested level and the much lower funding levels resulting from Sequestration. The analysis has also been updated to cover the President’s final request to Congress for FY2015 OCO spending.
At the same time, the analysis highlights the gaps between the Department’s budget request and the limit set forth in the Budget Control Act, and the equally important gap between the Department’s estimates of the cost of the FY2015 and future defense budgets, and the real world escalation of defense costs. It raises serious question about the realism in the department’s programming and budgeting, and the potential impact of real world cost escalation and the department‘s goals for freeing defense resources through greater efficiency.
It also examines the proposed cuts in military compensation, and the Department’s request for $26 billion more to fund a proposed Opportunity, Growth, and Security program.
Comments and possible additions to this report would be greatly appreciated and should be sent to email@example.com.
Anthony H. Cordesman holds the Arleigh A. Burke Chair in Strategy at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D.C.