By David Vergun
At $718.3 billion, the fiscal year 2020 defense budget request announced at the Pentagon today by defense officials is an increase from last year’s $685 billion approved budget.
This year’s request focuses on addressing peer threats emanating from Russia and China, which are modernizing their forces at an unprecedented rate, according to David L. Norquist, who is performing the duties of deputy defense secretary.
The budget reflects the priorities of the 2018 National Defense Strategy, he continued. Priorities are in the following four areas: investment in the emerging space and cyberspace domains; modernizing capabilities in the air, land and maritime domains; acceleration in technology such as artificial intelligence, hypersonics, autonomy and directed energy; and, sustains the force and builds on readiness gains.
Norquist, Elaine McCusker, DOD’s deputy comptroller, and Army Lt. Gen. Anthony R. Ierardi, director, Force Structure, Resources and Assessment, Joint Staff, conducted a Pentagon news conference today, concerning the 2020 Defense Budget.
Military Pay Raise
McCusker said the budget takes care of service members. “Our force is our most valuable asset.”
It calls for a 3.1 percent military pay increase — the largest in a decade, Norquist noted. The pay increase is for the forecast 2,140,300 members of the active, guard and reserve total force, which is also an end-strength increase of about 8,000 from this fiscal year.
Besides the pay raise, McCusker said the budget reflects efforts to modernize the health care system and care for families with such things as child care and schools.
She noted that DOD is on track to save about $6 billion this fiscal year due to reform efforts in information technology, providing more efficient health care services, smarter customer purchases of goods and services and divestment of programs no longer consistent with the NDS.
The $718.3 billion budget includes $66.7 billion for overseas contingency operations and $9.2 billion for emergency operations, which includes hurricane recovery and security for the Southwest border.
The breakdown of the $718.3 billion by appropriation type is: $292.7 billion for operations and maintenance, or 41 percent of the budget; $155.8 billion for military personnel (22 percent); $143.1 billion for procurement (20 percent); $104.3 billion for research, development, testing and evaluation (15 percent); and $22.5 billion for military construction, family housing and other (3 percent).
The breakdown of the $718.3 billion by military department is: $205.6 billion for the Navy, or 29 percent of the budget; $204.8 billion for the Air Force (29 percent); $191.4 billion for the Army (27 percent); and $116.6 billion for defensewide activities (16 percent).
The total national defense budget request is $750 billion. Besides the $718.3 billion for DOD, the remainder goes to the Energy Department and other agencies.
Past approved defense budgets were $606 billion for FY 2017, $670.6 billion for FY 2018 and $685 billion for this fiscal year.
This year’s budget request sets aside $14.1 billion for the space domain, including $72.4 million to resource the new Space Force headquarters, $1.1 billion to mitigate risk to satellite communications jamming, $1.8 billion to increase GPS follow-on satellites and operational control systems, $1.6 billion to improve space-based missile warning capabilities and $1.7 billion for space launch capabilities.
If the request is approved, cyber would receive $9.6 billion, of which $3.7 billion would be for offensive and defensive cyberspace operations; $5.4 billion for cybersecurity to reduce risk to DOD networks, systems and information; and $61.9 million to modernize DOD’s multicloud environment.
The request allocates $57.7 billion for the air domain. Notable purchases include $13.9 billion for 110 fourth- and fifth-generation aircraft — including 78 F-35 Lightning II fighter aircraft, $2.3 billion for 12 KC-46 tankers, $651 million for 389 advanced medium range air-to-air missiles, and $582 million for 430 extended range joint air-to-surface missiles.
The request sets aside $34.7 billion for maritime operations, including funding for two new Gerald R. Ford-class nuclear aircraft carriers. Other line items include $447 million for two large unmanned surface vehicles, $209 million for 48 long range anti-ship missiles, $707 million for 90 maritime strike tactical Tomahawk missiles, $10.2 billion for three Virginia-class submarines, $5.8 billion for three Arleigh Burke-class destroyers and $1.3 billion for one multimission guided missile frigate.
The request for funds directed at the land domain totals $14.6 billion, to include $1.6 billion for 4,090 joint light tactical vehicles and $395 million for 56 amphibious combat vehicles. Investments will also go to the purchase of multirole anti-armor weapon systems, binocular night vision devices, squad common optics and squad thermal systems.
The request allocates $13.6 billion to missile-defeat and defense systems, to include $1.7 billion for ground-based missile defenses, $753.8 million for 37 Terminal High Altitude Area Defense systems, $1.7 billion for 3 missiles and 36 installations of Aegis ballistic missile defense systems, $174 million for space-based missile warning and defense demonstrations and ground control enhancements to address hypersonic threats, $331 million to develop boost-phase and advanced technology missile defense systems — to include directed energy and air-launched kinetic interceptors, and $844 million for systems that can destroy adversary ground-based missiles before they launch.
The request for funds directed at modernization of the nuclear force totals $14 billion and includes $712 million for long-range standoff weaponry, $3 billion for the B-21 Bomber, $570 million for ground-based strategic deterrent, $2.2 billion for the Columbia-class submarine, and $2.5 billion for enhanced nuclear command, control and communications capabilities.
Special Operations Forces
The $3.4 billion earmarked for special operations forces in the fiscal year 2020 request includes $27.2 million for directed energy weapons, $342.8 million for AC-130J Ghostrider/MC-130J Commando II aircraft, $45.3 million for CV-22 Osprey tiltrotor aircraft and $105.7 million for additional surface and subsurface maritime craft systems.