As the Pentagon unveils its latest wish list, listen and you can hear the entire defense industry singing, “Hey big spender, spend a little time with me.”
The Defense Department is asking for a total of $705.4 billion for fiscal 2021, slightly less than the $713 billion that Congress appropriated to the U.S. military for this fiscal year. President Donald Trump's entire national security budget request for next fiscal year is $740 billion.
- U.S. service members and Defense Department civilians would receive a 3% pay raise under the proposed budget, compared with the 3.1% raise in the current fiscal year. “If Congress approves a proposed 3.0 % increase in military basic pay, the basic pay for an E-3 under two years of service would increase by $735 per year,” said Pentagon spokeswoman Jessica Maxwell. “The basic pay for an E-4 with over three years of service would increase by $902 per year. The basic pay for an E-5 with over four years of service would increase by $1,041 per year.”
- About $69 billion of the proposed defense spending would be part of the Pentagon's Overseas Contingency Operations budget, but only $20.5 billion would fund “direct war requirements.” Another $32.5 billion would pay for overseas bases and other “enduring costs” once combat operations end, and $16 billion would fund “OCO for base requirements,” an ill-defined category that has allowed the Pentagon to get around budget caps in previous years.
- The proposed budget does not include “emergency funding” for border wall construction and to repair damage to bases from natural disasters. Congress approved $8 billion in emergency funding for this fiscal year.
- The Marine Corps is expected to cut its active-duty end strength from 186,200 to 184,100. “The institutional changes and divestment decisions are based on a long-term view and on where we want the Marine Corps to be within the next five to fifteen years,” Navy Department budget documents say.
- The Army is expected to finally evaluate prototypes of the the Next Generation Squad Weapon and field the Integrated Visual Augmentation System in fiscal 2021.
- The Navy plans to buy one Virginia Class submarine and two Arleigh Burke-class destroyers. That is one less submarine and one less destroyer than the service had planned to buy, budget documents show. The Navy wants to have a total of 355 ships by 2030.
- The Air Force wants to buy 12 F-15EX fighters as it retires its older F-15C and F-15D fighters and makes “targeted reductions” to its fleet of B-1 bombers and MQ-9 Reapers, budget documents say. Meanwhile, the Air Force wants to modernize the A-10 fleet so it can keep flying missions.
- The Pentagon also wants to transfer $15.4 billion from the Air Force to the newly created Space Force. Of that money, nearly $10 billion would fund personnel costs. Another $1 billion would go toward building the Space Force's headquarters and field centers, which are expected to accommodate roughly 1,800 personnel by the end of fiscal 2021.
- For the nuclear triad, the Defense Department' budget request includes $1.5 billion to develop new intercontinental ballistic missiles to replace the Minuteman III nuclear missiles and another $2.3 billion on new early warning satellites.
Task & Purpose reporter Haley Britzky contributed to this story.