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President Obama asks for $671 Billion Defense Budget in Fiscal
President Barack Obama’s
fiscal 2012 defense budget request continues the department’s
reform agenda, but protects personnel and family programs, Pentagon
Overall, the Defense Department budget is declining, with funding
for overseas contingency operations dropping by $41.5 billion,
due mainly to military operations winding down in Iraq, officials
The president is asking Congress for $671 billion for the Defense
Department in fiscal 2012, which starts Oct. 1. The budget calls
for $553 billion in the “base budget” and $117.8
billion for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
By appropriation, military personnel accounts are $142.8 billion
of the base budget. Operations and maintenance is $204.4 billion,
procurement is $113 billion and research and development is $75.3
The Army portion of the base budget is $144.9 billion, the Navy
and Marine Corps portion is $161.4 billion, and the Air Force
share is set at $150 billion. Defense Department spending is
pegged at $96.8 billion.
Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates continually has stressed his
concern for the people portion of the budget. The secretary has
called service members the “military’s greatest strategic
asset,” and is putting his money where his mouth is. The
president’s budget request calls for the nation’s
2.3 million service members to receive a 1.6 percent pay raise,
equal to the Employment Cost Index, an indicator that tracks
movement in the cost of labor.
The budget funds an end-strength for the services 65,000 people
greater than in fiscal 2007. The Army’s end strength will
be 547,000, with the Marine’s coming in at 202,100. The
Navy’s end strength is set at 325,000, and the Air Force
at 332,800. All told, the department’s end strength will
be 1,408,000 in fiscal 2012 if this budget is approved. In fiscal
2007, the end strength was 1,328,500, and the Army and Marine
Corps in particular were stressed by repeated deployments and
not enough garrison time in between.
The 2012 end strength will help the services meet the goal of
one year deployed and two years at home. This “dwell time” is
crucial to the health of the force, officials said.
The budget provides for the basic allowance for housing to rise
4.2 percent, and the basic allowance for subsistence by 3.4 percent.
The budget includes $52.5 billion for the Military Health System.
The system, which has 9.6 million beneficiaries, has seen its
budget more than double since fiscal 2001, when it was $19 billion.
This year’s request will attempt to rein those costs in.
Systemically, the budget calls for reducing overhead, standardizing
procurement and other ideas to leverage the buying power of such
a huge enterprise. The money also will fund preventive care,
immunizations and programs to combat obesity, tobacco use and
The budget also calls for a modest premium increase for working-age
military retirees enrolled in the TRICARE Prime military health
plan. The budget sets the increases at $2.50 per month for individuals
and $5 per month for families in fiscal 2012, and for the premiums
to be indexed to Medicare inflation thereafter.
The medical funding request also is aimed at providing services
for wounded troops. The money will fund programs to provide a
seamless transition from the Defense Department’s medical
system to that of the Veterans Affairs Department for wounded
service members who leave the military. It also provides $1.1
billion for research into traumatic brain injury and psychological
health issues stemming from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Defense leaders understand that military families also serve
the country, officials said, noting that Gates has vowed to protect
military families from the budgetary ax. The fiscal 2012 budget
shifts funding for military families into the base budget, ensuring
these programs don’t disappear as combat deployments and
war funding decline, officials said.
The budget provides funding for child care space for more than
200,000 children, as well as funding for family support centers
and morale, welfare and recreation programs. The budget funds
the education of almost 95,000 students at DOD Education Activity
schools in 12 countries and almost 35,000 students in seven states,
Puerto Rico and Guam.
More than a half billion dollars will go to replacing or modernizing
schools at Fort Benning, Ga.; Fort Knox, Ky.; Hanscom Air Force
Base, Mass.; Fort Bragg, N.C.; New River, N.C.; and Dahlgren,
Va. The money also will replace or modernize five schools in
Germany, two in Japan, one in Italy and one in the United Kingdom.
The more than 600,000 civilians in the DOD work force will not
receive a raise in calendar years 2011 and 2012 as part of the
larger governmentwide freeze on wages. The department intends
to hold the civilian work force at fiscal 2010 levels, though
exceptions will be made for the on-going acquisition work force
improvement strategy, officials said.
The budget also seeks increasing opportunities for flexible
work schedules, including teleworking options.
But the focus remains on the current wars. About 48,500 American
troops remain in Iraq, and about 98,000 U.S. troops are in Afghanistan,
officials noted, and Afghanistan and Pakistan remain the focal
point in the war on extremist groups such as al-Qaida. Some U.S.
and coalition forces are fighting against extremists while others
are training the Afghan security forces to take on the security
mission in the country. Last year, 30,000 more American troops
surged into Afghanistan, and NATO nations and other coalition
contributed 10,000 more.
These forces have been successful in arresting Taliban and al-Qaida
forces’ momentum and have turned the tide, official said.
Now, they added, the forces are expanding their “security
bubbles” and looking for ways to make the gains permanent.
Most of the $117.8 billion in the overseas contingency operations
fund -- some $67 billion -- goes to operations. Training Afghan
forces consumes the next-largest amount, at $12.8 billion.
The budget invests $2.6 billion into defeating the biggest killer
of American personnel, the improvised explosive device. Another
$6 billion goes into military intelligence funding, which includes
investments in intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance
The budget request calls for three more Global Hawk unmanned
aerial vehicles, 48 more Reaper UAVs, 36 more Gray Eagle UAVs
and 12 maritime UAVs, as well as 12 more MC-12 intelligence,
surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft.
The fiscal 2012 budget request also sets the stage for the future,
putting the defense secretary’s restructuring of the F-35
joint strike fighter program in concrete. The request puts more
money into research and development for the fifth-generation
fighter and defers procurement to the out years. Still, DOD will
receive 32 of the planes in fiscal 2012. The budget request also
puts the vertical-lift version of the aircraft on a two-year
The budget request also provides for:
-- Procurement of 28 more F/A-18E/F fighter aircraft and 12
more EA-18G electronic warfare aircraft;
-- A stabilized ship-building effort, with two Virginia-class
submarines, a DDG-51 destroyer, four littoral combat ships, an
LPD-17 amphibious assault ship and two joint high-speed vessels.
-- Investment of $2 billion in long-range strike capabilities,
most notably through a new Air Force bomber that will be stealthy
and nuclear-capable while giving planners the option of piloting
-- $900 million for new air-to-air refueling tankers, and money
for a new family of armored vehicles and a joint light tactical
So the department doesn’t shortchange service members
of the future, officials said, the budget request includes 2
percent real growth in basic research and holds the remainder
of the science and technology budget steady. All told, the science
and technology budget is set at $12.2 billion, officials added.
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