It's budget season in Washington. Every year at this time I am hopeful that the Pentagon might finally escape Wonderland and wake up. And every year at this time, I am disappointed -- but not surprised -- when it does not.
Although the Pentagon won't make the budget public until March 4, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel provided a sneak peek, which shows some progress in the effort to get real about defense resources. That is to say, the Defense Department budget for fiscal 2015 is consistent with the budget deal struck last year by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.). And the Pentagon has abandoned the notion that future defense budgets should reflect last year's unreal Pentagon forecast. That's the good news.
The bad news is that Hagel's current forecast is still not real. It could work, but the budget castles he designed for between 2016 and 2019 are built on quicksand, which is a real problem for defense planners over the next five years.