RELEASE: A User’s Guide to the Fiscal Year 2015 Defense Budget

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Contact: Anne Shoup
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Washington, D.C. — Today, just ahead of the National Defense Authorization Act markup next week, the Center for American Progress released a new report that clarifies and extrapolates on the decisions made within the 2015 fiscal year defense budget.

“The Pentagon should be commended for making a number of smart choices in its FY 2015 budget request, choices that will enhance our security while adhering to the Budget Control Act of 2011,” said Lawrence J. Korb, Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress. “However, its program for the FY 2016–2019 period will not meet the challenges of the current national security environment because it incorrectly assumes defense spending will return to the record high levels that characterized the decade after 9/11 and therefore risks triggering another sequester.”

The report explains the U.S. Department of Defense’s FY 2015 budget request and outlines a sound path to responsibly and efficiently meet the risks and challenges of the current national security environment. There are several smart, targeted reforms that will maintain U.S. military capabilities such as a $26 billion Opportunity, Growth and Security Initiative, as well as a base budget request of $496 billion.

The report offers the following recommendations for Congress and the U.S. Department of Defense:

  • Reduce procurement of the littoral combat ship, or LCS, on the front end by nixing one of the variants—the current reduction from 52 to 32 hulls comes outside the Future Years Defense Program, or FYDP—which will free up funds to develop a new small surface combatant with more firepower in line with a frigate.
  • Bring F-35 STOVL procurement down to two airframes per year until the hardware problems and software development are worked out; this echoes the decision made on the F-35C, which faces similar hurdles. The high level of concurrency makes no sense in the absence of an existential threat and the continuing viability of legacy platforms and will increase the need for expensive upgrades and alterations later.
  • Authorize a Defense Base Closure and Realignment Commission, or BRAC; there’s simply no excuse for letting parochial concerns block DOD attempts to rationalize its infrastructure to reflect the new force structure.

Read the analysis: A User’s Guide to the Fiscal Year 2015 Defense Budget by Lawrence J. Korb, Max Hoffman, and Kate Blakeley

To speak with experts on this topic, please contact Anne Shoup at ashoup@americanprogress.org or 202.481.7146.

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