Words by Wes O'Donnell.
After lengthy consideration, administrative officials in the Pentagon and White House seem to have come to the decision that they will be expanding the Department of Defense’s budget in 2016. Even though details are still being worked out, a $36 billion increase above the sequester cap is being considered bringing the Defense Department’s budget to $535 billion in the year 2016. These additional funds toward defense would have to be offset in other areas of the federal budget.
The Pentagon has been suggesting bold reductions including the elimination of one of the Navy’s eleven aircraft carriers and additional manpower cuts. The White House is voicing concerns regarding these cuts making note that they could be politically difficult during an election year.
The new plan would allow for the funding of projects not currently accounted for in the current budget. Each service would be asked to compile a “wish list” of those projects not yet given funds and also an expanded war financial budget request. An estimated $26 billion will be targeted at these unfunded requirement requests in 2015 and distributed across the services submitting them.
On March 4, the White House will be giving the Department of Defense a $496 billion base budget request to work with in 2015 while the specifics of the new plan are being determined. Unfortunately, this is still approximately $42 billion less than talks had been previously which will led to difficult decisions on where to make concessions.It is rumored that the White House will be permitting the Pentagon to submit budget projections for the span of 2016 to 2019 that exceed the current Budget Control Act caps the were previously adopted in 2011, however, nothing has yet been confirmed.