|Rumsfeld Unveils $329.9 Billion DoD Budget |
Rumsfeld Unveils $329.9 Billion DoD Budget
By Jim Garamone, American Forces Press Service.
Washington D.C. -- (AFPS) June 28, 2001 – The fiscal 2002 DoD budget request concentrates on service members, who would receive at least a 5 percent pay raise, further reductions in out- of-pocket housing expenses, and better housing and facilities.
Defense officials said the request totals $329.9 billion, a $38.2 billion increase from fiscal 2001 and $18.4 billion more than the "blueprint" submitted by the Bush administration in February.
Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said the budget marks the largest increase since the Reagan-era budget of 1985. The goals of the amended budget, he said, are to restore military morale, bolster readiness, begin the military transformation process, streamline and upgrade DoD's infrastructure, and reform DoD's organization, facilities and processes.
But, Rumsfeld continued, it does not fix problems caused by consistent recent underfunding. He said that when the Cold War ended and the drawdown began, the United States received a peace dividend. The United States went from spending 5 or 6 percent of gross national product on national defense to around 3 percent.
"The coasting went on too long," Rumsfeld told reporters during a briefing June 27. "Underfunding in significant accounts has created a series of shortfalls with respect to very important key categories."
He said shipbuilding is on a path to a "steady state" of 230 vessels. "I'm not in the position to say at this moment exactly what number of ships we need in the United States Navy, but it is very clear that it is considerably more than 230 ships," he said. The Navy currently has 310.
The aircraft fleet is growing older and age brings problems, he said. Older aircraft require more maintenance and are available for missions fewer hours. "We have an aging aircraft fleet in all the services," Rumsfeld said.
Infrastructure is in the same situation. He said private firms recapitalize their facilities every 57 years. DoD, with its historic buildings, would probably want to recapitalize every 67 years.
"We're currently up in the 190-years recapitalization," he said. "We are not investing on an annual basis at a level sufficient to deal with the obvious problems that happen to all types of buildings, sewers, roads -- all the things that are necessary for a large enterprise like the defense establishment."
Rumsfeld said that the increase in budget will not fix these problems. He said there are examples in the budget -- such as shipbuilding -- where the trend line was very negative, and it is still negative. "You'll find instances where the trend line was negative and it is now less negative," he said. "We'll find instances where things have leveled off and in some instances where they're improving, but still below the target needed.
"The point is that you can simply not do everything in a single year," he said. "There is no way that it can be done. It took years to get into this circumstance, and it's going to take some years to get out of it."