Obama Asks for
Obama Asks for $671 Billion
Defense Budget in Fiscal 2012
By Jim Garamone,
Washington D.C. -- February 14, 2011 – (AFPS)
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 said.
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
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 billion.
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.
Robert M. Gates holds a Pentagon press briefing to comment on the Department of
Defense Fiscal Year 2012 budget submission to Congress, Feb. 14, 2011.
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 alcohol abuse.
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
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 assets.
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
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 it remotely.
-- $900 million for new air-to-air refueling tankers, and
money for a new family of armored vehicles and a joint light tactical vehicle.
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,
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