Pentagon submits largest defense budget in four years, with healthy increases in procurement, RDT&E

THE MIL & AERO BLOG, 3 Feb. 2015. I think we can all breathe a sigh of relief. The U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) on Monday submitted its largest discretionary budget request in four years, and it contains healthy increases in procurement and research -- the accounts containing the largest share of electronics, electro-optics, and cyber security spending.

Feb 3rd, 2015
After big defense cuts, what lies ahead?
After big defense cuts, what lies ahead?
THE MIL & AERO BLOG, 3 Feb. 2015. I think we can all breathe a sigh of relief. The U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) on Monday submitted its largest discretionary budget request in four years, and it contains healthy increases in procurement and research -- the accounts containing the largest share of electronics, electro-optics, and cyber security spending.

The Pentagon's fiscal 2016 budget proposes spending $534.3 billion in discretionary spending like procurement, research, operations, maintenance, military construction, salaries, and health care. It's the largest discretionary defense request since 2012 when the Pentagon asked Congress for $553 billion.

The fiscal 2016 DOD budget also contains a request for $50.9 billion for overseas contingency operations -- a $13.3 percent cut from current levels -- to pay for military operations in Iraq, Afghanistan, and other areas that involve the global war on terrorism, which is winding down in the Middle East.

Related: Pentagon's proposed 2016 budget would increase military spending by $38.2 billion next year

The $534.3 billion DOD fiscal 2016 discretionary budget request is up 7.7 percent over this year's enacted DOD budget of $496.1 billion. This year, fiscal 2015, was the smallest DOD budget since 2008. Federal fiscal year 2016 begins next October.

The Pentagon's budget request announced this week not only calls for the first topline budget increase in four years, but also calls for the first increase in procurement spending in four years, and the first increase in research and development spending in at least six years.

The budget request would spend nearly $115 billion next year on procurement of defense items like ships, submarines, aircraft, battle tanks, drones, and other military hardware. That's up nearly 12 percent from 2015's enacted procurement levels of $102.8 billion, and up even more from the 2015 procurement request of $90.6 billion.

Related: Pentagon plans to increase spending for cyber security activities by $400 million next year

In research, development, test, and evaluation (RDT&E), DOD proposes spending nearly $70 billion next year, which is up 9.3 percent from this year's enacted RDT&E spending level of $64 billion, and up even more from this year's requested level of $63.5 billion.

While Congress still faces spending challenges that could threaten these high spending levels, there's a pro-defense Republican in the House and in the Senate, which ultimately could mean the DOD's fiscal 2016 request could turn out to be a minimum. It's up to Congress over the next eight months to decided if even more money is headed for military accounts.

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