Pentagon electronics spending to top $90 billion in 10 years

The electronics content of the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) budget request is $76.94 billion this year, and should rise to $92.1 billion over the next decade, according to analysts with the Government Electronics and Information Technology Association (GEIA) in Arlington, Va.

by John Rhea

WASHINGTON — The electronics content of the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) budget request is $76.94 billion this year, and should rise to $92.1 billion over the next decade, according to analysts with the Government Electronics and Information Technology Association (GEIA) in Arlington, Va.

James Wrightson, chairman of the association's forecast committee and vice president for strategic planning at Lockheed Martin Corp. in Bethesda, Md., released thee projections at a briefing Oct. 28 in Washington. All figures are in constant 2004 dollars.

Over the same 10-year period Wrightson estimated the overall DOD budget would rise from $382 billion this year to $423 billion. This figure includes supplemental requests. The association's projection in current dollars, which reflect anticipated inflation, are $382 billion to $537 billion in the decade.

The electronics content, which the association defines as those end items attributable to subsystems that use electron tubes or transistors in their operation, is broken down into three categories:

  • procurement, due to rise from $29.77 billion to $35.71 billion over the 10-year period;
  • research, development, test, and evaluation (RDT&E), from $34.54 billion to $35.03 billion; and
  • operation and maintenance (O&M), from $12.63 billion to $21.37 billion.

This amounts to a 1.8 percent real growth rate for the three categories of electronics content over the 10-year forecast period, according to Wrightson.

The GEIA report also notes that the military force structure has remained stable since 1997: 18 Army divisions, including reserve; 12 Navy aircraft carriers and 11 air wings; 20 Air Force fighter wings; four Marine Corps divisions; and an end strength of 1.38 million service members.

"In current dollars, the president's requests reflect a steady rise of slightly less than 5 percent," Wrightson says. "This healthy increase extends the upward trend in defense budgets that began in 1998 and establishes the longest continuous rise in real value in the defense budget ever. The rise in the 1980s was steeper but only lasted five years."

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