“Although the exact figures vary, … [key congressional committees] have all marked to a total national defense topline that is about $30 billion more than the Trump administration’s PB 2018 request,” Katherine Blakeley, a research fellow at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, said in a recent policy paper…
Katherine Blakeley, a defense analyst at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, argued that the topline numbers were a little misleading, because Congress routinely adds funding each year for Israeli missile defense programs like Iron Dome and David's Sling.
For instance, a study by the Washington-based Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments and Australia’s Strategic Forum published last year concluded that China had alarmingly increased its expansionism in the South China Sea since President Xi Jinping came to power in 2012.
North Korea has “proven adept over the years at using force in pretty calibrated ways to achieve political objectives,” said Thomas Mahnken, president of the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, which does war-game planning. He said the North takes advantage of the relative unwillingness of the United States and South Korea to risk war.
“We lived in a period from the end of the Cold War until the recent past where we could delude ourselves that we lived in a risk-free world — and that era is over,” Mahnken said.
Bryan Clark, senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, believes the approach the service established for the RFI points to cost being the main consideration.
"On the practical level, the most effective power of Congress is their public role," said Katherine Blakeley, a defense analyst at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments. "That was in large part what scuttled Obama's ambitions to have Congress authorize use of force for Syria in 2013."