Twenty-five years after the end of the Cold War, the United States once again faces the need to prepare for great power competition and confrontation. Russian aggression along the eastern front of NATO presents military challenges to European security not seen in decades. China’s military modernization and coercive behavior toward U.S. allies and partners threaten stability in the Asia-Pacific region. Both nations are disrupting an international order that has long provided relative peace and prosperity for the United States, its allies and partners, and much of the rest of the world.
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The 2017 fiscal year once again began with an interim continuing resolution—the eighth year in a row that Congress has failed to pass a budget for the federal government by the start of the new fiscal year. This continuing resolution maintains the 2016 levels of funding for the Department of Defense (DoD) until December 9, 2016. With the Republicans maintaining control of the House and Senate and taking the White House, increases in defense spending would likely appear sometime after the new Congress and President take office in January. DoD might have a fiscal year (FY) 2017 spending bill in February or March if the defense hawks and the deficit hawks within the Republican caucus can come to terms.
As the last budget request of the Obama Administration, the FY 2017 request largely continues the shift towards greater investment in the high-end capabilities necessary in a new strategic era that holds the potential for great power competition.
Each year, the Department of Defense (DoD) submits Selected Acquisition Reports (SARs) to Congress detailing the status, plans, and funding requirements for almost eighty Major Defense Acquisition Programs (MDAPs). The most recent unclassified SARs, which were submitted in December 2015 and are consistent with the President’s FY 2017 budget request, project funding and quantities for major acquisition programs extending more than thirty years into the future.
Each year, the Department of Defense (DoD) submits Selected Acquisition Reports (SARs) to Congress detailing the status, plans, and funding requirements for more than 80 major acquisition programs. The most recent available SARs, submitted in December 2014, project funding and quantities for major acquisition programs extending more than 30 years into the future. The SARs project that these programs will need $337 billion over the Future Years Defense Program (FYDP), spanning FY 2016 to FY 2020, and an additional $453 billion in FY 2021 and beyond.
President Obama’s last budget, to be released February 9th, is his last chance to put his administration’s stamp on the nation’s defense spending.