The FY2013 DoD base budget request, released yesterday, totals $525 billion, $5 billion dollars lower than the FY2012 enacted amount ($531 billion).  The budget also separately requests $88 billion, down $27 billion from the amount enacted for FY2012 ($115 billion).

The president presented a long-term DoD budget plan that cuts $487 billion (over 10 years) from the plan submitted last year in order to meet the funding goals set by the Budget Control Act of 2011.  That plan cuts the FY2013 budget by $45 billion from that assumed last year and by $259 billion and for the period FY2013-17.

In a DoD press statement accompanying release of the budget, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said the budget plan will “keep America safe and maintain the strongest military in the world.”  Acknowledging the severe budget constraints under which the budget was prepared, Panetta said “we are also redoubling our efforts to make better use of the taxpayer’s defense dollar and meet our fiscal responsibilities.”

The FY2013 DoD budget request is 2.5 percent lower in real terms (budget dollars adjusted for inflation) than the FY2012 enacted level, the third consecutive year of negative growth in defense budgets.   Budget reductions over the next four years will mean no real growth in FY2013, but will allow for minimal growth in FY2015-2017 (almost 1 percent in FY2015 and .2 percent in FY2016 and in FY2017.

Only the Army’s budget increases in FY2013.  The Army’s base budget request is $134.6 billion (25.6%), up $647 million.  The Navy’s budget (including the Marine Corps) totals $155.9 billion (29.7%), declining by $914 million, and the Air Force’s request at $140.1 billion (over 26.7%) is $4.8 billion lower than in FY2012.  The budget request for Defense wide accounts amounts to $94.9 billion (18%), slightly lower than the previous year.

The budget request supports a 1.7 percent pay raise for military personnel and a .5 percent pay increase for civilian employees.  DoD Comptroller Bob Hale told reporters in the press briefing on the budget that planned military pay raises for FY2014 are also 1.7 percent.  But, Hale said after that budget constraints limit planned raises to .5 percent in FY2015, 1 percent in F2016, and 1.5 percent in FY2017.

To meet the lower budget levels called for in the Budget Control Act, DoD reduced force structure, adjusted the investment program, and cut overhead.

The size of the active force will decline over the next five years by almost 103,000.  The Army will drop form a current force of 562,000 to 490,000 (-72,000) and the Marine Corps will go from 202,000 to 182,000 (-20,000).  The Navy force will decline by 6,200 (319,500) and the Air Force will reduce its force by 4,200 to 328,600.  Total reserve end strength will decrease by 22,000 by FY2017.  Only the Marine Corps reserve forces will experience no reduction.

To support the plan to rebalance the global posture and presence toward the Asia-Pacific area and the Middle East, the budget maintains an 11-ship carrier fleet (with 10 air wings) and the current bomber fleet, and sustains Army and Marine Corps Pacific force structure while having a “persistent presence in the Middle East.”  The budget also provides investments including funding for a new bomber and new Afloat Forward Staging Base, and increases cruise missile capability on submarines and upgrades sensors, electronic warfare, and communications.

DOD will invest in programs considered high priorities, especially Special Operations Forces (SOF), the tanker programs, unmanned air systems, cyber capabilities, space, and science and technology.  However, to accommodate these priorities within constrained budget levels, the budget cuts funding by $75 billion in other investment programs for the FY2013-17 period.  For example, funding is reduced for the Joint Strike Fighter (-$15 billion,), shipbuilding program (-$13 billion), and Global Hawk (-$2.5 billion).

Hale said DoD made “more disciplined use of defense dollars” to meet the new lower DoD budget levels.  Rephasing military construction, reducing travel and printing, and using IT better will save almost $13 billion in FY2013-17.  Implementing better business practices, emphasizing strategic sourcing, and streamlining installation support will save another $13 billion.  DoD will achieve further savings by reducing OSD and Defense Agency expenses, (including cuts in contract funding) and improving financial information and audit readiness.  Taken together, these actions are expected to save about $60 billion over the next five years.

The budget also includes a request for congressional approval of another round of Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC).  But, Hale said DoD will not budget any BRAC-related savings or costs until Congress provides authority.

Additional detail on the FY2012 budget request is available on the DoD Comptroller website.