The FY2017 Department of Defense (DoD) base budget request is $523.9 billion for discretionary budget authority, $2.2 billion more than the amount enacted for FY2016 ($521.7 billion).
The budget request also includes $58.8 billion for Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO), essentially the same amount enacted for FY2016. ($58.6 billion).
DoD’s five-year budget plan FYDP) for FY2017 to FY2021 is $2.8 trillion, $18.5 billion less than planned in the FY2016 FYDP. The FY2017 budget is $23.4 billion less than planned last year, but budgets for FY2018 through FY2021 are $4.9 billion higher. The cut to FY2017 was made primarily through a combination of fuel and inflation savings (-$5 billion) and program changes (over -$11 billion).
DoD’s press statement stressed that the budget “complies with the Bipartisan Budget Agreement of 2015, giving the department both funding stability and protection from the damage of sequestration in FY2016 and FY2017.” The FY2017 budget request “reflects the priorities necessary for our force today and in the future to best serve and protect our nation in a rapidly changing security environment,” according to the statement.
DoD’s budget overview identifies six key themes of the FY2017 DoD budget Seek a balanced force; Manage enduring readiness challenges; Accelerate the pace of defense reform; Pursue investments in military capabilities; Take care of people; and Support Overseas Contingency Operations.
The Army’s FY2017 base budget request totals $123.0 billion (23.5% of the total DoD base budget) down $0.3 billion from the FY2016 enacted level. The Navy’s budget (including the Marine Corps) totals $155.4 billion (29.7%), $3.9 billion lower than FY2016. The Air Force base budget request is $151.1 billion (28.8%), up $5.4 billion. The budget request for Defense-wide accounts (including the Defense Health Program) is $94.5 billion (18.0%), $1.1 billion higher than the previous year.
Total active forces end strength will decline by 9,000 across the FYDP, from 1,281,900 in FY2017 to 1,272,100 by 2021. The Army will lower its active end strength level from 460,000 in 2017 to 450,000 by 2021. The active Marine Corps force will remain constant at 182,000 as will the active Air Force at 317,000. The Navy active force will increase slightly from 322,900 in FY2017 to 323,100 in FY2021. Total Guard and reserve end strength will decline only marginally decline from 801,200 in FY2017 to 801,100 in FY2021.
The FY2017 budget would raise military pay by 1.6 percent. The president's budget also proposes a 1.6 percent pay raise for civilians. The 2016 pay raise was 1.3 percent.
The budget makes no changes to TRICARE for active duty personnel. The administration proposes an annual enrollment fee for TRICARE-for-Life coverage for Medicare-eligible retirees (not-medically retired) and their families. Some copays would increase, but there would be no copays for treatment in Military Treatment Facilities (MTFs).
The FY2017 budget provides significant funding for major modernization programs. The budget funds 63 F-35 aircraft for Air Force, Marine Corps, and Navy, 15 KC-46 Tanker Replacement aircraft for the Air Force, and 52 AH-64 Apache and 36 Blackhawk helicopters for the Army. The Navy will buy seven ships, including two Virginia Class submarines, two DDG-51 Aegis destroyers, two Littoral Combat Ships (LCS), and one Amphibious Assault ship. The budget also funds the procurement of five EELV Launch Vehicles. The Air Force rephases its schedule for retiring the A-10 aircraft, retaining the A-10 aircraft force through 2022.
However, in order to meet budgetary targets, DoD cut planned weapons buying in FY2017. The Army is buying nine fewer Apache and 24 fewer Blackhawk helicopters than previously planned. Five fewer F-35 aircraft, three C-130J aircraft, four less LCAC Service Life Extension Programs, and 77 Joint Light Tactical Vehicles for the Marine Corps will be bought in FY2017.
Investment in cyber warfare and security will be $7 billion in FY2017 and $35 billion over five years. This funding will support DoD's main cyber missions: defend DoD networks, systems, and information; defend against cyber attacks that have a “significant consequence;” and provide cyber support to operational plans. The budget also continues funding support for Science and Technology (S&T)–$12.5 billion in FY2017 and $65 billion across the FYDP–to “develop capabilities that advance the technical superiority of the U.S. Military to counter new and emerging threats.”
The FY2017 budget also includes department-wide savings and reform proposals. The administration renews its request for approval to initiate a new round of Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC), this time in FY2019. Congress has repeatedly rejected another BRAC round due to concerns that DoD has not demonstrated significant net savings. Other reform proposals include a 25 percent cut in headquarters costs (from the 2014 level) by 2020, continuing efforts department-wide to become audit ready by 2018, improving business practices in the commissary system, and continuing defense acquisition reform through the implementation of Better Buying Power initiatives.
Details (including Military Service briefings) on the FY2017 DoD budget request is available on the DoD Comptroller website.