Bucking the Trend

If the current drawdown in US military spending were to follow historical trends, the Defense Department would be spending—for “the first time in modern history”—more money on developing new technologies than in procuring equipment, said Todd Harrison, senior analyst with the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments. However, thus far during the downturn, which began in Fiscal 2010, the military is bucking that trend, he said, citing a new CSBA report, during a media briefing in Washington, D.C, on Oct. 24. That’s because the ratio of procurement funding to research, development, test, and evaluation funding actually has “steadily increased,” meaning that the Pentagon has cut RDT&E funding proportionately more than procurement funding, said Harrison. He noted that the Pentagon’s Fiscal 2014 budget request includes $99 billion for procurement and $68 billion for RDT&E. The largest procurement chuck, some $33.8 billion, would go towards buying new aircraft, with the Air Force having $10.8 billion of that, he said. The Pentagon also asked for $16.5 billion in Fiscal 2014 for classified programs, of which “nearly all” would be for Air Force activities. (Click here to access the CSBA report, briefing webcast, and Harrison’s presentation slides.)