Budget Outlook

The Pentagon’s base budget request for Fiscal 2012 will be about $553 billion, according to Defense Secretary Robert Gates. That’s about $13 billion less than the Defense Department had estimated it would receive in Fiscal 2012 at this same time last year, he told reporters during a briefing Thursday. That $553 billion still represents about 3 percent real growth over the $530 billion that DOD is slated to receive in Fiscal 2011 under the stopgap appropriations legislation now in place, he said. Over the course of the new five-year spending plan that starts in Fiscal 2012, real growth will decline until it reaches zero in Fiscal 2015 and Fiscal 2016, said Gates. Overall, the Pentagon is slated to receive $78 billion less over that five-year span than it had anticipated last year. However, he said, DOD-wide savings initiatives will be able to absorb that funding hit, including $54 billion in Office of the Secretary of Defense-wide overhead reductions, and $14 billion saved via adjusted economic assumptions on items like inflation rates. (Gates-Mullen transcript) (See also Worst of All Possible Worlds)