Draw Your Knives

The submittal of the Air Force’s Fiscal 2015 program objective memorandum to the Office of the Secretary of Defense means “the game has begun,” in hashing out the grand Fiscal 2015 defense budget, said Richard Lombardi, the Air Force’s deputy assistant secretary for acquisition integration, on Thursday in an AFA-sponsored speech. Now the pushing and pulling on the various service submissions will continue until final choices are made, probably in December. Lombardi said it’s a zero-sum game: anyone proposing a new program had better come up with an old one to get rid of as an offset. As much as possible, these offsets will have to be found within the portfolio of each of the Air Force’s core function lead integrators, but for truly critical programs, offsets may have to be found from other CFLIs, said Lombardi. As part of the Pentagon’s Better Buying Power 2.0 initiative, programs will also be subject to cost caps, and there will have to be revaluations about whether they’re really needed if they approach or bust those caps. The development of this POM was exemplary, said Lombardi, with “more engagement” from four-star generals than he’s ever seen. Wherever possible, the Air Force made “strategic trades,” he said during the Sept. 26 event in Arlington, Va.