Gloomy Forecast

Assuming no real growth in defense spending over the five-year future years defense plan, the military services are being asked to draw up a list of “bill payers” from less essential programs and initiatives to pay for the capabilities that the Quadrennial Defense Review deems more vital, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Force Development David Ochmanek said Tuesday. Speaking with defense reporters in Washington, D.C., Ochmanek said the total price tag of the cuts will be approximately $60 billion, spread across the FYDP that starts in Fiscal 2010. The dollar breakdown among the services has not yet been determined, he noted. This reallocation of dollars follows the termination of 50 major programs under Defense Secretary Robert Gates’ Fiscal 2010 budget direction announced in April. While Ochmanek said he hopes that the Obama Administration will work to provide additional funding in the future, the working assumption of the team assembling the QDR currently is that there will be zero growth in defense spending from Fiscal 2011 through Fiscal 2015. “There is no low-hanging fruit anymore in the defense budget,” he said.