The Pentagon’s $585.3 billion budget request for Fiscal 2016 is a “strategy-driven, resource-informed” plan to balance readiness, capabilities, and capacity in line with the demands of the 2014 Quadrennial Defense Review, Deputy Defense Secretary Bob Work told reporters Monday. “Like it or not, America remains the global first security responder of choice, as we’ve seen in the last year,” said Work. He highlighted emerging US commitments in Europe a s well as the Defense Department’s engagement in West Africa to curb the spread of the Ebola virus and the US-led counter-ISIS coalition in the Middle East. Today, there are some 211,000 US military personnel deployed to 136 countries, preserving the peace or fighting US adversaries, said Work. At the proposed budget levels, DOD would assume “manageable levels of risk” to meet the priorities laid out in the QDR, from rebalancing to the Asia-Pacific region to sustaining counterterrorism operations and prioritizing modernization. Work, however, warned Congress that the strategy becomes “brittle” at lower funding levels and any broad denial of reforms, such as platform retirements, would make risk “unmanageable.” Navy Adm. James Winnefeld, Joint Chiefs’ vice chairman, said a lower budget topline would require adjustments to US “freedom of action” and deterrence and assurance operations abroad. This would, in turn, necessitate DOD re-examining the force planning construct from the 2014 QDR, he said. (Work-Winnefeld transcript)
When the Air Force sets a new program baseline for the B-52 re-engining this fall, there will be “some” cost increase, because the project wasn't previously fully funded, and the Air Force has a better handle on actual supplier costs and knowledge from ground testing, program officials said.