Wed. Apr 14th, 2021

It’s incredible and As of now, the heartburn is true: Just 10 days after the President’s budget was released, the Navy said it could not find a big piece of the pie.

These stratospheric numbers are part of the military’s much larger construction after the president desired it, but Largely unproven, Decline in military readiness and capabilities. With such a huge amount of money being spent on Pentagon programs, I felt that perhaps nothing would be wanted by the military services that did not include it in the Pentagon’s budget request.

Well, this is what I get for making assumptions.

On 22 February, the Chief of Naval Operations sent the leadership of the House Armed Services Committee Letter With a list of unfit priorities. At least, that’s what the military services call these “wish lists”. The latest moniker for the items on this list is “Unnecessary Contribution to Naval Power.” And the Admiral recognizes a value of $ 1.5 billion. So in addition to the already massive funds to the Navy, they are asking for an increase of less than 1 percent. With this large number, it is undeniable that it is important that the Navy get this collision.

Provide me a little history Back when (say, the 1980s) these lists were “called”Unnecessary requirements“And colloquially referred to as the UFR (” Yoffers “). The list was the last refuge of industry lobbyists who were unable to obtain funding for a program in the actual Pentagon budget request. The military service contracted Had put a bone on. Program on Undefined List. Advocates of that corporation would then charge Capitol Hill with the list and try to get a member of Congress to ask appropriation committees to add funds to the program.

It was common in the bad days of the old days earmarks. (Taxpayers spent many, many hours for my organization, Common Sense, based on yearmarks and research Build a database You can use it to remind yourself of the mischief that Congress used to do in this way.)

Political cartoon on economy

A former Secretary of Defense then unilaterally announced that in his Pentagon, there was no such thing as an unnecessary requirement. All “requirements” must, necessarily, be funded. Therefore, Semantha won the day and the new phrase was “priority”. Yet another secretary of defense killed the practice outright and no such list was prepared by the military services for many years.

But, recently, the practice has recurred. Soon we will see that other military services follow the leadership of naval chiefs and claim that they have identified programs that are “unfunded contributors” to the power of that service.

How does the Navy want to spend this additional $ 1.5 billion?

Admiral John Richardson, identified in his letter to the committee, has 12 research and development programs, totaling $ 253 million. (The list identifies some programs funded by more than one pot of money. I will leave it for writing purposes.) The Department of the Navy requests for a total (which includes both the Navy and Marine Corps). Research and development is $ 18.8 billion in fiscal year 2019. But, somehow, for these 12 programs, the relatively small amount of money did not make it into the budget. Probably because they are not really necessary “contributors.”

Another 18 of the unfunded programs are bought for just over 1 billion dollars. Again, the Navy’s overall purchase request was $ 58.5 billion, but it was not enough.

Finally, six works and maintenance accounts are listed as requiring more money. The total for these six programs is about $ 134 million, but somehow, the Navy’s overall divisions for operation and maintenance of $ 63.4 billion could not fit them.

Remember that this is just the Navy’s unfunded list. As I mentioned above, I have no doubt that the Marines, Air Force and Army also have these lists, but they have not yet been made public. Nothing surprises me in Washington’s budget wars, but I didn’t really expect the military services to have Chutzpah to argue that the $ 686 billion budget for the Pentagon was sufficient to address their needs. Does not meet.

Ten days after the release of the President’s budget request, and already the Pentagon is asking for more. stay tuned.

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