Defense officials announce fiscal 2013 budget priorities
Defense Department officials used the new defense strategy guidance that President Barack Obama announced earlier this month to shape the budget request.
Spending priorities in the forthcoming fiscal year 2013 defense budget request call for reductions in the end strength of the Army and Marine Corps, an increase in special operations forces and maintaining the number of big-deck carriers, Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta said in Washington on Thursday.
The Pentagon's budget topline request is set at $525 billion for fiscal 2013 with an additional $88.4 billion for overseas contingency operations -- mostly in Afghanistan. This is down from $531 billion and $115 billion, respectively, in this fiscal year.
Defense Department officials used the new defense strategy guidance that President Barack Obama announced earlier this month to shape the budget request, the secretary said.
The budget seeks to minimize the impact of cuts on personnel accounts. Service members will receive their full pay raises in fiscal 2013 and 2014, Panetta said. "We will achieve some cost savings by providing more limited pay raises beginning in 2015," he added.
Health care is another important benefit, and one that has far outpaced inflation. Changes to health care will not affect active duty personnel or their families, Panetta said.
"We decided that to help control growth of health care costs, we are recommending increases in health care fees, co-pays and deductibles for retirees," he said. "But let me be clear that even after these increases, the cost borne by military retirees will remain below the levels in comparable private-sector plans."
Overall, the request puts DOD on the path to save $259 billion over the next five years and $487 billion over the next 10. Panetta called the budget "a balanced, complete package" that keeps the American military the pre-eminent force in the world.
It is a balanced package, the secretary said, because while some programs are eliminated or delayed, others are increased. The budget looks to re-shape the military to be more agile, quick and flexible that incorporates the lessons learned in 10 years of war, he added.
Increasing the number of special operations forces is key to the plan, Panetta said, and special operators will begin to shift back to their traditional pre-9/11 mission of instructing local forces.
The request puts the Army on a path to drop to 490,000 soldiers and the Marine Corps to 182,000 Marines over five years. Currently, the two services have 562,000 and 202,000 active-duty members, respectively. The secretary noted this is still higher than the numbers on 9/11.
Read more from Jim Garamone here on the Defense News link.