2020 defense budget misses key strategic imperatives and missions, analysis says

Monitoring Desk

WASHINGTON: The proposed defense budget for fiscal year 2020 fails in the critical area of outlining how money will help support strategy, key threats, net assessments of U.S. and threat forces, and the impact on key commands and missions, an analysis released Tuesday said.

“U.S. strategy is shaped by joint operations and joint warfare, by U.S. capabilities in given regions of the world, and by global capabilities in areas like cyber, space, strategic, and global transportation power projection operations,” the analysis said.

“The entire budget submission is centered around the assumption that the U.S. needs more defense spending – rather than to spend more wisely on the right forces and missions,” it said.

The analysis was prepared by the Center for Strategic and International Studies and written by Anthony Cordesman, one of the think tank’s premier defense and military analysts.

They propose shifting the way the budget is developed: from money to individual services, to a program budget based upon the U.S. Unified Combatant Commands.

Such a shift “would reflect the fact that they – not the military services – have become the core of U.S. strategy, and plans and programs,” the analysis said.

Pentagon officials declined to comment on the report.

The fiscal 2020 budget calls for $750 billion for national security, of which $718.3 billion of which is for the Department of Defense.

“With the largest research and development request in 70 years, this strategy-driven budget makes necessary investments in next-generation technology, space, missiles, and cyber capabilities,” Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan said when the budget proposal was sent to Congress on March 12. “The operations and capabilities supported by this budget will strongly position the US military for great power competition for decades to come.”

He said the budget proposal is “a major milestone” in funding “the more lethal, agile, and innovative Joint Force America needs to compete, deter, and win in any high-end potential fight of the future.”

Cordesman said the budget numbers and explanations do not meet that claim.

“It is poorly structured even as a service-by-service input budget,” Cordesman wrote. “Rather than submit a unified defense budget, the Department requests a defense budget that is divided in into separate blocks that sometimes are so poorly defined that it is almost impossible to determine what spending levels actually apply to given spending categories.”

The analysis also noted — as CSIS has in the past — that the entire cost of “defense” is not included in the budget.  That includes such areas as the increasing cost of nuclear weapons and veterans care or the costs of the civil aspects of national security, such as foreign aid.

Including those areas could make the defense budget request closer to $850 billion, according to the analysis.

“After some 18 years of wars, the budget still does not present a credible total cost or budget for any given war,” Cordesman said.

“At a minimum, the U.S. needs a real ‘strategy driven budget.’ It needs to focus on key missions and regions, and do far more to justify military spending in net assessment terms. It needs to understand why the U.S. and its allies spend so much more than key threat countries. It needs to fully justify requests for more – rather than better – spending,” the analysis said.

Courtesy: (talkmedianews.com)