2014 Budget

DOD budget includes boosts for cyber, future priorities

dollar question

Despite months of talk about drastic cost-cutting, the Defense Department's budget for fiscal 2014 may not look much smaller than last year's – or the previous few years, for that matter. However, Pentagon officials on April 10 insisted the administration's requested budget reflects changing and stark realities facing the military.

The fiscal 2014 DOD base budget provides $526.6 billion, and close to $90 billion in overseas contingency operations, or wartime funding. The base budget includes roughly $130 billion for the Army, $156 billion for the Navy, $144 billion for the Air Force and $97 billion for defense-wide activities.

The base budget is a decrease of nearly $4 billion, less than 1 percent, from last year's budget.

"As I discussed last week, the cost of infrastructure and overhead, acquisition and personnel compensation must be addressed in order to put the Defense Department budget on a sustainable path," Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said at a Pentagon press conference. "The request being presented today takes important steps in these areas."

According to a summary of the DOD budget proposal, the principal objectives for fiscal 2014 are to "act as good stewards of public funds, implement and deepen program alignment to the new defense strategy, create a force that is ready across a spectrum of missions and keep people central to our plans."

Within those goals are savings and efficiencies -- $34 billion worth in the 2014 budget across the future years' defense plan. The budget also asks for another round of Base Realignment and Closure in 2015, which would cost $2.4 billion over the next five years "but would eventually save substantial sums."

While the budget ignores spending cuts and caps that were mandated by 2011's Budget Control Act, it includes forward-looking investments for the post-Afghanistan military.

"The budget continues to pursue strategic priorities that reflect our nation's renewed commitment to our historical role in the Asia-Pacific region," officials wrote in budget documents posted to the White House's website. "It also targets resources toward other strategic priorities such as increasing our ability to effectively navigate the security challenges and opportunities of cyberspace, continuing to focus on funding on research and development and combatting terrorism."

Cyber, science and technology spotlighted

DOD's budget allocates nearly $5 billion to cyberspace operations – up from less than $4 billion last year – in addition to $10 billion for space and $2.5 billion for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance technologies. It also includes close to $66 billion for research, development, testing and evaluation; $12 billion for science and technology; and $3 billion for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, a nearly 2 percent increase over fiscal 2012.

The Pentagon budget boosts cybersecurity with initiatives for cyber forces and U.S. Cyber Command, as well as information-sharing through the Comprehensive National Cybersecurity Initiative Five, designed to connect cybersecurity centers and other cyber analytics electronically and in real time.

Other areas of cyber focus emphasized in the budget:

• Construction of the Joint Operations Center for USCYBERCOM at Ft. Meade, Md., scheduled to begin in 2014 and last through 2017;
• Development of tools to automate vulnerability detection on classified networks;
• Funding for commercial software for data monitoring of defense networks that will identify and isolate suspect files for analysis;
• Support for defensive cyberspace operations providing information assurance and cyber security to the defense networks at all levels;
• Enhancement of cyberspace range capabilities by increasing capacity, improving analysis, and mainstreaming and sustaining capabilities of the National Cyber Range developed by DARPA under the oversight of the DDOD's Test Resource Management Center.

In some cases, such as cybersecurity research, investment grew by as much as triple over fiscal 2012, according to budget documents.

Mining DOD buying for savings

Beyond cyber, acquisition reform also was highlighted as a priority.

Reforms to acquisition through the Better Buying Power initiative, originally launched by now-Deputy Defense Secretary Ashton Carter, are supported in the budget. Documents note that the program has helped DOD institute best practices, "including applying lessons learned, expanding strategic sourcing, establishing acquisition professional reviews and instituting peer reviews to ensure effective competition."

"Today's constrained funding environment makes it even more important that DOD find effective means to increase its purchasing power for goods and services," officials wrote. "New BBP initiatives address current fiscal realities, including enforcing affordability caps, measuring cost performance and aligning contractor profitability with acquisition goals."

In the press conference, Hagel noted some acquisition programs already have been shuttered, and hinted that could continue as the hunt for savings and acquisition reforms endure.

"Over the last four years, the department has canceled or curtailed more than 30 major acquisition programs...rebalancing our portfolio towards platforms better suited to 21st century security challenges, and making new investments in areas like cyber and advanced intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities," Hagel said.

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