DOD budget forecast threatens new technology deployments

Health care costs, equipment maintenance could take priority over modernization

Personnel and equipment costs might cut deeply into key defense acquisition programs over the next several years, reports Michael Bruno at Aviation Week.

The Defense Department could spend as much as $7 billion less each year on weapons procurement and research in the coming years, analysts from the Congressional Research Service and Congressional Budget Office told the House Budget Committee on Oct. 14. The DOD budget is about $624 billion annually.

Rising personnel and equipment costs are likely to put a hard squeeze on accounts for weapons modernization programs and research and development, according to the researchers.

Sharply rising costs for health care and maintenance will adversely affect DOD efforts to keep pace with a steep technology curve in areas such as intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) and also efforts to counter roadside bombs, the researchers said.

If there is no real growth in defense budgets in the coming years, then DOD would be forced to make difficult trade-offs such as cutting the size of the force or taking measures to reduce operating costs, reports Megan Scully at Congress Daily.

Secretary of Defense Robert Gates inserted $2 billion in the department’s fiscal 2010 budget specifically for ISR, Defense Systems previously reported.

About the Author

William Welsh is a freelance writer covering IT and defense technology.

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