March 30, 2023

Situation Report: DoD’s Christmas wish list

Source: Foreign Policy

Journalists: Jack Detsch, Robbie Gramer

“You have items that are too vague to be useful,” Becca Wasser, a senior fellow and head of the Gaming Lab at the Center for a New American Security, said in a text message.

Naughty or nice. The Pentagon is reconsidering the “merits of the approach” of military wish lists, Pentagon money man Michael McCord wrote in a letter to Sen. Elizabeth Warren, one of the chief critics of the idea, that was obtained by CQ Roll Call. Warren had a bill late in the last Congress, co-sponsored by a bipartisan tag team of three other senators, to try to end the unfunded lists.

And the phenomenon—which dates back to the mid-1990s—goes way beyond INDOPACOM. For instance, the U.S. Air Force wants $2.5 billion more to, in part, accelerate deliveries of a next-generation battle management and command-and-control plane, leaving experts wondering if all of this financial juicing is a service to the game of budget baseball.

“[L]ike all things, you have to ask the question of why it wasn’t in the budget in the first place?” Wasser said. “Is this an area of disagreement with the building? Was it not a true priority when it should have been? Or is this an area where INDOPACOM knows Congress will follow through on funding so it’s a way to double dip?”

Read the full story and more from Foreign Policy.


  • Becca Wasser

    Senior Fellow, Defense Program

    Becca Wasser is a Senior Fellow for the Defense Program and lead of The Gaming Lab at the Center for a New American Security. Her research areas include defense strategy and o...