It’s that time of year when the president’s annual budget is due to Congress, and with it, the annual update to the Pentagon’s future years defense program. The program is a projection of the forces, resources, and capabilities needed to support Department of Defense operations over a five-year period. The future years defense program covers the current “year of execution” and the next four years. These five-year plans are typically delivered to Congress with the defense resources for the two previous fiscal years and force structure estimates for the three years following the program.
Normally, both the president’s budget and the future years defense program would be delivered during the first week of February. But, in a transition between administrations, they are typically delayed as the incoming administration reviews the program developed by the outgoing administration and makes changes to it. This transition is no different — therefore, we should see the budget and defense program before May 1.
One hopes Washington won’t lose another year as its competitors continue to chip away at America’s conventional overmatch.
The coming update to the defense program promises to be more important than usual. It’s been over three years since the National Defense Strategy established a long-term strategic competition with “revisionist powers” — particularly China — as the primary defense challenge facing the joint force. During this time, the services have all been developing new operational concepts and the platforms and capabilities to support them. It’s time to start seeing concrete changes in the defense program that should follow.
Read the full article from War on the Rocks.
More from CNAS
CommentaryWho’s to Blame for Asia’s Arms Race?
As Beijing has grown stronger, it has also become increasingly belligerent....
By Tom Shugart
CommentaryFor JADC2 to Have a Chance, DoD Needs to Get Serious About Data Standards
We are past the tipping point where information and decision-centric capabilities are more important instruments of war than kinetic weapons....
By Robert O. Work & Billy Fabian
CommentaryThe U.S. Military and the Coming Great-Power Challenge
Simply put, China and Russia had no interest in joining a U.S.-led international order. They had long rejected it. They had only lacked the means to openly contest it....
By Dr. Andrew Krepinevich, Jr.
CommentarySharper: Global Posture
The Department of Defense is finalizing the first global posture review of the Biden administration, an assessment of the U.S. military's global footprint. What will the admin...
By Anna Pederson