July 09, 2020

Investing in Great-Power Competition

Analysis of the Fiscal Year 2021 Defense Budget Request

By Susanna V. Blume and Molly Parrish

Executive Summary

This report asks whether the 2021 U.S. defense budget request is aligned with the 2018 National Defense Strategy (NDS) in selecting priority capability investments while taking risk in less urgent areas. We conclude that the Department of Defense (DoD) is making progress in NDS implementation in select sectors—for example, in pursuing new command and control and strike architectures. However, we also conclude that DoD continues to underinvest in some critical enablers that will make these emerging command and strike complexes work.

DoD is also making headway in developing new operational concepts, a need identified in the NDS Commission report, recent National Defense Authorization Acts, and recent Center for a New American Security (CNAS) Defense program reports. In this budget request, one begins to see the department leveraging these new concepts to make decisions about force design and resourcing. One thing is clear and consistent across all of the new operational concepts coming out of the department: They will require an extreme degree of jointness in military operations, greater than what the joint force currently practices. This idea is neatly summed up by the bumper sticker “any sensor, any shooter”—meaning that in a conflict with China or Russia, to close the number of kill chains required (a lot) in the time allowed (very little), the joint force must bring to bear all of its assets with maximum efficiency. To achieve this level of efficiency, a sensor belonging to one service must be able to pass a target to a strike asset belonging to another, with joint command and control capable of quickly prioritizing and optimizing based on targets to be serviced and strike assets available.

To determine whether the 2021 defense budget request makes the investments required to make this idea a reality, this report looks at the budget through the framework of these kill chains and their enablers. An examination of the defense budget through this framework shows there are a few areas where DoD is doing well:

  • The department has acknowledged the need for a truly joint approach to command and control and has made an initial investment in this area.
  • Though not perfect in terms of either capability or capacity, the U.S. military’s strike portfolio is large and varied, and becoming more so. When presented with targets, effectively commanded and controlled, and supported by combat credible posture and logistics, it is a formidable power indeed.

There are also a few critical deficiencies:

  • U.S. military posture must be decentralized in order to cope with Chinese and Russian anti-access/area-denial capabilities. Logistics must also be shored up, as they will be stressed by a more dispersed posture as well as by enemy attack.
  • The joint force must train the way it fights—that is, jointly. Current joint exercises are likely insufficient to deliver the joint high-end preparedness the U.S. military should have heading into a conflict with China or Russia.
  • Investment in the future, in the form of basic research and advanced technologies such as artificial intelligence, is still lagging.

Bottom line: DoD has made a down payment in the kind of command and control the joint force will need in a future conflict with China or Russia and continues to develop its large and varied strike portfolio. But the department needs to do more to ensure it has the posture, logistics, and joint training needed to make its new operational concepts work.

Introduction

This report asks whether the fiscal year 2021 budget requested by the Department of Defense (DoD) aligns with the priorities set forth in the 2018 National Defense Strategy (NDS). Specifically, the report looks at resource shifts relevant to warfighting vis-à-vis the NDS’s two primary threats, China and Russia. And at the outset, there is some good news on this front. More so than in recent years, the department seems to be engaged in an iterative process of concept development, force design, and resourcing decisions—meaning that new concepts are starting to drive different decisions about what the department is buying. The most promising development on this front is acknowledgment from each of the services that they must operate together seamlessly across domains. Evidence of this exists in the operational concepts coming out of the services, for example: the Army’s Multi-Domain Operations (MDO) concept; the Air Force’s work on Joint All-Domain Command and Control; and the ideas reflected in the Marine Corps’ Commandant’s Planning Guidance. The Joint Staff is currently leading an effort to bring these concepts together into a single unified joint warfighting concept.

Though jointness has been heralded as an operational necessity for decades, these new joint warfighting concepts include a stronger imperative for jointness in U.S. military operations than seen in recent years. To prevail in the kinds of anti-access environments that China, and to a lesser extent Russia, have created in their peripheries, the U.S. military must be able to close thousands of kill chains in tens of hours in highly contested environments. In other words, the joint force will have to find a great many targets and prioritize strike assets against them, then actually hit those targets, all while under attack. Doing so will require the ability to fully leverage U.S. military strike assets by feeding them targets from any source through a fully joint and highly efficient command and control regime. The U.S. military can no longer afford to operate in service- or domain-based stovepipes if it is to prevail against competitors such as China and Russia in the decades to come.

The U.S. military can no longer afford to operate in service- or domain-based stovepipes if it is to prevail against competitors such as China and Russia in the decades to come.

This observation stands in contrast to the department’s decision to organize its budget overview by domain, while espousing the imperative for operational concepts that transcend domains. It has the effect of further stovepiping investment decisions according to whether they operate in the sea or in outer space or on the ground, rather than making clear how a set of investment decisions will solve a strategic or operational problem by employing networked assets across all domains and services.

This report offers a solution in the form of a new framework for organizing DoD’s budget request. What follows is not a comprehensive overview of every program in or aspect of the fiscal year 2021 defense budget request. Rather, it is a relatively narrow review of some key investments that the Department of Defense has made (or not made) in solving the operational challenges presented by the NDS’s prioritization of strategic competition with China and Russia. This report starts by looking at the capabilities needed to close kill chains in the kinds of anti-access/area denial (A2/AD) environments that China and Russia have the ability to create in their peripheries. This section is organized accordingly by links in the kill chain, or the steps required to destroy adversary targets: 1) information; 2) command and control; and 3) strike. This report then assesses some critical enablers required to close kill chains: combat credible posture; resilient logistics; and joint training. It then addresses strategic forces, nuclear weapons and platforms, and homeland missile defense. Finally, this report concludes with a look at DoD’s investments in basic research and fundamental enabling technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and quantum computing.

Investing in Closing Kill Chains

The following analysis addresses critical investments that the Department of Defense has made (or not made) to close kill chains in denied environments, agnostic to the domain in which various platforms operate. In taking this approach, this report shows how the investment decisions DoD has made must work together to turn the often-heard Pentagon talking points of “any sensor, any shooter” and “thousands of kill chains in tens of hours” into real, viable operational concepts. This approach also makes clear capability gaps or areas of underinvestment that will hinder the military’s ability to execute the emerging joint operational concepts. This section is organized accordingly by links in the kill chain, or the steps required to destroy adversary targets: 1) information; 2) command and control; and 3) strike.

Information

The first step in closing a kill chain is finding something to kill. While the fiscal year 2021 defense budget request does reveal divestment of some intelligence platforms that DoD has judged to be less relevant against China or Russia, investment in more resilient information collection platforms and approaches is lagging. While this portfolio of capabilities is large and incredibly diverse, it can be broken down into two principal parts: collection; and processing, exploitation, and dissemination, known as PED. Collection platforms exist from space to under the oceans and everywhere in between. Many of them also serve at least one other function in addition to intelligence collection, which makes it difficult to draw a box around this mission set in the budget data. It is worth noting that two collection platforms (both with other missions as well) will end production at the end of fiscal year 2020 if Congress accepts the plan put forth by the department in this budget request. The Navy requests no new P-8 aircraft in fiscal 2021, after having requested six in fiscal year 2020 (and being given nine by Congress). Similarly, the Air Force proposes to end its procurement of MQ-9 drones with the 24 authorized by Congress for fiscal year 2020 (up from 12 requested for that year). The Air Force will also end 10 contractor-operated combat air patrols (CAPs), leaving 60 remaining CAPs, all government operated.

Given the A2/AD environments that China and Russia have established in their peripheries and in which the U.S. military will need to collect information, DoD must develop resilient intelligence collection systems that can operate in and through this environment. An example of one of these developing systems is the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s (DARPA) Blackjack program, which will provide a large constellation of small satellites in low earth orbit designed to identify and track large numbers of targets concurrently. DoD is steadily increasing funding for this program year-on-year, requesting $76 million in fiscal year 2021.

DoD must develop resilient intelligence collection systems that can operate in and through this environment.

The information collected by these platforms and others is of little use without adequate PED, which makes sense of the information collected and ensures that it gets to the people who can take appropriate action based on it. PED is labor intensive, and thus expensive, slow, and incomplete; only a fraction of the data DoD collects is ever processed. It is frequently underresourced, and often cost estimates for new collection means do not adequately account for the PED required to make use of the information they collect. Unfortunately for the budget analyst, the cost of PED resides mostly in military and civilian human analysts and is impossible to discern from publicly available budget material. However, the need for faster and more cost-efficient PED is why one of the department’s first forays into operational applications of artificial intelligence occurred in this portfolio, known as Project Maven. Rechristened the “Algorithmic Warfare Cross-Functional Teams – Software Pilot Program,” the project would receive $250 million if Congress supports the department’s fiscal year 2021 request, up from $221 million in fiscal year 2020. Notably, funding drops off precipitously in the out years, likely based on the assumption that the capability that this project develops will transfer to the services, along with its procurement and sustainment costs. The effort seeks to apply commercial AI technology to assist human analysts in deriving useful information from full motion video that the department has collected. If successful, investment in this program could pay back very quickly.

Command, Control, and Communications

Once the joint force has found targets, it needs to prioritize them and assign its various strike assets against them. The command, control, and communications portfolio is perhaps the most noteworthy in the fiscal year 2021 defense budget request, as it is the piece of the puzzle needed to turn the “any sensor, any shooter” talking point into a reality. It is where the rubber meets the road on the imperative for increased jointness in warfighting. The department has made an important down payment in this critical area in the fiscal year 2021 request in the form of the Air Force’s emerging concept for Joint All-Domain Command and Control (JADC2). This concept seeks to enable the U.S. joint force to operate seamlessly across domains by allowing any sensor watching the battlespace to pass targets to any strike asset in range, prioritized through joint command. In theory, JADC2 would allow the U.S. joint force to operate at the speed and scale required to prevail in a conflict with China or Russia. The Air Force quotes its requested investment in JADC2 at $435 million for fiscal year 2021. The Advanced Battle Management System (ABMS) program contains critical components of this emerging JADC2 concept. ABMS is intended to replace the legacy systems that currently manage U.S. battlespace, including the Joint Surveillance and Target Attack Radar System (JSTARS) and the Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS). Funding requests for this program have grown enormously since the fiscal year 2020 cycle, where the Air Force requested $35.6 million, which Congress reduced to $8 million. In fiscal year 2021, the Air Force requests $302.3 million, with continued growth projected through fiscal year 2024.

While not as tangible as a new ship or a new airplane, getting joint all-domain command and control right is perhaps the most critical component to prevailing in a future conflict with China or Russia. Without resilient all-domain command and control, even a 355-ship Navy, an Air Force with 386 combat squadrons, and an Army with half a million soldiers in the active component will not be able to prevail in a conflict with China or Russia. These numeric force structure goals are utterly irrelevant without the ability to effectively connect different elements of the joint force to each other. The investment in the fiscal year 2021 program is a necessary down payment on a future joint force that is meaningfully able to connect any sensor to any shooter, dramatically amplifying the U.S. military’s combat effectiveness.

Advanced Battle Management System (ABMS) RDT&E FY19–FY25 (Adjusted for Inflation)

*Projected figures taken from FY21 Future Years Defense Program profile

Strike

Once the joint force has found something to strike and has prioritized that target and assigned a strike asset to it, something has to actually execute the strike. There are two principal parts to this piece of the kill chain: the payload itself and delivery system that helps the payload reach its target, though in some instances these two are combined into a single entity. There is tremendous diversity in this portfolio, and it spans domains. Some strike assets launch from long distance (stand-off); others require that they be closer to their targets (stand-in). A consensus appears to be forming around the idea that a mix of stand-off and stand-in capabilities is the best approach against an advanced adversary such as China or Russia. This section of the report provides an overview of some critical munitions and their delivery platforms. It is not intended to be a comprehensive view of the joint force’s strike assets. Rather, it is a narrow look at a few of the department’s investment decisions that are most relevant to (or incongruous with) the priorities established in the NDS. Overall, DoD’s strike portfolio is large and robust. Though there is always room for improvement, this portfolio is not where the department needs to put its next marginal dollar given resource imperatives in other areas discussed in this report.

According to the under secretary of defense for research and engineering, Mike Griffin, the department’s No. 1 research and development priority is hypersonic weapons. Recent budget requests, including the fiscal year 2021 request, reflect this prioritization. The Air Force, Army, and Navy all have hypersonic weapons programs, and the total request across the department for fiscal year 2021 is $3.2 billion, up from $2.6 billion in fiscal year 2020. These figures include the Army’s Long Range Hypersonic Weapon program, the Navy’s Conventional Prompt Strike program, and the Air Force’s Advanced Rapid Response Weapon program. The redundancy of this approach, while perhaps not efficient, does reduce risk by ensuring that, if one program encounters delays or technical challenges, there are two others to fall back on. While Army and Navy investment in their hypersonic weapons programs increased in this budget cycle, Air Force investment is down. This reduced investment on the part of the Air Force is a result of the service’s decision to down-select from two different hypersonic weapon approaches to one. The decision to down-select was made easier because the Army and Navy programs provide the redundancy that the Air Force sought by funding two different developmental approaches. While it is certainly a desirable capability to be able to service targets very fast from very far away, one wonders if the magnitude of this investment is completely appropriate relative to other game-changing technologies outside this portfolio, such as artificial intelligence (more on this topic later).

Other, somewhat slower moving munitions are also critical relative to the threats posed by China and Russia, and the fiscal year 2021 budget request invests in them appropriately. Among them is the Long-Range Anti-Ship Missile (LRASM). DoD plans to acquire 53 missiles in fiscal year 2021, 48 by the Navy and five by the Air Force. The Navy request remains consistent over time, with the service having asked for 48 missiles in fiscal year 2020 and projecting procurement of 48 missiles per year through 2024. The Air Force procurement profile is more erratic. In its fiscal year 2020 budget request, the Air Force reflected no planned LRASM procurement. The Future Years Defense Program (FYDP) profile in the fiscal year 2021 request shows no LRASM procurement in fiscal year 2022 but indicates intent to acquire 44 missiles in fiscal year 2023, 52 missiles in fiscal year 2024, and 28 missiles in fiscal year 2025. LRASM shares a production line with the Joint Air-to-Surface Stand-off Missile (JASSM), a low-observable air-to-ground weapon. In fiscal year 2021, the Air Force requests 400 of these missiles, down from its request of 430 missiles in fiscal year 2020. Given the criticality of these weapons relative to advanced adversaries, procuring them at the maximum production rate would support NDS implementation.

Quantities Requested of Long-Range Anti-Ship Missile (LRASM) and Joint Air-to-Surface Stand-off Missile (JASSM) FY20–FY25

*Projected figures taken from FY21 Future Years Defense Program profile

The Air Force has reduced funding for some munitions based on its judgment that these stockpiles have sufficiently recovered from the depletion they experienced due to the air campaigns in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Syria. For example, the Air Force has reduced its request for Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) guidance kits by more than half from fiscal year 2020 to fiscal year 2021. Similarly, the Air Force has reduced its planned Small Diameter Bomb (SDB) procurement by almost two-thirds over the same period. These munitions are much less expensive than weapons such as LRASM and JASSM. For example, compare the Air Force’s fiscal year 2021 unit cost for LRASM of just over $3.9 million to the SDB’s unit cost of just under $39,000. As a result, even these significant reductions in volume for JDAM and SDB do not generate the kind of cost savings that would allow the department to majorly increase procurement of more sophisticated weapons. Still, every dollar counts if it is reinvested wisely, and these reductions are consistent with the direction charted in the NDS, based on the service’s assessment of its inventory.

Air Force Quantities Requested of Joint Direct Attack Munitions (JDAM) and Small Diameter Bombs (SDB) FY20–FY25

*Projected figures taken from FY21 Future Years Defense Program profile

The Navy’s request for Tomahawk missiles increased to 155 in fiscal year 2021, up from the 90 requested in fiscal year 2020 and the 90 planned for fiscal year 2021 in the fiscal year 2020 FYDP. This stalwart missile recently underwent significant upgrades in its block V variant, increasing its utility against challenging targets, both on land and at sea. In a similar vein, the Navy’s requested procurement of Mk-48 torpedoes has nearly doubled, from 58 requested in fiscal year 2020 to 110 requested in fiscal year 2021. Requested investment in developing new upgrades for the Mk-48 is also up year-on-year by about 28 percent. These investments in highly capable munitions, which would be in high demand in the event of a conflict with China or Russia, are a very positive development for the Navy.

Conversely, the Navy decreased its planned fast-attack submarine (SSN) procurement by one boat in fiscal year 2021. This is a curious choice. Given the persistent advantages the United States enjoys in the subsurface domain against even the most advanced adversaries, this decision seems inconsistent with the NDS. Perhaps that is why the Navy has listed restoration of this boat as Item No. 1 on its unfunded priorities list.

These investments in highly capable munitions, which would be in high demand in the event of a conflict with China or Russia, are a very positive development for the Navy.

Another curious choice is the decision to decrease requested funding for the B-21 bomber program. Requested funding is down: 1) relative to the fiscal year 2020 request by just over 5 percent; 2) relative to the amount Congress appropriated for fiscal year 2020 by about 4.5 percent; and 3) relative to the FYDP plan the Air Force published last year by approximately 6.5 percent. This decrease in funding, and the downward trajectory projected over the FYDP, could simply be a function of where the program is in its development cycle and the planned transition from development to procurement. As yet, there is no procurement funding for this aircraft in the budget request; as a result, one cannot yet see a commensurate increase there. However, the timing would be consistent with the Air Force’s indications that the program will achieve initial operating capability in the mid-2020s. Additional details are scarce, as the program is highly classified. One thing, however, is certain, and that is the criticality of long-range penetrating strike capability in the event of a conflict with China or Russia.

B-21: Comparison of Requested RDT&E Funding Levels in FY20 and FY21 FYDP Profiles (Adjusted for Inflation)

Meanwhile, the B-52 commercial engine replacement program (CERP) proceeds more or less according to the plan laid out in the fiscal year 2020 FYDP projection. The Air Force projects that the current B-52H engines will become unsustainable to maintain by 2030 due to obsolete technology and difficulty in obtaining spare parts. This program will keep these bombers, in service since 1961, flying through 2050. The B-52 CERP program is part of the Air Force’s answer to its bomber capacity problem, which the service has compounded by deciding to retire 17 B-1Bs in this budget cycle due to difficulties sustaining that fleet. However, if paired with long-range penetrating munitions, the B-52 should remain relevant to high-end conflicts for many more years to come.

After a turbulent fiscal year 2020 cycle, the department’s requested investment in tactical aircraft has more or less stabilized. The Air Force’s Next Generation Air Dominance (NGAD) program is proceeding according to the FYDP profile established in the fiscal year 2020 request. The Air Force is also sustaining the FYDP trajectory established in the fiscal year 2020 budget request for the F-35A. The Navy has increased its planned fiscal year 2021 F-35C procurement from 18 to 21 aircraft, but reduced its planned procurement by nine jets in fiscal year 2022 and by one jet in fiscal year 2023. The Navy has also reduced its F-35B request for the Marine Corps from the fiscal year 2020 plan, from 15 jets planned for fiscal year 2021 to 10 in the fiscal year 2021 request. Both the Air Force and the Navy have additional F-35s on their unfunded priorities lists, and Congress has in the past added additional aircraft above the numbers in the department’s request. The Air Force has reduced its planned F-15EX buy, from 18 planned down to 12 requested for fiscal year 2021, with similar decreases in fiscal years 2022 and 2023.

The biggest change in this portfolio is the Navy’s decision to end production of the F/A-18E/F after fiscal year 2021. The fiscal year 2020 FYDP profile projected continued procurement through fiscal year 2024. The fiscal year 2021 FYDP profile requests 24 aircraft in 2021 (consistent with last year’s plan) and then ends the program. The Navy justifies this decision by stating that the resources will be redirected toward its own NGAD program, but this shift in resources is not apparent in the Navy’s budget justification books. However, this is not the first time the Navy has planned to discontinue F/A-18 procurement, and so termination of the buy is not assured, particularly given Congress’s prior record of restoring these aircraft in its authorization and appropriations bills.

Comparison of Quantities Requested in FY20 and FY21 FYDP Profiles for F-35 (A, B, and C variants), F-15EX, and F/A-18

Both the Navy and the Air Force have increased their planned procurement of the Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missile (AMRAAM), the most advanced air-to-air missile currently in production. The Air Force requests 414 missiles in fiscal year 2021, 194 more missiles than it requested in fiscal year 2020 and 26 more missiles than it had planned to buy in fiscal year 2021 as projected in the fiscal year 2020 FYDP. The Navy requests 325 missiles in fiscal year 2021, up from 169 missiles requested in fiscal year 2020 but down slightly from its fiscal year 2020 plan to request 331 missiles in fiscal year 2021. Conversely, both services have also decreased their requested procurement of the AIM-9X sidewinder air-to-air missile. The Air Force requests 331 missiles in fiscal year 2021, 24 fewer missiles than it requested in fiscal year 2020 and 22 fewer than it had planned to request in fiscal year 2021 in its fiscal year 2020 FYDP. The Navy requests 270 missiles for fiscal year 2021, a similar reduction from its fiscal year 2020 request of 292 and its fiscal year 2021 plan for 299. The unit cost of an AMRAAM is roughly double the unit cost of an AIM-9X, so unfortunately the reductions in the latter do not fully cover the additional cost of the former.

Requested Quantities of AIM-9X Sidewinder Air-to-Air Missiles and Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missiles (AMRAAM) FY20–FY25

*Projected figures taken from FY21 Future Years Defense Program profile.

The Army’s long-range precision fires (LRPF), which is the first of the service’s “Big 6” modernization priorities, is another interesting offering in the strike category. Requested investment in research and development for this program is down year-on-year by nearly 27 percent. Part of this decrease could be explained by the fact that an early component of the LRPF family, the Precision Strike Missile (PrSM), will enter production in fiscal year 2021. The Army request includes 30 of these missiles in fiscal year 2021, ramping up to 350 per year at the end of the FYDP. Another notable increase in this portfolio is investment in land-based anti-ship missile technology, which nearly doubled from fiscal year 2020 to the fiscal year 2021 request. Striking maritime targets at range from land is a new area of exploration for the Army and exemplifies its emerging commitment to MDO, particularly in the Indo-Pacific.

Last but not least, there are nonkinetic means of striking targets, specifically through cyberspace and the electromagnetic spectrum, and these modalities will grow in importance over time. DoD puts its requested investment in “offensive and defensive cyberspace operations” at $3.8 billion for fiscal year 2021, up from $3.7 billion in fiscal year 2020. Unfortunately, additional detail on what exactly this figure comprises is unavailable at the unclassified level, but at least the overall investment trend is moving in the right direction.

DoD does not offer a similar aggregated number for its electronic warfare programs, but there are some programs one can look at to understand the trends in the department’s investment in electronic warfare. The Navy’s Surface Electronic Warfare Improvement Program (SEWIP) is one example. Funding for block III of this program is steady between fiscal years 2020 and 2021 at approximately $22 million–23 million in each year, dropping off precipitously through the rest of the FYDP. This drop-off could be explained by transition to block IV of this program, which the Navy included in its fiscal year 2020 FYDP, but which is not mentioned in the fiscal year 2021 budget submission. As such, there is no way to judge where this program is headed beyond fiscal year 2021. Another example is the Air Force’s Eagle Passive Active Warning Survivability System (EPAWSS). Funding for this program is in flux, likely driven by recent decisions on F-15EX procurement. Reading between the lines, it appears as though the Air Force has shifted roughly $150 million from procurement to research, development, test, and evaluation (RDT&E) for fiscal year 2021 only, resuming something resembling the prior year’s FYDP projection in the out years. Aside from this anomaly, funding for this program remains relatively stable. While one cannot judge based on these examples only, one hopes there are substantial investments in electronic warfare capability not immediately discernible in publicly available budget documents, given its criticality in a hypothetical conflict with an adversary such as China or Russia.

Investing in Enablers

To close kill chains with the concepts and weapons systems described above, the military needs certain enablers to make this reconnaissance and strike complex work. Unfortunately, key aspects of current U.S. military posture, logistics, and training are not suited to future conflict with adversaries such as China and Russia. DoD must invest to remedy these deficiencies. The fiscal year 2021 defense budget request falls short of what the military requires in these three key areas: resilient posture, logistics, and joint training.

Resilient Posture

Resilient infrastructure is another area of chronic underinvestment for DoD, and the fiscal year 2021 defense budget request continues this trend, with a few modest exceptions. Since World War II, the United States has invested heavily in a highly efficient overseas basing structure. U.S. forces operate principally from a relatively small number of very large main operating bases, augmented by smaller forward operating sites and allied and partner facilities, known as cooperative security locations. Main operating bases are capable of generating significant combat power efficiently by concentrating logistics, maintenance, and quality of life support. These large hubs also present excellent targets for U.S. adversaries. This highly centralized posture has worked well against adversaries incapable of seriously threatening these main operating bases, but China in particular has invested substantially in the missile forces required to turn these hubs into giant smoking craters.

One possible solution to this problem lies in adjusting U.S. military posture such that forces operate from a larger number of geographically distributed locations. And the services have developed concepts to do precisely that. Experts have long been discussing the imperative for the Air Force to disburse its tactical aircraft in the event of a conflict with China. The Navy has developed and continues to mature its concept for distributed maritime operations. The Marine Corps has its concept for expeditionary advanced base operations (EABO). Geographic distribution of forces is implicit in the Army’s MDO concept.

This highly centralized posture has worked well against adversaries incapable of seriously threatening these main operating bases, but China in particular has invested substantially in the missile forces required to turn these hubs into giant smoking craters.

However, actual investment in infrastructure and expeditionary capability lags behind the development of these concepts. Over the course of the past several years, the department has invested in infrastructure at European bases for both the Army and the Air Force, and continues to do so in the fiscal year 2021 budget, albeit at lower levels than in previous years, asking for $436 million for this purpose. This short history of investment is a good start, reversing the post-Cold War trend of base closure and consolidation in Europe.

The basing story in Asia is more complicated. Despite Chinese missile forces having presented an even greater threat to U.S. military posture in the region for decades, U.S. forces remain heavily concentrated in relatively few locations. Allied and partner airfields can be instrumental in adding to the number of operating locations in play, although in some cases it is far from certain whether the countries in question would grant the United States military access to these locations in the event of a conflict, making investment in these locations risky. As a result, the Air Force has focused on investing in infrastructure in the U.S. territories of Guam and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands and continues to do so in the fiscal year 2021 budget request. These are worthy investments, to be sure, but the absence of any other Air Force military construction in the Indo-Pacific region is concerning. The bottom line is that it is incredibly difficult (and expensive) to break the department’s addiction to the efficiency of massing forces in central locations. However, DoD must do so for U.S. forces stationed in theater to survive the first hours of a war with an advanced adversary, and for the military infrastructure to continue to support generations of effective combat power thereafter.

Despite Chinese missile forces having presented an even greater threat to U.S. military posture in the region for decades, U.S. forces remain heavily concentrated in relatively few locations.

Another part of the solution to the vulnerability of U.S. forces in theater lies in better defending them, and on the whole investment in air defense is up slightly in the fiscal year 2021 budget request but remains below where it should be given the vulnerability of U.S. infrastructure. There are several systems relevant to this mission. The Mobile Short-Range Air Defense (M-SHORAD) system is designed to protect maneuver forces in the field. The fiscal year 2021 request for this system is up more than $200 million over the prior year’s request, totaling $542 million. Investment in the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system has increased by a similar amount year-on-year, totaling $872 million for fiscal year 2021. This system protects static targets (such as airfields) from short-, medium-, and intermediate-range ballistic missiles. The Indirect Fire Protection Capability Increment 2 (IFPC) does the same, but for cruise missiles. In the fiscal year 2021 defense budget request, investment in procurement is down from the fiscal year 2020 plan while RDT&E funding has increased by roughly the same amount, again relative to the fiscal year 2020 plan. This shift indicates a possible setback in the program’s development.

The Navy’s AEGIS missile defense system, both the shipboard and ashore variants, can also play a role in air-base defense. Investment in procuring this system, including SM-3 interceptors, is up over $200 million year-on-year, though overall spending has decreased due to reduced RDT&E funding; the total request for fiscal year 2021 is $1.8 billion. Despite this increase, additional SM-3 procurement remains on the Missile Defense Agency’s (MDA) unfunded priorities list; the agency would like an additional $231 million to procure 10 more interceptors, maxing out the production rate. (The homeland defense applications of both the AEGIS and THAAD systems are discussed further in the next chapter.) Last but not least, investment in the legacy Patriot air defense system, which the Army continues to upgrade, is also down year-on-year, coming in at $842 million for fiscal year 2021 plus $780 million for the missile segment enhancement. Despite the fact that the Army has responsibility for the air defense mission for the joint force, MDA and the Navy contribute significant resources in this area, funding the THAAD and Aegis systems.

Logistics

Logistics is a chronic area of underinvestment for the joint force and remains so in the fiscal year 2021 request. In addition to this habitual shortage, DoD finds itself facing two new challenges in this area. First, the distributed basing described here will be much more demanding of logistics systems than the current highly concentrated posture. Second, adversaries such as China or Russia will attack U.S. logistics infrastructure in a way the military has not had to contend with since World War II. In light of these facts, it is clear that additional investment is required in this area. Unfortunately, the fiscal year 2021 budget request does not do much to remedy these shortcomings.

The Navy’s organic sealift fleet is in dire need of recapitalization. In this regard, the Navy’s fiscal year 2021 budget request is an improvement over last year, but only marginally. It adds one sealift ship to the fleet over the course of the FYDP, up from zero in the fiscal year 2020 plan. The airlift story in the Air Force is not much better. The C-17 has been out of production for several years. The fiscal year 2021 defense budget request would end procurement of the C-130J as well. These trends are troubling given the added stress on sealift and airlift fleets driven by the imperative to further distribute military operations, as well as the losses that would occur to these fleets in the event of a hot conflict with China or Russia.

One possible mitigation for the lack of available lift is pre-positioned equipment, or PREPO. Over the course of the past several years, the department has invested significantly in upgrading existing PREPO stocks in Europe as part of the European Deterrence Initiative (EDI). These investments are starting to decline as projects conclude. The department requests $1.9 billion in fiscal year 2021 for this purpose, down from $2.3 billion in fiscal year 2020 and $3.2 billion in fiscal year 2019. In the Indo-Pacific region, the story is less straightforward. For example, the Marine Corps keeps two shipborne sets of pre-positioned equipment afloat in the region, known as Maritime Pre-positioning Ship Squadrons (MPSRONs), seemingly a sensible approach given the distances over which equipment would have to travel in the event of a conflict in the region. However, Commandant of the Marine Corps General David Berger has recently indicated that his new force design will rethink these pre-positioned stocks given their vulnerability to Chinese attack, though the fiscal year 2021 defense budget request does not yet reflect this new assessment.

The ability to refuel combat ships and airplanes is also a critical piece of the logistics puzzle. Unfortunately, in the fiscal year 2021 budget request the Navy has cut its planned oiler procurement from seven to four over the FYDP. The Air Force’s planned procurement of KC-46 aerial refueling tankers over the FYDP remains the same as the fiscal year 2020 plan, purchasing either 12 or 15 aircraft per year through 2025. A pair of studies done as a result of congressional mandate in 2019 have judged planned Air Force tanker inventories sufficient.

Joint Training

Making the nascent joint warfighting concept work will require more than just developing new concepts and buying new hardware (and software). It will also require robust joint training to ensure that the joint force can execute the concept if called upon to do so. While the fiscal year 2021 budget request contains significant funding for joint training, it may not be the kind of training the joint force needs. Currently, the military conducts most high-end training at the service level, with inadequate consideration of how the services will fight together as an integrated joint force. For example, the Air Force’s series of Red Flag exercises provides advanced air-to-air combat training, often with allied-nation air forces, but without significant consideration of how the air fight would integrate with operations in other domains. Similarly, the Army’s new Defender series will rehearse the large-scale movement of ground forces to theater in combat credible formation. Based on public descriptions, like Red Flag it will include more touch points with allied militaries than with other U.S. military services. These and other service level training events are important and productive exercises, but they do not prepare the services to fight together as an integrated joint force.

This mode of training means that basically a service team arrives at a combatant command and enters a pick-up game with other service teams. Rarely have they had the opportunity to engage in meaningfully integrated joint training beforehand. To address this dynamic, DoD has long identified a need for joint training and has set aside a pot of money for this purpose, called the Combatant Commander Exercise and Engagement and Training Transformation, or CE2T2. The department requests $540 million for this program in fiscal 2021, down from the fiscal year 2020 request of $586 million.

This mode of training means that basically a service team arrives at a combatant command and enters a pick-up game with other service teams.

However, the CE2T2 exercise program planned for fiscal year 2021 leaves much to be desired in terms of meaningful, integrated U.S. joint training. Indeed, the exercise program has changed little over the years, as evidenced by the descriptions of various exercises as “annual” or “biennial.” It is a far cry from former Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis’s desire for strategic predictability, but operational unpredictability. Given that the department’s emerging joint warfighting concept will require a greater degree of interaction and connectivity across warfighting domains than the U.S. military has heretofore experienced, simply engaging in the same old joint exercises will not enable the service integration required to make the new operational concepts work. This is particularly true considering that many of these supposedly joint training exercises are still more focused on allied and partner engagement than they are on meaningful U.S. military joint training.

U.S. Marines conduct a raid in joint exercise Northern Edge 2019. (Rhita Daniel/DVIDS)

To draw an analogy with the sporting world, what the joint force has now is like an Olympic dream team, a collection of absolutely incredible athletes/services who are the best at what they do, but who have not logged the hours playing together as a unit. Dream teams can win, but they can also lose, and badly, if they fail to come together into a cohesive team. It does not matter how talented the individual players are if they do not know how to work together. What the United States needs is a joint force more like the 1980 men’s Olympic hockey team, known as the “miracle on ice” for its remarkable victory over the previously unbeatable Soviet national team. The U.S. team’s head coach, Herb Brooks, famously trained his players relentlessly to work together as a team, as opposed to a group of individual athletes, enabling them to beat the formidable and more experienced Soviets.

Investing in Strategic Forces

The previous sections of this report focus on the tactical and operational systems and concepts. However, the nation’s strategic forces—nuclear weapons and homeland ballistic missile defense capabilities—remain essential to the United States’ theory of security. Fiscal year 2021 investment in both of these portfolios is largely consistent with the administration’s extant strategies and plans.

Sustaining Nuclear Deterrence

The administration’s fiscal year 2021 budget request supports the course charted by the 2018 Nuclear Posture Review. The U.S. nuclear deterrent remains the bedrock of American and allied security. Current systems in all three legs of the nuclear triad are reaching end of service life; several have already undergone service life extension programs. Consequently, the air, ground, and sea legs of the nuclear triad have embarked on recapitalization programs. At the same time, some continued investment in legacy nuclear weapons systems is required to ensure continuity in America’s safe, secure, and reliable nuclear deterrent. The 2021 budget request funds these imperatives.

The air, ground, and sea legs of the nuclear triad have embarked on recapitalization programs.

The Columbia-class ballistic missile submarine, which will replace the Ohio-class submarines currently in the fleet, is furthest along of the three major nuclear forces modernization programs, with the first of 12 planned boats commencing production in fiscal year 2021. Year-on-year comparison to determine cost growth in this program is extremely difficult at this time, given that the fiscal year 2020 budget justification books showed only advanced procurement and did not display the actual procurement costs of the first boat in the class over the FYDP.

The other two components of the nuclear triad, both the purview of the Air Force, are still under development. The Ground Based Strategic Deterrent (GBSD) program, which will replace the Minuteman III, is ramping up according to plan. Funding for this program increases by roughly threefold from the fiscal year 2020 funding level ($557 million) to the fiscal year 2021 request ($1.5 billion), consistent with the FYDP projection provided in fiscal year 2020. Similarly, investment in the Long-Range Standoff Weapon (LRSO), which will replace the Air-Launched Cruise Missile (ALCM), is also consistent with the fiscal year 2020 FYDP profile. The Air Force requests $474 million for fiscal year 2021, down from $713 million in fiscal year 2020. The bombers required to deliver these weapons and others are discussed in the strike section of this report.

Nuclear Command, Control, and Communications (NC3) is an area of significant and badly needed growth. Without resilient and effective command and control, U.S. strategic forces cannot be considered safe, secure, and reliable, and so these systems must be modernized along with the triad. The department has requested $4.2 billion for fiscal year 2021, up $700 million from the fiscal year 2020 enacted level, which itself was $1 billion more than the administration’s request for that year.

Nuclear Command, Control, and Communications (NC3) (Adjusted for Inflation)

Lastly, the administration’s national defense budget this year included a significant increase in resources for the Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), over $3 billion above the fiscal year 2020 enacted level, which is an increase of over 18 percent. This agency is responsible for acquiring and maintaining the nuclear warheads themselves, as opposed to the delivery systems, which are DoD’s responsibility. NNSA also provides the nuclear cores for the Navy’s nuclear-powered ships and submarines. This investment, in addition to DoD’s investment in the triad, represents the administration’s commitment to the course it charted in the 2018 Nuclear Posture Review.

Homeland Missile Defense

The department has requested $20.3 billion for missile defense in fiscal year 2021. This figure includes both the MDA and service missile defense and defeat programs as reported by the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) and is down approximately $1.2 billion from the fiscal year 2020 enacted level. This reduction suggests a reset from the significant increases in funding for missile defense that occurred at the beginning of the Trump administration, driven in part by the prospect of imminent war with North Korea.

This graphic depicts MDA’s concept for a homeland layered missile defense, including Ground-based Midcourse Defense (GMD), AEGIS, and the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) systems. [Source: Missile Defense Agency, Budget Estimates Overview, Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 (February 2020), 9, https://www.mda.mil/global/documents/pdf/budgetfy21.pdf.]

A critical component of homeland missile defense is DoD’s missile warning satellites, known as next-generation Overhead Persistent Infrared (OPIR). This program, still in development, will replace the current Space-Based Infrared System (SBIRS). In 2019 the Air Force decided to accelerate fielding next-generation OPIR, canceling the planned procurement of two final SBIRS satellites in order to move ahead with the new program more quickly. As a result, the fiscal year 2020 defense budget request significantly increased funding for next-generation OPIR. The fiscal year 2021 budget request continues this plan, growing the program again by over half a billion dollars, for a total of $2.3 billion in the budget year, with slower growth continuing over the course of the FYDP.

The largest new investment in this space for fiscal year 2021 is the administration’s request for $664 million for the Next-Generation Interceptor (NGI) program. This program replaced the Redesigned Kill Vehicle (RKV), which the department canceled in August of last year. In light of the technical obstacles encountered in the RKV approach, the department is pursuing a new approach for NGI, funding two competitors for development of the new system.

MDA also continues to invest in the AEGIS and THAAD systems, which principally support theater missile defense missions, but are also part of the department’s layered homeland missile defense concept. Of particular interest is a relatively small request of $39 million for fiscal year 2021 to determine whether the AEGIS system can be made useful to counter intercontinental ballistic missile threats as part of the layered defense approach. Similarly, MDA requests $139 million in fiscal year 2021 to fund development of a new THAAD interceptor prototype for use as part of the missile defense architecture for the continental United States.

Finally, MDA requests $207 million in fiscal year 2021 for research and development of defensive systems against hypersonic weapons. This request is a substantial increase from the $157 million MDA requested in fiscal year 2020 for hypersonic defense. Defense against hypersonic weapons topped MDA’s unfunded priorities list for fiscal year 2020. Increased investment in this area is logical given Chinese and Russian interest in developing these weapons.

Investing in Technology Development

At the heart of the NDS is the fact that the U.S. military’s technological advantage is eroding vis-à-vis China. Developing the next generation of military technologies is thus an obviously necessary area of investment. While topline RDT&E investment is historically high, investment in basic research continues to decline in the fiscal year 2021 budget request, raising some concern that DoD’s technology pipeline will not be able to keep up with China’s.

Research and Development, Science and Technology

In rolling out the fiscal year 2021 defense budget request, acting Deputy Secretary of Defense David L. Norquist emphasized that this year’s RDT&E request is the largest in 70 years. The prioritization of RDT&E is consistent with the NDS’s focus on the erosion of U.S. military technological advantage, particularly vis-à-vis China. However, while investment in RDT&E on the whole has been growing, investment in the subset of RDT&E known as science and technology (S&T) has actually been on the decline, and this trend is worrying.

Total DoD RDT&E Request with S&T Broken Out (Adjusted for Inflation)

S&T spending (budget activities 6.1–6.3) is responsible for funding the majority of medium- to long-term revolutionary research in the Department of Defense. Budget activities 6.4 to 6.8—Advanced Component Development & Prototypes; System Development & Demonstration; Management Support; Operational Systems Development; and Software and Digital Technology Pilot Programs—are responsible for the near-term prototyping and fielding of new technologies and are also responsible for upgrades/improvements to technologies that DoD already has in its inventory. Hence, while all types of RDT&E spending are important, S&T spending is particularly important to ensuring U.S. military technological superiority in the long run.

By and large Congress agrees with this assessment and has already expressed displeasure with the fiscal year 2021 S&T spending request. As Ranking Member Representative Elise Stefanik said at a hearing of the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Intelligence and Emerging Threats and Capabilities, “Any degradation in these investments places the U.S. at a competitive disadvantage.” However, this trend is not new. Over the past 10 budget requests S&T funding as a percentage of the total RDT&E budget peaked in the fiscal year 2015 request at 18.1 percent. Since then, the percentage of the RDT&E requested for S&T has been steadily decreasing. For fiscal year 2021, the Department of Defense requested $14 billion in S&T spending, which is roughly 13 percent of the RDT&E request.

All of the services acknowledge in their strategy documents the importance of S&T spending to their own success, but they do not necessarily back these statements with investment choices. The Air Force published a science and technology strategy in April 2019, with the year 2030 and the implementation of the National Defense Strategy as its framing context. The strategy established three objectives: Develop and deliver transformational strategic capabilities; reform the way science and technology is led and managed; and deepen and expand the scientific and technical enterprise. However, when adjusted for inflation, the Air Force’s spending on S&T as a percentage of its entire RDT&E budget went from 6.2 percent in fiscal year 2020 down to 5.9 percent in fiscal year 2021.

Service S&T Spending as a Percentage of Respective RDT&E Requests

The Navy published its most recent S&T strategy in 2015, prior to the publication of the National Defense Strategy. However, like its Air Force and Army counterparts, it emphasizes a need for innovative solutions and technologies to the challenges the U.S. military will face in future conflicts. The Navy requested 11.2 percent of its RDT&E budget on S&T in fiscal year 2020. In fiscal year 2021, the Navy requested only 10.8 percent of its RDT&E budget to be spent on S&T.

The Army released its modernization strategy in 2019 that puts an emphasis on the need for discovery, innovation, and science and technology in order to support its MDO concept. The Army is the only service to increase its spending on S&T as a percentage of its total budget in the fiscal year 2021 request—19.8 percent in fiscal year 2020 to 20.3 percent in fiscal year 2021. However, this request is down from fiscal year 2015, when the Army was spending nearly 33 percent of its RDT&E budget on S&T.

There are two plausible explanations for the fact that S&T spending has been declining as a share of total RDT&E spending. The first is that the department’s modernization agenda currently entails making marginal upgrades to extant systems. Spending on this kind of upgrade to existing systems has remained fairly constant over the past 10 years, with an average of 37.9 percent of the RDT&E request going toward Operation Systems Development (budget activity 6.7). The fiscal year 2021 request was 37.4 percent, up slightly from the fiscal year 2020 request at 37.1 percent.

The second explanation of this shift of resources away from S&T is that as technologies mature, they move on to the prototyping and demonstration phases of development funding and out of the S&T portfolio. These stages of development, known as Advanced Component Development and Prototypes (budget activity 6.4) and System Development and Demonstration (budget activity 6.5), have averaged approximately 39 percent of the RDT&E request over the past 10 years. In fiscal year 2021, the department requests that 42.2 percent its RDT&E spending go to these categories, down from the fiscal year 2020 request which was for 42.9 percent of total RDT&E spending.

Both of these explanations represent valid decisions by the department’s leadership; it is certainly desirable to advance technologies through the development pipeline, and it is reasonable to seek to improve existing platforms. However, to do so at the expense of S&T spending funds the present by robbing from the future. Ensuring U.S. military technological superiority over the long run requires sustained investment in S&T, regardless of what may be happening in other parts of the RDT&E portfolio.

Artificial Intelligence

One of the more surprising aspects of the fiscal year 2021 defense budget request is that, by the department’s own accounting, its investment in artificial intelligence is actually down slightly year-on-year, from $927 million in fiscal year 2020 to approximately $800 million in fiscal year 2021. Calculating the department’s investment in artificial intelligence is admittedly difficult, and these figures are likely not comprehensive, although they are DoD’s own. Even so, the story they tell is concerning, given the potential that artificial intelligence and associated technologies have to profoundly change so many aspects of warfighting.

Investment in the Joint Artificial Intelligence Center (JAIC) serves as a narrow example. DoD established the JAIC to synchronize DoD efforts on artificial intelligence and thereby accelerate fielding of artificial intelligence capabilities. The department’s requested funding for the JAIC dropped by nearly 37 percent from fiscal year 2020 to fiscal year 2021, and the FYDP profile projects further reduction in fiscal year 2022. The department explains this reduction by noting a $25 million cut by Congress in fiscal year 2020 and the fact that some activities initiated within the JAIC have transitioned out of the organization. However, given the urgency of developing and fielding artificial intelligence capabilities, and the vast amount of work to be done in this space, funding should be moving in the other direction regardless of what activities may have transferred out of the organization.

Joint Artificial Intelligence Center (JAIC) Requested Funding FY20–FY25

*Projected figures taken from FY21 Future Years Defense Program profile

It is true that the commercial sector is leading on development of artificial intelligence in a way that it cannot for military-specific technologies (e.g., hypersonic weapons). However, there are two things that DoD must do for itself: 1) identify and develop the military-specific applications of artificial intelligence; and 2) invest in bringing commercial technology into DoD where commercial analogues exist (e.g., logistics systems, predictive maintenance, etc.). The department is moving too slowly on both counts. Evidence of this exists in the Air Force’s unfunded priorities list. The first item is an artificial intelligence technology, Skyborg, which is critical to achieving manned/unmanned aircraft teaming. Thus, at least for the Air Force, aggressive pursuit of artificial intelligence’s unique warfighting applications is an acknowledged deficiency, but a deficiency nonetheless.

Paying for it All

Defense spending has likely reached a high-water mark for the foreseeable future. The Trump administration projects growth at or slightly below inflation through the end of the FYDP. In other words, the money truck has already backed up to the Pentagon, and another one is not coming down the road. As a result, the defense budget will be under pressure the next few years, forced to locate the resources for critical investments in NDS implementation from within the existing program.

Defense Reform

For the past several years, DoD leadership has indicated an intent to fund investments critical to NDS implementation at least in part by pursuing greater efficiency in defense spending. For example, Defense Secretary Mark Esper opened the memo outlining his latest efficiency drive by stating that “Reforming the Department to free up time, money, and manpower is not optional– it is a strategic imperative if we are to modernize the Joint Force and improve its readiness and lethality.” Pursuing greater efficiency in the defense enterprise is certainly a laudable goal, which is why every secretary in recent memory has made it a significant part of his agenda. However, this also means that this ground is well trod. Over the course of several successive defense reform efforts going back decades, some conducted under significant pressure from Congress, the department has already taken all of the easy cuts. Leaders both in DoD and Congress have also lived to regret some of these cuts, as they were achieved not by increasing efficiency but by abandoning missions. For example, the Office of Cost Assessment and Program Evaluation (CAPE) divested significant analytic capability to cover “efficiency” bills in the early 2010s, which is now making it really difficult for the department to assess whether proposed force structure changes are actually improving the efficacy of the joint force in different scenarios.

Over the course of several successive defense reform efforts going back decades, some conducted under significant pressure from Congress, the department has already taken all of the easy cuts.

Further reforms in DoD are difficult for two primary reasons. First, many if not most efforts to increase efficiency require some up-front investment, which often does not pay back within the FYDP. Second, increased efficiency in the department often translates to jobs lost in a congressional district. In the present case, the department has already factored hoped-for savings from the defense-wide review into this budget request. Among others, this review requests cuts to the Defense Health Agency, the DoD Education Activity, and the Defense Commissary Agency. Previous administrations have tried the same or similar reductions and encountered significant opposition on the Hill. As a result, we can safely predict that Congress is unlikely to support all of the cuts that the department has asked for in this round. The result will be a hole in the FYDP profile that DoD will have to fill with resources taken from within the existing plan, in what is likely to be a period of no growth or contraction in defense spending.

This hole in the FYDP will only get bigger as promising developmental programs must begin their transition into production. This problem is particularly acute for the Army, which is attempting several new starts simultaneously under its “Big Six” modernization agenda. The current FYDP has little to no allowance to accommodate the cost of producing and fielding these systems, which in general is significantly higher than the cost of developing them. The services and the secretary will have to make cuts to the existing plan to accommodate this growth, and then convince Congress to support these tradeoffs.

Election Impact on Future Defense Spending

At time of writing, there are only two presidential candidates still in the running for 2020: Donald Trump and Joe Biden. In either case, expect defense spending to remain flat or decrease slightly. The Trump administration projects growth at or below inflation through the end of the FYDP. Candidate Biden has indicated that he may pursue modest reductions in defense spending, but that his focus would be on realigning existing defense resources away from legacy programs and toward next-generation weapons systems. A divided government (with opposing parties controlling the White House and one or both houses of Congress) would reinforce an inclination toward the status quo. A Democratic sweep would likely result in additional downward pressure on defense spending. A Republican sweep would not have the opposite effect, given the continued presence of deficit hawks within the party, albeit with diminished influence at the present moment. As a result, there is no electoral scenario under which defense spending would be likely to significantly increase.

Coronavirus Impact on Future Defense Spending

The COVID-19 pandemic will likely contribute to a significant downturn in top-line defense spending, but probably not in the next two years. At time of writing, it seems likely that the world is headed for a recession, though the depth and duration remain unknown. The U.S. government has already reacted with $2 trillion in stimulus spending, and the fiscal environment is likely to remain permissive until the economy begins to show signs of recovering. In this kind of loose fiscal environment, investments necessary to cope with the pandemic will likely be funded through spending growth rather than spending cuts elsewhere in the budget. As a historical example, DoD did not feel the impact of the 2008 financial crisis until 2013. However, depending on the depth and duration of a post coronavirus recession, there is likely to be contractionary pressure on defense spending further into the future. The federal deficit, already climbing prior to this latest injection of stimulus spending, seems likely to result in another round of fiscal restraint. If that does occur, one hopes that all involved will have learned a lesson from the extreme inefficiencies of the mechanisms of the 2011 Budget Control Act, and craft a less damaging way to control discretionary spending. It is also possible, pending electoral outcomes, that a national conversation on health care would open up a discussion about both mandatory spending and revenue that has the potential to avoid another scenario where the focus around spending decisions focuses exclusively on the discretionary side of the ledger.

A Note on Defense Budget Data, and a Recommendation

The way DoD organizes, handles, and presents budget information is a major obstacle to understanding what is in the budget, and thus to aligning resources with the strategy. The mere fact that DoD presents this data in a series of PDFs, with some limited information in Excel files, is frankly insane in the year 2020. Congress and DoD should work together to modernize the way they present and share budget data. Any number of commercially available, cloud-based data-management systems could improve the transparency and accessibility of the defense budget by an order of magnitude, only with simple tagging, search, and sort functions. Sharing budget data in this way would allow both Congress and the general public to understand the full FYDP costs of various programs, as well as different suites of capabilities or portfolios. These capabilities would also allow the department’s leadership to make more informed decisions about aligning available resources to strategic objectives, and staff in the Pentagon to perform more efficient and effective analysis through Program Objective Memorandum (POM) development and program review.

Presenting budget data according to appropriations title is also a major obstacle to transparency. This practice makes it difficult to understand the full cost of any given program or cost growth over time. It also makes it possible for program funding to disappear in the transition between the development phase and production, as occurred in the case of the Columbia-class ballistic missile submarine described above. In a previous report, we recommended that Congress reorganize appropriations titles according to what kind of life cycle a weapons system has, as opposed to the part of the life cycle that a weapons system is in. We intended this recommendation to increase flexibility by removing current “color of money” obstacles that prevent efficient transitions from successful development programs into production, while sustaining robust congressional oversight. However, implementing this recommendation would also significantly increase transparency by displaying a program’s full life cycle cost over the FYDP in one place.

Conclusion

This report began with the premise that to understand whether the fiscal year 2021 defense budget request supports the NDS, we needed to organize a selection of DoD’s investment decisions according to the role they play in bringing combat power to bear against China or Russia, by closing kill chains or by enabling the things that close those kill chains. This framework has revealed some positive developments:

  • The department has acknowledged the need for a truly joint approach to command and control and has made an initial investment in this area.
  • Though not perfect in terms of either capability or capacity, the U.S. military’s strike portfolio is large and varied, and becoming more so. When presented with targets, effectively commanded and controlled, and supported by combat credible posture and logistics, it is a formidable power indeed.

Unfortunately, this framework has also revealed a few shortcomings:

  • U.S. military posture must be decentralized in order to cope with Chinese and Russian A2/AD capabilities. Logistics must be shored up, as they will be stressed by a more dispersed posture as well as by enemy attack.
  • The joint force must train the way it fights—that is, jointly. Current joint exercises are likely insufficient to deliver the joint high-end preparedness the U.S. military should have heading into a conflict with China or Russia.
  • Investment in the future, in the form of basic research and advanced technologies such as artificial intelligence, is still lagging.

The U.S. military has a large and diverse portfolio of strike assets to draw upon. Its weaknesses lie in its ability to employ these strike assets with maximum efficiency, and to support them with combat credible posture and logistics. Thus, in making decisions about how to adjust the department’s budget request, Congress should resist the temptation to focus on shiny bits of military hardware, and instead have a close look at some of the less sexy but vitally important things that will enable the U.S. military to bring its full might to bear in a conflict with China or Russia.

Acknowledgments

We would like to thank the fine folks at Govini, who provided much of the data used in this report. Govini is a big-data and analytics firm committed to transforming the business of government through data science and analysis. Specifically, we would like to thank Billy Fabian and Jim Mitre for their assistance and support.

Many thanks also to Scott Comes, Tony Ierardi, Diem Salmon, and Loren DeJonge Schulman for their thoughtful review of the report in draft; the final product is much improved for their insights. We would also like to thank Maura McCarthy for her excellent editing, as well as her patience in shepherding this project through the process. Thanks also to Mary Gladstone, who provided a very thorough and thoughtful copy edit of this report. We would also like to thank Chris Estep for his exemplary work on the web-layout and design of this report. Many thanks also to Melody Cook for making the beautiful and informative charts in this report, as well as for its overall design.

We would also like to thank Chris Dougherty and Jacob Heim for their early thoughts on the organization of this report, and Chris especially for his advice and feedback throughout its drafting. And we would like to thank Sarah Mineiro and Kevin McGinnis for fielding questions in their respective areas of expertise. Last but not least, we would like to thank Jake Anderson for his assistance with the many citations in this report.

  1. U.S. Department of Defense, Summary of the 2018 National Defense Strategy of the United States of America: Sharpening the American Military’s Competitive Edge (2018), https://dod.defense.gov/Portals/1/Documents/pubs/2018-National-Defense-Strategy-Summary.pdf.
  2. Eric Edelman, Gary Roughead, et al., “Providing for the Common Defense: The Assessment and Recommendations of the National Defense Strategy Commission” (United States Institute of Peace, November 2018), viii, https://www.usip.org/sites/default/files/2018-11/providing-for-the-common-defense.pdf; Public Law 116-92, National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020, December 20, 2019, Section 1708; and Chris Dougherty, “Why America Needs a New Way of War” (Center for a New American Security, June 12, 2019), https://www.cnas.org/publications/reports/anawow.
  3. Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller)/Chief Financial Officer, Defense Budget Overview: United States Department of Defense Fiscal Year 2021 Budget Request (February 2020), https://comptroller.defense.gov/Portals/45/Documents/defbudget/fy2021/fy2021_Budget_Request_Overview_Book.pdf.
  4. This sentence contains a simplified kill chain construct. For the doctrinal definition, often shorthanded as F2T2EA, see: Joint Targeting School, Joint Targeting School Student Guide (March 1, 2017), 79, https://www.jcs.mil/Portals/36/Documents/Doctrine/training/jts/jts_studentguide.pdf?ver=2017-12-29-171316-067.
  5. U.S. Navy, Department of Defense Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 Budget Estimates, Justification Book, Aircraft Procurement, Navy, Budget Activities 01-04, Vol 1 (February 2020), 103; and U.S. Navy, Department of Defense Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 Budget Estimates, Justification Book, Aircraft Procurement, Navy, Budget Activities 01-04, Vol 1 (March 2019), 109.
  6. U.S. Air Force, Department of Defense Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 Budget Estimates, Justification Book, Research, Development, Test, & Evaluation, Air Force, Vol 1 (February 2020), 139; and U.S. Air Force, Department of Defense Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 Budget Estimates, Justification Book, Research, Development, Test, & Evaluation, Air Force, Vol 1 (March 2019), 125.
  7. Valerie Insinna, “Air Force makes reductions to B-1s, A-10s, Global Hawk drones and more in FY21 budget request,” DefenseNews.com, February 10, 2020, https://www.defensenews.com/smr/federal-budget/2020/02/10/air-force-makes-reductions-to-b-1s-a-10s-global-hawk-drones-and-more-in-fy21-budget-request/.
  8. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, Department of Defense Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 Budget Estimates, Justification Book, Research, Development, Test, & Evaluation, Defense-Wide, Vol 1 (February 2020), 173-174.
  9. Ibid.; and Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, Department of Defense Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 Budget Estimates, Justification Book, Research, Development, Test, & Evaluation, Defense-Wide, Vol 1 (March 2019), 174-175.
  10. Office of the Secretary of Defense, Department of Defense Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 Budget Estimates, Justification Book, Research, Development, Test, & Evaluation, Defense-Wide, Vol 3 (March 2019), 899; and Office of the Secretary of Defense, Department of Defense Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 Budget Estimates, Justification Book, Research, Development, Test, & Evaluation, Defense-Wide, Vol 3 (February 2020), 1027.
  11. Ibid.
  12. Susanna Blume and General David L. Goldfein, “Fireside Chat with General David L. Goldfein” (The Madison, Washington, January 27, 2020), https://www.cnas.org/events/fireside-chat-with-general-david-l-goldfein.
  13. U.S. Air Force, Department of the Air Force FY 2021 Budget Overview (February 2020), 2, https://www.saffm.hq.af.mil/Portals/84/documents/FY21/SUPPORT_/FY21%20Budget%20Overview_1.pdf?ver=2020-02-10-152806-743.
  14. U.S. Air Force, Department of Defense Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 Budget Estimates, Justification Book, Research, Development, Test, & Evaluation, Air Force, Vol 3a (March 2019), 1.
  15. U.S. Air Force, Department of Defense Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 Budget Estimates, Justification Book, Research, Development, Test, & Evaluation, Air Force, Vol 2 (February 2020), 93.
  16. U.S. Air Force, Department of Defense Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 Budget Estimates, Justification Book, Research, Development, Test, & Evaluation, Air Force, Vol 3a (February 2018), 559; U.S. Air Force, Department of Defense Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 Budget Estimates, Justification Book, Research, Development, Test, & Evaluation, Air Force, Vol 3a, 1; U.S. Air Force, Department of Defense Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 Budget Estimates, Research, Development, Test, & Evaluation, Air Force, Vol 2, 93; and Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller), National Defense Budget Estimates for FY 2021 (April 2020), Table 5-6.
  17. Aaron Mehta, “Hypersonics ‘highest technical priority’ for Pentagon R&D head,” DefenseNews.com, March 6, 2018, https://www.defensenews.com/pentagon/2018/03/06/hypersonics-highest-technical-priority-for-pentagon-rd-head/.
  18. Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller)/Chief Financial Officer, Defense Budget Overview: United States Department of Defense Fiscal Year 2021 Budget Request, 1-8; and Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller)/Chief Financial Officer, Defense Budget Overview: United States Department of Defense Fiscal Year 2020 Budget Request (March 2019), 1-9, https://comptroller.defense.gov/Portals/45/Documents/defbudget/fy2020/fy2020_Budget_Request_Overview_Book.pdf.
  19. U.S. Army, Department of Defense Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 Budget Estimates, Justification Book, Research, Development, Test, & Evaluation, Army, Vol 2 (March 2019), 579; U.S. Army, Department of Defense Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 Budget Estimates, Justification Book, Research, Development, Test, & Evaluation, Army, Vol 2 (February 2020), 613; U.S. Navy, Department of Defense Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 Budget Estimates, Justification Book, Research, Development, Test, & Evaluation, Navy, Vol 2 (March 2019), 1327-1329; U.S. Navy, Department of Defense Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 Budget Estimates, Justification Book, Research, Development, Test, & Evaluation, Navy, Vol 2 (February 2020), 1331-1334; U.S. Air Force, Department of Defense Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 Budget Estimates, Justification Book, Research, Development, Test, & Evaluation, Air Force, Vol 2 (March 2019), 115; and U.S. Air Force, Department of Defense Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 Budget Estimates, Justification Book, Research, Development, Test, & Evaluation, Air Force, Vol 2, 121.
  20. John A. Tirpak, “The Hypersonics Push,” Air Force Magazine, 103 no. 4 (April 1, 2020), https://www.airforcemag.com/article/the-hypersonics-push/.
  21. U.S. Air Force, Department of Defense Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 Budget Estimates, Justification Book, Missile Procurement, Air Force, Vol 1 (March 2019), 39; U.S. Air Force, Department of Defense Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 Budget Estimates, Justification Book, Missile Procurement, Air Force, Vol 1 (February 2020), 29; U.S. Navy, Department of Defense Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 Budget Estimates, Justification Book, Weapons Procurement, Navy, Vol 1 (March 2019), 209; and U.S. Navy, Department of Defense Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 Budget Estimates, Justification Book, Weapons Procurement, Navy, Vol 1 (February 2020), 207.
  22. U.S. Navy, Department of Defense Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 Budget Estimates, Justification Book, Weapons Procurement, Navy, Vol 1, 209; and U.S. Navy, Department of Defense Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 Budget Estimates, Justification Book, Weapons Procurement, Navy, Vol 1, 207.
  23. U.S. Air Force, Department of Defense Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 Budget Estimates, Justification Book, Missile Procurement, Air Force, Vol 1, 39.
  24. U.S. Air Force, Department of Defense Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 Budget Estimates, Justification Book, Missile Procurement, Air Force, Vol 1 (February 2020), 29.
  25. U.S. Navy, Department of Defense Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 Budget Estimates, Justification Book, Weapons Procurement, Navy, Vol 1, 207; and Missile Defense Project, “JASSM / JASSM ER (AGM-158A/B),” MissileThreat.CSIS.org, October 6, 2016, last modified June 15, 2018, https://missilethreat.csis.org/missile/jassm/.
  26. U.S. Air Force, Department of Defense Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 Budget Estimates, Justification Book, Missile Procurement, Air Force, Vol 1, 23; and U.S. Air Force, Department of Defense Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 Budget Estimates, Justification Book, Missile Procurement, Air Force, Vol 1, 17.
  27. U.S. Air Force, Department of Defense Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 Budget Estimates, Justification Book, Missile Procurement, Air Force, Vol 1, 39; U.S. Air Force, Department of Defense Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 Budget Estimates, Justification Book, Missile Procurement, Air Force, Vol 1, 29; U.S. Navy, Department of Defense Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 Budget Estimates, Justification Book, Weapons Procurement, Navy, Vol 1, 209; U.S. Navy, Department of Defense Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 Budget Estimates, Justification Book, Weapons Procurement, Navy, Vol 1, 207; U.S. Air Force, Department of Defense Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 Budget Estimates, Justification Book, Missile Procurement, Air Force, Vol 1, 23; and U.S. Air Force, Department of Defense Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 Budget Estimates, Justification Book, Missile Procurement, Air Force, Vol 1, 17.
  28. Maj. Gen. John M. Pletcher, “Air Force Official Briefs Reporters on Fiscal Year 2021 Budget Request” (The Pentagon, Washington, February 10, 2020), https://www.defense.gov/Watch/Video/videoid/738780/?dvpTag=Defense+on+Demand.
  29. U.S. Air Force, Department of Defense Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 Budget Estimates, Justification Book, Procurement of Ammunition, Air Force, Vol 1 (March 2019), 71; and U.S. Air Force, Department of Defense Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 Budget Estimates, Justification Book, Procurement of Ammunition, Air Force, Vol 1 (February 2020), 43.
  30. U.S. Air Force, Department of Defense Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 Budget Estimates, Justification Book, Missile Procurement, Air Force, Vol 1, 85; and U.S. Air Force, Department of Defense Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 Budget Estimates, Justification Book, Missile Procurement, Air Force, Vol 1, 73.
  31. U.S. Air Force, Department of Defense Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 Budget Estimates, Justification Book, Missile Procurement, Air Force, Vol 1, 29; and U.S. Air Force, Department of Defense Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 Budget Estimates, Justification Book, Missile Procurement, Air Force, Vol 1, 73.
  32. U.S. Air Force, Department of Defense Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 Budget Estimates, Justification Book, Procurement of Ammunition, Air Force, Vol 1, 71; U.S. Air Force, Department of Defense Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 Budget Estimates, Justification Book, Procurement of Ammunition, Air Force, Vol 1, 43; U.S. Air Force, Department of Defense Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 Budget Estimates, Justification Book, Missile Procurement, Air Force, Vol 1, 85; and U.S. Air Force, Department of Defense Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 Budget Estimates, Justification Book, Missile Procurement, Air Force, Vol 1, 73.
  33. U.S. Navy, Department of Defense Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 Budget Estimates, Justification Book, Weapons Procurement, Navy, Vol 1, 43; and U.S. Navy, Department of Defense Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 Budget Estimates, Justification Book, Weapons Procurement, Navy, Vol 1, 35.
  34. Paul McLeary, “Navy’s New Tomahawk Plan Targets Ships, Bunkers and Distance,” BreakingDefense.com, May 6, 2019, https://breakingdefense.com/2019/05/navys-new-tomahawk-plan-targets-ships-bunkers-and-distance/.
  35. U.S. Navy, Department of Defense Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 Budget Estimates, Justification Book, Weapons Procurement, Navy, Vol 1, 283; and U.S. Navy, Department of Defense Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 Budget Estimates, Justification Book, Weapons Procurement, Navy, Vol 1, 307.
  36. Ibid.
  37. U.S. Navy, Navy Fiscal Year 2021 Unfunded Priorities List Descriptions (February 2020), 1-2.
  38. U.S. Air Force, Department of Defense Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 Budget Estimates, Justification Book, Research, Development, Test, & Evaluation, Air Force, Vol 2, 101; and U.S. Air Force, Department of Defense Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 Budget Estimates, Justification Book, Research, Development, Test, & Evaluation, Air Force, Vol 2, 107.
  39. Ed Gulick, “AF moves forward with future bomber,” AF.mil, July 12, 2014, https://www.af.mil/News/Article-Display/Article/486167/af-moves-forward-with-future-bomber/.
  40. U.S. Air Force, Department of Defense Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 Budget Estimates, Justification Book, Research, Development, Test, & Evaluation, Air Force, Vol 2, 107.
  41. U.S. Air Force, Department of Defense Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 Budget Estimates, Justification Book, Research, Development, Test, & Evaluation, Air Force, Vol 2, 101; U.S. Air Force, Department of Defense Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 Budget Estimates, Justification Book, Research, Development, Test, & Evaluation, Air Force, Vol 2, 107; and Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller), National Defense Budget Estimates for FY 2021, Table 5-6.
  42. U.S. Air Force, Department of Defense Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 Budget Estimates, Justification Book, Research, Development, Test, & Evaluation, Air Force, Vol 3a, 194; and U.S. Air Force, Department of Defense Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 Budget Estimates, Justification Book, Research, Development, Test, & Evaluation, Air Force, Vol 3a (February 2020), 172.
  43. U.S. Air Force, Department of Defense Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 Budget Estimates, Justification Book, Research, Development, Test, & Evaluation, Air Force, Vol 3a, 172.
  44. “B-52H Stratofortress,” AF.mil, December 16, 2015, https://www.af.mil/About-Us/Fact-Sheets/Display/Article/104465/b-52-stratofortress/.
  45. U.S. Air Force, Department of Defense Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 Budget Estimates, Justification Book, Aircraft Procurement, Air Force, Vol 2 (February 2020), 15.
  46. John A. Tirpak, “Re-Engining the B-52” Air Force Magazine, 102 no. 1 (January 21, 2019), https://www.airforcemag.com/article/re-engining-the-b-52/.
  47. U.S. Air Force, Department of Defense Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 Budget Estimates, Justification Book, Research, Development, Test, & Evaluation, Air Force, Vol 2, 295; and U.S. Air Force, Department of Defense Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 Budget Estimates, Justification Book, Research, Development, Test, & Evaluation, Air Force, Vol 2 (February 2020), 295.
  48. U.S. Air Force, Department of Defense Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 Budget Estimates, Justification Book, Aircraft Procurement, Air Force, Vol 1 (March 2019), 1; and U.S. Air Force, Department of Defense Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 Budget Estimates, Justification Book, Aircraft Procurement, Air Force, Vol 1 (February 2020), 1.
  49. U.S. Navy, Department of Defense Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 Budget Estimates, Justification Book, Aircraft Procurement, Navy, Vol 1 (March 2019), 15; and U.S. Navy, Department of Defense Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 Budget Estimates, Justification Book, Aircraft Procurement, Navy, Vol 1 (February 2020), 15.
  50. U.S. Navy, Department of Defense Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 Budget Estimates, Justification Book, Aircraft Procurement, Navy, Vol 1, 29; and U.S. Navy, Department of Defense Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 Budget Estimates, Justification Book, Aircraft Procurement, Navy, Vol 1, 31.
  51. U.S. Navy, Navy Fiscal Year 2021 Unfunded Priorities List Descriptions, 1; and U.S. Air Force, US Air Force FY 2021 Unfunded Priority List Budget Level Details (February 2020).
  52. U.S. Air Force, Department of Defense Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 Budget Estimates, Justification Book, Aircraft Procurement, Air Force, Vol 1, 15; and U.S. Air Force, Department of Defense Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 Budget Estimates, Justification Book, Aircraft Procurement, Air Force, Vol 1, 17.
  53. U.S. Navy, Department of Defense Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 Budget Estimates, Justification Book, Aircraft Procurement, Navy, Vol 1, 1; and U.S. Navy, Department of Defense Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 Budget Estimates, Justification Book, Aircraft Procurement, Navy, Vol 1, 1.
  54. U.S. Navy, Highlights of the Department of the Navy FY 2021 Budget (February 2020), 9-6, https://www.secnav.navy.mil/fmc/fmb/Documents/21pres/Highlights_book.pdf.
  55. U.S. Air Force, Department of Defense Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 Budget Estimates, Justification Book, Aircraft Procurement, Air Force, Vol 1, 1; U.S. Air Force, Department of Defense Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 Budget Estimates, Justification Book, Aircraft Procurement, Air Force, Vol 1, 1; U.S. Navy, Department of Defense Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 Budget Estimates, Justification Book, Aircraft Procurement, Navy, Vol 1, 29; U.S. Navy, Department of Defense Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 Budget Estimates, Justification Book, Aircraft Procurement, Navy, Vol 1, 31; U.S. Navy, Department of Defense Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 Budget Estimates, Justification Book, Aircraft Procurement, Navy, Vol 1, 15; U.S. Navy, Department of Defense Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 Budget Estimates, Justification Book, Aircraft Procurement, Navy, Vol 1, 15; U.S. Air Force, Department of Defense Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 Budget Estimates, Justification Book, Aircraft Procurement, Air Force, Vol 1, 15; U.S. Air Force, Department of Defense Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 Budget Estimates, Justification Book, Aircraft Procurement, Air Force, Vol 1, 17; U.S. Navy, Department of Defense Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 Budget Estimates, Justification Book, Aircraft Procurement, Navy, Vol 1, 1; and U.S. Navy, Department of Defense Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 Budget Estimates, Justification Book, Aircraft Procurement, Navy, Vol 1, 1.
  56. U.S. Air Force, Department of Defense Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 Budget Estimates, Justification Book, Research, Development, Test, & Evaluation, Air Force, Vol 3a, 497; and U.S. Air Force, Department of Defense Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 Budget Estimates, Justification Book, Research, Development, Test, & Evaluation, Air Force, Vol 3a, 473.
  57. U.S. Navy, Department of Defense Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 Budget Estimates, Justification Book, Research, Development, Test, & Evaluation, Navy, Vol 5 (March 2019), 1079; and U.S. Navy, Department of Defense Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 Budget Estimates, Justification Book, Research, Development, Test, & Evaluation, Navy, Vol 5 (February 2020), 1055.
  58. U.S. Air Force, Department of Defense Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 Budget Estimates, Justification Book, Missile Procurement, Air Force, Vol 1, 49; and U.S. Air Force, Department of Defense Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 Budget Estimates, Justification Book, Missile Procurement, Air Force, Vol 1, 39.
  59. U.S. Navy, Department of Defense Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 Budget Estimates, Justification Book, Weapons Procurement, Navy, Vol 1, 73; and U.S. Navy, Department of Defense Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 Budget Estimates, Justification Book, Weapons Procurement, Navy, Vol 1, 65.
  60. U.S. Air Force, Department of Defense Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 Budget Estimates, Justification Book, Missile Procurement, Air Force, Vol 1, 39; and U.S. Air Force, Department of Defense Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 Budget Estimates, Justification Book, Research, Development, Testing, & Evaluation, Air Force, Vol 3a, 473.
  61. U.S. Air Force, Department of Defense Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 Budget Estimates, Justification Book, Research, Development, Test, & Evaluation, Air Force, Vol 3a, 497; U.S. Air Force, Department of Defense Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 Budget Estimates, Justification Book, Research, Development, Test, & Evaluation, Air Force, Vol 3a, 473; U.S. Navy, Department of Defense Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 Budget Estimates, Justification Book, Research, Development, Test, & Evaluation, Navy, Vol 5, 1079; U.S. Navy, Department of Defense Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 Budget Estimates, Justification Book, Research, Development, Test, & Evaluation, Navy, Vol 5, 1055; U.S. Air Force, Department of Defense Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 Budget Estimates, Justification Book, Missile Procurement, Air Force, Vol 1, 49; U.S. Air Force, Department of Defense Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 Budget Estimates, Justification Book, Missile Procurement, Air Force, Vol 1, 39; U.S. Navy, Department of Defense Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 Budget Estimates, Justification Book, Weapons Procurement, Navy, Vol 1, 73; and U.S. Navy, Department of Defense Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 Budget Estimates, Justification Book, Weapons Procurement, Navy, Vol 1, 65.
  62. U.S. Army, Department of Defense Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 Budget Estimates, Justification Book, Research, Development, Test, & Evaluation, Army, Vol 3 (March 2019), 389; U.S. Army, Department of Defense Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 Budget Estimates, Justification Book, Research, Development, Test, & Evaluation, Army, Vol 2, 244; U.S. Army, Department of Defense Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 Budget Estimates, Justification Book, Research, Development, Test, & Evaluation, Army, Vol 3 (February 2020), 414; and U.S. Army, Department of Defense Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 Budget Estimates, Justification Book, Research, Development, Test, & Evaluation, Army, Vol 2, 321.
  63. U.S. Army, Department of Defense Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 Budget Estimates, Justification Book, Missile Procurement, Army (February 2020), 23.
  64. U.S. Army, Department of Defense Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 Budget Estimates, Justification Book, Research, Development, Test, & Evaluation, Army, Vol 3, 389; U.S. Army, Department of Defense Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 Budget Estimates, Justification Book, Research, Development, Test, & Evaluation, Army, Vol 2, 244; U.S. Army, Department of Defense Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 Budget Estimates, Justification Book, Research, Development, Test, & Evaluation, Army, Vol 3, 414; and U.S. Army, Department of Defense Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 Budget Estimates, Justification Book, Research, Development, Test, & Evaluation, Army, Vol 2, 321.
  65. Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller)/Chief Financial Officer, Defense Budget Overview: United States Department of Defense Fiscal Year 2021 Budget Request, 1-5; and Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller)/Chief Financial Officer, Defense Budget Overview: United States Department of Defense Fiscal Year 2020 Budget Request, 1-5.
  66. U.S. Navy, Department of Defense Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 Budget Estimates, Justification Book, Research, Development, Test, & Evaluation, Navy, Vol 3 (March 2019), 1310; and U.S. Navy, Department of Defense Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 Budget Estimates, Justification Book, Research, Development, Test, & Evaluation, Navy, Vol 3 (February 2020), 1210.
  67. Ibid.
  68. U.S. Air Force, Department of Defense Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 Budget Estimates, Justification Book, Research, Development, Test, & Evaluation, Air Force, Vol 2, 813; U.S. Air Force, Department of Defense Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 Budget Estimates, Justification Book, Aircraft Procurement, Air Force, Vol 2, 217; U.S. Air Force, Department of Defense Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 Budget Estimates, Justification Book, Research, Development, Test, & Evaluation, Air Force, Vol 2, 777; and U.S. Air Force, Department of Defense Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 Budget Estimates, Justification Book, Aircraft Procurement, Air Force, Vol 2, 209.
  69. Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, “DoD Instruction 3000.12: Management of U.S. Global Defense Posture (GDP)” (May 8, 2017), 22-23, https://fas.org/irp/doddir/dod/i3000_12.pdf.
  70. Miranda Priebe et al., “Distributed Operations in a Contested Environment” (RAND Corporation, 2019), viii-iv, https://www.rand.org/content/dam/rand/pubs/research_reports/RR2900/RR2959/RAND_RR2959.pdf.
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  72. Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, A Design for Maintaining Maritime Superiority, Version 2.0 (December, 2018), https://www.navy.mil/navydata/people/cno/Richardson/Resource/Design_2.0.pdf.
  73. “Expeditionary Advanced Base Operations,” CandP.Marines.mil, https://www.candp.marines.mil/Concepts/Subordinate-Operating-Concepts/Expeditionary-Advanced-Base-Operations/.
  74. United States Army Training and Doctrine Command, The U.S. Army in Multi-Domain Operations 2028, TRADOC Pamphlet 525-3-1 (December 6, 2018), https://www.tradoc.army.mil/Portals/14/Documents/MDO/TP525-3-1_30Nov2018.pdf.
  75. Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller), European Deterrence Initiative: Department of Defense Budget Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 (February 2020), 2, https://comptroller.defense.gov/Portals/45/Documents/defbudget/fy2021/fy2021_EDI_JBook.pdf.
  76. Department of the Air Force, Military Construction Program: Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 Budget Estimates (February 2020), 9, https://www.saffm.hq.af.mil/Portals/84/documents/FY21/MILCON_/FY21%20Air%20Force%20MILCON_1.pdf?ver=2020-02-10-091213-253.
  77. U.S. Army, Department of Defense Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 Budget Estimates, Justification Book, Missile Procurement, Army (March 2019), 5; U.S. Army, Department of Defense Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 Budget Estimates, Justification Book, Missile Procurement, Army , 3; U.S. Army, Department of Defense Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 Budget Estimates, Justification Book, Research, Development, Test, & Evaluation, Army, Vol 2, 519; and U.S. Army, Department of Defense Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 Budget Estimates, Justification Book, Research, Development, Test, & Evaluation, Army, Vol 2, 547.
  78. Missile Defense Agency, Department of Defense Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 Budget Estimates, Defense-Wide Justification Book, Research, Development, Test, & Evaluation, Vol 2A (March 2019), 29; Missile Defense Agency, Department of Defense Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 Budget Estimates, Defense-Wide Justification Book, Research, Development, Test, & Evaluation, Vol 2A, 699; Missile Defense Agency, Department of Defense Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 Budget Estimates, Defense-Wide Justification Book, Procurement, Vol 2B (March 2019), 1; Missile Defense Agency, Department of Defense Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 Budget Estimates, Defense-Wide Justification Book, Research, Development, Test, & Evaluation, Vol 2A (February 2020), 27; Missile Defense Agency, Department of Defense Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 Budget Estimates, Defense-Wide Justification Book, Research, Development, Test, & Evaluation, Vol 2A, 227; and Missile Defense Agency, Department of Defense Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 Budget Estimates, Defense-Wide Justification Book, Procurement, Vol 2B (February 2020), 1.
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  84. U.S. Navy, Highlights of the Department of the Navy FY 2020 Budget (March 2019), 4-2, https://www.secnav.navy.mil/fmc/fmb/Documents/20pres/Budget%20Highlights%20Book.pdf; and U.S. Navy, Highlights of the Department of the Navy FY 2021 Budget, 4-3, https://www.secnav.navy.mil/fmc/fmb/Documents/21pres/Highlights_book.pdf.
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  97. U.S. Department of Defense, Summary of the 2018 National Defense Strategy of the United States of America: Sharpening the American Military’s Competitive Edge, 5.
  98. Eddie Maisonet, “The Miseducation of the 2004 U.S. Men’s Olympic Basketball Team,” BleacherReport.com, September 5, 2017, https://bleacherreport.com/articles/2731575-the-miseducation-of-the-2004-us-mens-olympic-basketball-team.
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  102. As a result of this lack of clarity in the fiscal year 2020 budget justification books, our own reporting last year on the relative costs of nuclear modernization programs over the fiscal year 2020–2024 FYDP was misleading, as it did not fully capture the costs of the Columbia program in the out years.
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  104. U.S. Air Force, Department of Defense Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 Budget Estimates, Justification Book, Missile Procurement, Air Force, Vol 1, 135; and U.S. Air Force, Department of Defense Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 Budget Estimates, Justification Book, Missile Procurement, Air Force, Vol 1, 123.
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  106. Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller)/Chief Financial Officer, Defense Budget Overview: United States Department of Defense Fiscal Year 2021 Budget Request, 4-8; Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller)/Chief Financial Officer, Defense Budget Overview: United States Department of Defense Fiscal Year 2020 Budget Request, 1-8; and Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller), National Defense Budget Estimates for FY 2021, Table 5-6.
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  112. U.S. Air Force, Department of Defense Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 Budget Estimates, Justification Book, Research, Development, Test, & Evaluation, Air Force, Vol 2, 991; and U.S. Air Force, Department of Defense Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 Budget Estimates, Justification Book, Research, Development, Test, & Evaluation, Space Force, Vol 1 (February 2020), 159.
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  114. Jen Judson, “Pentagon terminates program for redesigned kill vehicle, preps for new competition,” DefenseNews.com, August 21, 2019, https://www.defensenews.com/pentagon/2019/08/21/dod-tanks-redesigned-kill-vehicle-program-for-homeland-defense-interceptor/.
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  118. Missile Defense Agency, Department of Defense Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 Budget Estimates, Justification Book, Research, Development, Test, & Evaluation, Defense-Wide, Vol 2 (February 2020), 10, https://comptroller.defense.gov/Portals/45/Documents/defbudget/fy2021/budget_justification/pdfs/03_RDT_and_E/RDTE_Vol2_MDA_RDTE_PB21_Justification_Book.pdf.
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  120. Missile Defense Agency, Report on Unfunded Priorities for the Missile Defense Agency, 5.
  121. Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller)/CFO, Fiscal Year 2021 Budget Request: Irreversible Implementation of the National Defense Strategy (February 2020), 9, https://comptroller.defense.gov/Portals/45/Documents/defbudget/fy2021/fy2021_Budget_Request.pdf.
  122. U.S. Department of Defense, Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller), Department of Defense Budget Fiscal Year 2012, RDT&E Programs (R-1), (February 2011), IIIA; U.S. Department of Defense, Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller), Department of Defense Budget Fiscal Year 2013, RDT&E Programs (R-1), (February 2012), III; U.S. Department of Defense, Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller), Department of Defense Budget, Budget Amendment to the Fiscal Year 2014 President’s Budget Request for Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO), RDT&E Programs (R-1), (May 2013), III; U.S. Department of Defense, Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller), Department of Defense Budget, Budget Amendment to the Fiscal Year 2015 President’s Budget Request for Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO), RDT&E Programs (R-1), (June 2014), III; U.S. Department of Defense, Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller), Department of Defense Budget Fiscal Year 2016, RDT&E Programs (R-1), III; U.S. Department of Defense, Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller), Department of Defense Budget Fiscal Year 2017, RDT&E Programs (R-1), (February 2016), III; U.S. Department of Defense, Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller), Department of Defense Budget Fiscal Year 2018, RDT&E Programs (R-1), (May 2017), IIIA; U.S. Department of Defense, Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller), Department of Defense Budget Fiscal Year 2019, RDT&E Programs (R-1), (February 2018), IIIB; U.S. Department of Defense, Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller), Department of Defense Budget Fiscal Year 2020, RDT&E Programs (R-1), (March 2019), IIIA; U.S. Department of Defense, Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller), Department of Defense Budget Fiscal Year 2021, RDT&E Programs (R-1), (February 2020), IIA; and Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller), National Defense Budget Estimates for FY 2021, Table 5-6.
  123. In FY 2021, the Department of Defense created a new budget activity code for RDT&E dedicated to software digital technologies (6.8). The Navy and Army both made realignments into this budget code. None of the transfers into this budget code came from science and technology spending (budget activities 6.1-6.3) and therefore the transfers do not affect the S&T percentages in FY 2021 relative to the requests in prior years.
  124. U.S. Congress, House, House Armed Services Committee, Subcommittee on Intelligence and Emerging Threats and Capabilities, Reviewing Department of Defense Science and Technology Strategy, Policy, and Programs for Fiscal Year 2021: Maintaining a Robust Ecosystem for Our Technological Edge, 116th Congress, 2nd Session, March 11, 2020, https://armedservices.house.gov/2020/3/subcommittee-on-intelligence-and-emerging-threats-and-capabilities-hearing-reviewing-department-of-defense-science-and-technology-strategy-policy-and-programs-for-fiscal-year-2021-maintaining-a-robust-ecosystem-for-our-technological-edge.
  125. U.S. Department of Defense, Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller), Department of Defense Budget Fiscal Year 2012, RDT&E Programs (R-1), IIIA; U.S. Department of Defense, Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller), Department of Defense Budget Fiscal Year 2013, RDT&E Programs (R-1), III; U.S. Department of Defense, Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller), Department of Defense Budget, Budget Amendment to the Fiscal Year 2014 President’s Budget Request for Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO), RDT&E Programs (R-1), III; U.S. Department of Defense, Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller), Department of Defense Budget, Budget Amendment to the Fiscal Year 2015 President’s Budget Request for Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO), RDT&E Programs (R-1), III; U.S. Department of Defense, Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller), Department of Defense Budget Fiscal Year 2016, RDT&E Programs (R-1), III; U.S. Department of Defense, Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller), Department of Defense Budget Fiscal Year 2017, RDT&E Programs (R-1), III; U.S. Department of Defense, Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller), Department of Defense Budget Fiscal Year 2018, RDT&E Programs (R-1), IIIA; U.S. Department of Defense, Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller), Department of Defense Budget Fiscal Year 2019, RDT&E Programs (R-1), IIIB; U.S. Department of Defense, Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller), Department of Defense Budget Fiscal Year 2020, RDT&E Programs (R-1), IIIA; and U.S. Department of Defense, Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller), Department of Defense Budget Fiscal Year 2021, RDT&E Programs (R-1), IIA.
  126. U.S. Department of Defense, Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller), Department of Defense Budget Fiscal Year 2021, RDT&E Programs (R-1), IIA.
  127. U.S. Air Force, “Science and Technology Strategy: Strengthening USAF Science and Technology for 2030 and Beyond” (April 2019), iii-v, https://www.af.mil/Portals/1/documents/2019%20SAF%20story%20attachments/Air%20Force%20Science%20and%20Technology%20Strategy.pdf.
  128. U.S. Department of Defense, Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller), Department of Defense Budget Fiscal Year 2020, RDT&E Programs (R-1), F-1A; U.S. Department of Defense, Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller), Department of Defense Budget Fiscal Year 2021, RDT&E Programs (R-1), F-1A; and Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller), National Defense Budget Estimates for FY 2020 (May 2019), Table 5-6, 60-61, https://comptroller.defense.gov/Portals/45/Documents/defbudget/fy2020/FY20_Green_Book.pdf.
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U.S. Department of Defense, Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller), Department of Defense Budget Fiscal Year 2021, RDT&E Programs (R-1), (February 2020), F-1A; U.S. Department of Defense, Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller), Department of Defense Budget Fiscal Year 2021, RDT&E Programs (R-1), N-1A; U.S. Department of Defense, Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller), Department of Defense Budget Fiscal Year 2021, RDT&E Programs (R-1), A-1A; U.S. Department of Defense, Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller), Department of Defense Budget Fiscal Year 2020, RDT&E Programs (R-1), (March 2019), A-1A; U.S. Department of Defense, Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller), Department of Defense Budget Fiscal Year 2020, RDT&E Programs (R-1), N-1A; U.S. Department of Defense, Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller), Department of Defense Budget Fiscal Year 2020, RDT&E Programs (R-1), F-1A; U.S. Department of Defense, Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller), Department of Defense Budget Fiscal Year 2019, RDT&E Programs (R-1), (February 2018), A-1B; U.S. Department of Defense, Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller), Department of Defense Budget Fiscal Year 2019, RDT&E Programs (R-1), F-1B; U.S. Department of Defense, Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller), Department of Defense Budget Fiscal Year 2019, RDT&E Programs (R-1), N-1B; U.S. Department of Defense, Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller), Department of Defense Budget Fiscal Year 2018, RDT&E Programs (R-1), (May 2017), A-1A; U.S. Department of Defense, Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller), Department of Defense Budget Fiscal Year 2018, RDT&E Programs (R-1), F-1A; U.S. Department of Defense, Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller), Department of Defense Budget Fiscal Year 2018, RDT&E Programs (R-1), N-1A; U.S. Department of Defense, Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller), Department of Defense Budget Fiscal Year 2017, RDT&E Programs (R-1), (February 2016), A-1; U.S. Department of Defense, Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller), Department of Defense Budget Fiscal Year 2017, RDT&E Programs (R-1), F-1; U.S. Department of Defense, Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller), Department of Defense Budget Fiscal Year 2017, RDT&E Programs (R-1), N-1; U.S. Department of Defense, Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller), Department of Defense Budget Fiscal Year 2016, RDT&E Programs (R-1), (February 2015), A-1; U.S. Department of Defense, Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller), Department of Defense Budget Fiscal Year 2016, RDT&E Programs (R-1), F-1; U.S. Department of Defense, Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller), Department of Defense Budget Fiscal Year 2016, RDT&E Programs (R-1), N-1; U.S. Department of Defense, Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller), Department of Defense Budget, Budget Amendment to the Fiscal Year 2015 President’s Budget Request for Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO), RDT&E Programs (R-1), A-1; U.S. Department of Defense, Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller), Department of Defense Budget, Budget Amendment to the Fiscal Year 2015 President’s Budget Request for Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO), RDT&E Programs (R-1), F-1; U.S. Department of Defense, Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller), Department of Defense Budget, Budget Amendment to the Fiscal Year 2015 President’s Budget Request for Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO), RDT&E Programs (R-1), N-1; U.S. Department of Defense, Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller), Department of Defense Budget, Budget Amendment to the Fiscal Year 2014 President’s Budget Request for Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO), RDT&E Programs (R-1), A-1; U.S. Department of Defense, Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller), Department of Defense Budget, Budget Amendment to the Fiscal Year 2014 President’s Budget Request for Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO), RDT&E Programs (R-1), F-1; U.S. Department of Defense, Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller), Department of Defense Budget, Budget Amendment to the Fiscal Year 2014 President’s Budget Request for Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO), RDT&E Programs (R-1), N-1; U.S. Department of Defense, Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller), Department of Defense Budget Fiscal Year 2013, RDT&E Programs (R-1), (February 2012), A-1; U.S. Department of Defense, Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller), Department of Defense Budget Fiscal Year 2013, RDT&E Programs (R-1), F-1; U.S. Department of Defense, Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller), Department of Defense Budget Fiscal Year 2013, RDT&E Programs (R-1), N-1; U.S. Department of Defense, Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller), Department of Defense Budget Fiscal Year 2012, RDT&E Programs (R-1), (February 2011), A-1A; U.S. Department of Defense, Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller), Department of Defense Budget Fiscal Year 2012, RDT&E Programs (R-1), F-1A; and U.S. Department of Defense, Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller), Department of Defense Budget Fiscal Year 2012, RDT&E Programs (R-1), N-1A.
  130. Office of Naval Research, Naval S&T Strategy: Innovations for the Future Force (January 2015), https://defenseinnovationmarketplace.dtic.mil/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/NavalSTStrategy2015_Final_01-26-15.pdf.
  131. U.S. Department of Defense, Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller), Department of Defense Budget Fiscal Year 2020, RDT&E Programs (R-1), N-1A.
  132. U.S. Department of Defense, Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller), Department of Defense Budget Fiscal Year 2021, RDT&E Programs (R-1), N-1A.
  133. U.S. Army, “Army Modernization Strategy: Investing in the Future” (2019), https://www.army.mil/e2/downloads/rv7/2019_army_modernization_strategy_final.pdf.
  134. U.S. Department of Defense, Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller), Department of Defense Budget Fiscal Year 2020, RDT&E Programs (R-1), A-1A; and U.S. Department of Defense, Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller), Department of Defense Budget Fiscal Year 2021, RDT&E Programs (R-1), A-1A.
  135. U.S. Department of Defense, Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller), Department of Defense Budget, Budget Amendment to the Fiscal Year 2015 President’s Budget Request for Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO), RDT&E Programs (R-1), A-1.
  136. U.S. Department of Defense, Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller), Department of Defense Budget Fiscal Year 2012, RDT&E Programs (R-1), IIIA; U.S. Department of Defense, Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller), Department of Defense Budget Fiscal Year 2013, RDT&E Programs (R-1), III; U.S. Department of Defense, Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller), Department of Defense Budget, Budget Amendment to the Fiscal Year 2014 President’s Budget Request for Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO), RDT&E Programs (R-1), III; U.S. Department of Defense, Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller), Department of Defense Budget, Budget Amendment to the Fiscal Year 2015 President’s Budget Request for Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO), RDT&E Programs (R-1), III; U.S. Department of Defense, Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller), Department of Defense Budget Fiscal Year 2016, RDT&E Programs (R-1), III; U.S. Department of Defense, Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller), Department of Defense Budget Fiscal Year 2017, RDT&E Programs (R-1), III; U.S. Department of Defense, Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller), Department of Defense Budget Fiscal Year 2018, RDT&E Programs (R-1), IIIA; U.S. Department of Defense, Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller), Department of Defense Budget Fiscal Year 2019, RDT&E Programs (R-1), IIIB; U.S. Department of Defense, Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller), Department of Defense Budget Fiscal Year 2020, RDT&E Programs (R-1), IIIA; and U.S. Department of Defense, Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller), Department of Defense Budget Fiscal Year 2021, RDT&E Programs (R-1), IIA.
  137. U.S. Department of Defense, Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller), Department of Defense Budget Fiscal Year 2020, RDT&E Programs (R-1), IIIA; and U.S. Department of Defense, Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller), Department of Defense Budget Fiscal Year 2021, RDT&E Programs (R-1), IIA.
  138. U.S. Department of Defense, Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller), Department of Defense Budget Fiscal Year 2012, RDT&E Programs (R-1), IIIA; U.S. Department of Defense, Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller), Department of Defense Budget Fiscal Year 2013, RDT&E Programs (R-1), III; U.S. Department of Defense, Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller), Department of Defense Budget, Budget Amendment to the Fiscal Year 2014 President’s Budget Request for Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO), RDT&E Programs (R-1), III; U.S. Department of Defense, Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller), Department of Defense Budget, Budget Amendment to the Fiscal Year 2015 President’s Budget Request for Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO), RDT&E Programs (R-1), III; U.S. Department of Defense, Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller), Department of Defense Budget Fiscal Year 2016, RDT&E Programs (R-1), III; U.S. Department of Defense, Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller), Department of Defense Budget Fiscal Year 2017, RDT&E Programs (R-1), III; U.S. Department of Defense, Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller), Department of Defense Budget Fiscal Year 2018, RDT&E Programs (R-1), IIIA; U.S. Department of Defense, Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller), Department of Defense Budget Fiscal Year 2019, RDT&E Programs (R-1), IIIB; U.S. Department of Defense, Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller), Department of Defense Budget Fiscal Year 2020, RDT&E Programs (R-1), IIIA; and U.S. Department of Defense, Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller), Department of Defense Budget Fiscal Year 2021, RDT&E Programs (R-1), IIA.
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  141. U.S. Defense Information Systems Agency, Department of Defense Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 Budget Estimates, Justification Book, Research, Development, Test, & Evaluation, Defense-Wide, Vol 5 (March 2019), 23; and U.S. Defense Information Systems Agency, Department of Defense Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 Budget Estimates, Justification Book, Research, Development, Test, & Evaluation, Defense-Wide, Vol 5 (February 2020), 155.
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Authors

  • Susanna V. Blume

    Senior Fellow and Director, Defense Program

    Susanna Blume is a Senior Fellow and Director of the Defense Program at the Center for a New American Security. Her research areas include the Defense program and budget, defe...

  • Molly Parrish

    Research Assistant, Defense Program

    Molly Parrish is a Research Assistant for the Defense Program at the Center for a New American Security (CNAS). Ms. Parrish’s research focuses primarily on Department of D...

  • Video
    • June 24, 2020
    The Bottom Line

    Although lawmakers and the public frequently debate the size of the U.S. defense budget, a fundamental question usually receives less attention: What does U.S. military spendi...

    By Susanna V. Blume

  • Reports
    • May 29, 2019
    Strategy to Ask

    Deputy Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan promised a “masterpiece” for 2020. The critical question this report asks is: Has he made good on that promise?...

    By Susanna V. Blume

  • Video
    • July 15, 2020
    Updates on defense appropriations for 2021

    Susanna Blume, Senior Fellow and Director of the Defense Program at CNAS, provides updates on the House Appropriation Committee’s Defense spending bill for fiscal 2021 and its...

    By Susanna V. Blume

  • Video
    • July 8, 2020
    Thomas Harker performing duties of DoD Comptroller

    Bob Hale, Adjunct Senior Fellow at the Center for a New American Security, discusses how Thomas Harker will continue as Navy Comptroller while performing duties of the Under S...

    By Robert F. Hale

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