President Barack Obama today sent to Congress a proposed defense budget of $671 billion for fiscal 2012. The request for the Department of Defense (DoD) includes $553 billion in discretionary budget authority to fund base defense programs and $118 billion to support overseas contingency operations (OCO), primarily in Afghanistan and Iraq.
The fiscal 2012 budget continues the DoD reform agenda, seeking additional efficiencies across the entire defense enterprise, while also strengthening our national security capability.
"This budget represents a reasonable, responsible and sustainable level of funding, the minimum level of defense spending that is necessary, given the security challenges we are facing around the globe," said Defense Secretary Robert Gates.
The $553 billion for the base budget provides funding to take care of our people, which is our highest priority, and also provides substantial funding to build capability for possible future conflicts. The OCO portion totals $117.8 billion, $41.5 billion below the fiscal 2011 request of $159.3 billion. The proposal reflects the planned withdrawal of troops from Iraq by the end of the first quarter of fiscal 2012 and a modest decline in funding for Afghanistan operations.
While this budget request seeks continued efficiencies in 2012 and beyond, the absence of an appropriation for fiscal 2011 threatens to cause serious inefficiencies and problems this year. The current continuing resolution, if it remains in effect for the rest of the year, will lead to delays and inefficient, start-and-stop management. It will rob the DoD of the flexibility needed to manage effectively, especially in time of war, and it will not provide the Department with enough resources to maintain training and support while also paying bills for military pay, benefits, and inflation. In short the continuing resolution represents a crisis at our doorstep, and the DoD strongly urges the Congress to pass a defense appropriation bill as part of the overall legislation to fund government activities in fiscal 2011.
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