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‘Known Unknowns’ Dominate Work on Defense Budget

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  • January 21, 2013
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Defense officials are being forced to resort to “educated guesses” as they attempt to complete work on the fiscal 2014 defense budget due to the number of unsettled questions about current and future spending.

At a time when the Pentagon normally would be nearing the end of the budget process for the upcoming year, officials still are trying to gain a grasp of the current year’s budget. For starters, sequestration is slated to be imposed March 1, forcing the defense budget to absorb about $45 billion in FY 2013 spending cuts. The department also is operating under a continuing resolution that runs out March 27, adding another measure of doubt to the final level of spending in the current year.

Another uncertainty is the pace at which troops will be withdrawn from Afghanistan next year, which affects the overseas contingency operation request. DOD still has not yet received a final topline spending number for FY 2014 from the White House, reported CQ.

As a result of the set of upcoming events that have a say in FY 2013 spending, the Office of Management and Budget has delayed the release of the budget request to a date still to be determined.

“The lack of congressional action leads to uncertainty that is preventing good management and causing enormous concerns in our civilian workforce, not to mention making it very difficult to complete a FY14 president’s budget request,” Deputy Defense Secretary Ashton Carter told the publication.

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