Defense Spending Headed Back Up

Defense Spending Headed Back Up

Pentagon spending will rise more than 3 percent this year to $573 billion, including both the base budget and the overseas contingency operations (OCO) account, under the fiscal 2016 omnibus spending bill unveiled Wednesday.

The modest increase follows a drop in DOD spending in four of the last five years, reported CQ Roll Call. The year’s spending increase arrives courtesy of the $33 billion in relief provided by the recent two-year budget accord. As a result, FY 2017 defense spending is slated to rise slightly as well.

Further increases in the out years — and possibly in FY 2017 — may be on the way, as lawmakers respond to growing demands on the U.S. military due to the rise of the Islamic State and other global crises.

Taking the 60,000-foot view, the defense spending cumulatively has declined 23 percent over the past five years — measured in constant dollars — but the department’s annual spending power remains 84 percent higher than it was in FY 2001.

The FY 2016 omnibus’ defense spending title includes $514.1 billion for the base budget and $58.6 billion for the OCO account. The measure allocates $213.6 billion for operations and maintenance, including $608 million to reduce readiness shortfalls, a critical concern within the Pentagon, reported Defense News.

The bill provides a 1.3 percent across-the-board pay raise for service members, as President Obama had sought. It also provides $300 million above the request for housing allowances. The bill continues the existing prohibition on using any funds to close the Guantánamo Bay detention facility.

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