The Obama administration sent their pass back to DOD this past weekend and are waiting on the Department’s response. Initial reports put the DOD top line appropriation request at $527 Billion , an increase of $14 billion (+3%) over FY2009.
While this number is similar to the preliminary unscrubbed amount set by the outgoing Bush administration, some have labeled this a budget cut. The Joint Chiefs worked their internal “wish list” budget to over $580 billion for FY2010, and thus the lower administration number looks like a cut. The discussion lines have been set with some, including Robert Kagan noting the risks of a limited budget. Other commentators have observed that economic strains and Secretary Gates’ predilections may mean that the lower number is more realistic .
Additionally, it is unknown if the publicized DOD pass back includes military construction, which could lead to a larger appropriation not part of the current package. The increase in base budget (excluding MilCon) from FY09-FY10 could then well exceed $34 billion; still short of the Pentagon’s internal budget numbers, but large nonetheless.