DOD Releases Fiscal Year 2021 Budget Proposal

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The President and Congress have placed an emphasis on funding the military. Our budgets over the past three years have allowed us to reverse the decline in readiness, while beginning to modernize our air, land, sea, space, and cyber capabilities. However, there is no guarantee that this level of funding will continue into the future. To meet the objectives outlined in the National Defense Strategy, we must continue to make the most of every resource. - Secretary of Defense Dr. Mark T. Esper

On February 10, 2020, President Donald J. Trump sent Congress a proposed Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 budget request of $740.5 billion for national security, $705.4 billion of which is for the Department of Defense (DoD). The FY 2021 budget supports the irreversible implementation of the National Defense Strategy (NDS), which drives the Department's decision-making in reprioritizing resources and shifting investments to prepare for a potential future, high-end fight. This budget resources four focus areas to build a more lethal, agile, and innovative joint force as it:

  1. Continues to improve military readiness and invest in the modernization of a more lethal force;
  2. Strengthens alliances, deepens interoperability, and attracts new partners;
  3. Reforms the Department for greater performance and accountability; and
  4. upports service members and their families, recognizing that our people are our most valuable resource.

This budget focuses on NDS priorities of nuclear deterrence recapitalization and homeland missile defense, while refining our focus on the cyber and space warfighting domains and joint enablers for all operations in all domains: Air, land, sea, space and cyber. It advances the development of critical technologies including hypersonics, microelectronics/5G, and artificial intelligence.   

The FY 2021 President's budget request of $705.4B, when compared to the FY 2020 enacted amount of $704.6B (excluding natural disaster emergency funding), shows very small growth of approximately 0.1 percent. Given this flattened funding level, the Department made numerous hard choices to ensure that resources are directed toward the Department's highest priorities. To enable that decision-making, Secretary of Defense Esper initiated a comprehensive Defense-Wide Review that generated almost $5.7 billion in FY 2021 savings, $0.2 billion in Working Capital Fund efficiencies, and another $2.1 billion in activities and functions realigned to the Services. This initiative allowed the Department to more effectively resource higher National Defense Strategy (NDS) priorities.

The Department's FY 2021 budget builds a ready, agile, all domain joint force enabled by: 

Nuclear Modernization ($28.9 billion). Investments include:

  • Nuclear Command, Control and Communications - $7 billion
  • B-21 Long Range Strike Bomber - $2.8 billion
  • COLUMBIA Class Ballistic Missile Submarine - $4.4 billion
  • Long-Range Stand-off (LRSO) Missile - $474 million
  • Ground Based Strategic Deterrent (GBSD) - $1.5 billion

Missile Defeat and Defense ($20.3 billion). Investments include:

  • Sea-Based Interceptors (SM-3 IIA and IB) - $619 million
  • AEGIS Ballistic Missile Defense System - $1.1 billion
  • Homeland Defense and Next Generation Interceptors - $664 million
  • Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) Ballistic Missile Defense - $916 million
  • Patriot Advanced Capability Missile Segment Enhancement - $780 million

In the Space Domain ($18.0 billion), investments include:

  • U.S. Space Force - $15.4 billion which includes:

- 3 National Security Space Launch (aka EELV) - $1.6 billion
- 2 Global Positioning System III and Projects - $1.8 billion
- Space Based Overhead Persistent Infrared Systems - $2.5 billion

  • U.S. Space Command - $249 million
  • Space Development Agency - $337 million

In the Cyberspace ($9.8 billion) Domain, investments include:

  • Cybersecurity - $5.4 billion
  • Cyberspace – Operations - $3.8 billion
  • Cyberspace Science and Technology - $556 million
  • In addition to the $9.8 billion, the budget funds:​

- Artificial Intelligence - $841 million
- Cloud - $789 million

In the Air Domain ($56.9 billion), investments include:

  • 79 F-35 Joint Strike Fighters - $11.4 billion
  • 15 KC-46 Tanker Replacements - $3.0 billion
  • 24 F/A-18 E/F Super Hornets - $2.1 billion
  • 52 AH-64E Attack Helicopters - $1.2 billion
  • 5 VH-92 Presidential Helicopters - $739 million
  • P-8A Aircraft  - $269 million
  • 7 CH-53K King Stallion - $1.5 billion
  • 12 F-15EX - $1.6 billion 

In the Maritime Domain ($32.3 billion), investments include:

  • 1 COLUMBIA Class Ballistic Missile Submarine - $4.4 billion
  • CVN-78 FORD Class Aircraft Carrier - $3.0 billion
  • 1 Virginia Class Submarine - $4.7 billion
  • 2 DDG-51 Arleigh Burke Destroyers - $3.5 billion
  • 1 Frigate (FFG(X))  - $1.1 billion
  • 1 Landing Platform Dock Ship (LPD) - $1.2 billion
  • Fleet Replenishment Oiler (T-AO) - $95 million
  • 2 Unmanned Surface Vessels (USV) (Large) - $464 million
  • 2 Towing, Salvage, and Rescue Ships (T-ATS) - $168 million

In the Land Domain ($13.0 billion), investments include:

  • 4,247 Joint Light Tactical Vehicles - $1.4 billion
  • 89 M-1 Abrams Tank Modifications/Upgrades - $1.5 billion
  • 72 Amphibious Combat Vehicles - $521 million
  • 32 Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicles - $290 million

Munitions ($21.3 billion) investments include:

  • 20,338 Joint Direct Attack Munitions (JDAM) - $533 million
  • 7, 360 Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System (GMLRS) - $1.2 billion
  • 125 Standard Missile-6 - $816 million
  • 1,490 Small Diameter Bomb II (SDB II) - $432 million
  • 8,150 Hellfire Missiles - $517 million
  • 400 Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile - $577 million
  • 53 Long Range Anti-Ship Missile - $224 million

The FY 2021 budget contains the Department's largest RDT&E budget in its history ($106.6 billion) and is focused on the development of crucial emerging technologies. DoD is making critical investments in several of these technologies, which we refer to as Advanced Capabilities Enablers (ACEs); they are focused on the high end fight. ACEs investments include:

  • Hypersonics - $3.2 billion
  • Microelectronics/5G - $1.5 billion
  • Autonomy - $1.7 billion
  • Artificial Intelligence (AI):  $841 million

The FY 2021 budget maximizes readiness through robust funding. Investments include: 

  • Army readiness - $30.9 billion
  • Navy and Marine Corps readiness - $47.5 billion
  • Air Force readiness - $37.1 billion
  • Special Operations Command readiness - $9.5 billion
  • Increases military end strength from FY 2020 projected levels by 5,600 in FY 2021

The FY 2021 budget supports Service members and their families, recognizing that people are DoD's most valuable resource. The budget:

  • Includes a 3.0 percent military pay raise
  • Funds statutory increases in military Basic Allowance for Housing and Basic Allowance for Subsistence
  • Continues family support programs with investment of over $8 billion for:

- Professional development and education opportunities for Service members and military spouses
- Quality, affordable child care for over 160,000 children
- Youth programs serving over 1 million family members
- DoD Dependent Schools educating over 77,000 students

  • Funds repeal of the Survivor Benefit Plan/Dependency and Indemnity Compensation offset

DoD continues to restore, sustain, replace, and build critical facilities. By investing over $21 billion in Military Construction and Facilities, Sustainment, Restoration, and Modernization, the budget:

  • Funds, on average, over 80 percent of DoD facilities sustainment requirements across the enterprise
  • Increases funding for Military Housing oversight by 82 percent ($55 million) over the FY 2020 budget request
  • Requests $446 million in FY 2021 for disaster recovery efforts

- In conjunction with prior reprogrammings, supplemental funding, and emergency funds, the budget fully funds all known disaster recovery requirements through FY 2025

The FY 2021 budget requests $69 billion for Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO). The FY 2021 OCO request contains three categories:

  • Direct War Requirements:  Combat or combat support costs that are not expected to continue once combat operations end - $20.5 billion
  • OCO for Enduring Requirements:  Enduring in-theater and CONUS costs that will remain after combat operations end  - $32.5 billion
  • OCO for Base Requirements:  Base budget requirements financed in the OCO budget to comply with the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2019 - $16.0 billion




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