Monday, February 8, 2016

Army Budget Boosts European Presence, Sacrifices Modernization

The Army's fiscal year 2017 budget request would boost the service's European presence but also sacrifices modernization efforts, particularly in the aviation account.
The Army’s fiscal 2017 base budget would be $123.1 billion with an additional overseas contingency operations (OCO) account of $25 billion, according to a defense official.
This means the Army’s base budget would be down $1.2 billion from the $124.3 billion passed by Congress in fiscal 2016, but OCO is growing by $2 billion to account for funds shifting from the base budget to the OCO account. The move is in line with the two-year bipartisan budget deal reached in Congress in 2015 that took $8 billion out of the Defense Department’s base budget and moved it into the OCO account.
The fiscal 2017 budget request seeks to preserve the Army’s planned end-strength and readiness but significantly cuts Army aviation modernization, the defense official told Defense News prior to the roll-out of President Barack Obama's budget request planned for Tuesday.
The service will also see a big ramp-up in OCO funding for Europe as part of an effort to deter Russia’s military aggression in Eastern Europe and to bolster allies defense capabilities.
Yet, the budget will reveal how much of the OCO dollars for Europe is considered an increase and how is just a reallocation of funding for operations in Europe that already existed, Todd Harrison, a defense budget expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said. More