Planes, Space and Submarines: Here’s What’s In the Pentagon’s 2020 Budget Request

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By R. Mitchell –

“Today the Department of Defense rolls out our FY 2020 budget proposal.,” Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick M. Shanahan said in a statement. “With the largest research and development request in 70 years, this strategy-driven budget makes necessary investments in next-generation technology, space, missiles, and cyber capabilities. The operations and capabilities supported by this budget will strongly position the US military for great power competition for decades to come.”

The FY 2020 Budget maintains momentum from the sustained funding increases enacted in FY 2017, FY 2018, and FY 2019 to repair damaged readiness, and the Budget marks a key next step in how the Defense Department operationalizes the 2018 National Defense Strategy. The FY 2020 Budget is a major milestone in meeting this challenge and resourcing the more lethal, agile, and innovative Joint Force America needs to compete, deter, and win in any high-end potential fight of the future by:

    1. investing in the emerging space and cyber warfighting domains
    2. modernizing capabilities in the air, maritime, and land warfighting domains
    3. innovating more rapidly to strengthen our competitive advantage
    4. sustaining our forces and building on our readiness gains.

The $718.3 billion budget’s largest conventional military line items include funding for 78 F-35s, 4 nuclear submarines, 3 destroyers, and a nuclear-powered carrier. The wish list, which represents the largest shipbuilding request in 20 years, also includes numerous support ships, aircraft and ground vehicles.

Space, where a portion of a future war may be waged got a huge lift. The Space Force got its first line item and the funding is requested for numerous GPS and surveillance satellites and their launches.

The budget also includes a 3.1% pay raise for members of the military, funding to modernize the military health system, and funds to provide childcare and education to service members’ children.

This DoD fashioned the proposed budget to project power through competitiveness, innovation, and readiness. It recognizes that future wars will be waged not just in the air, on the land, and at sea, but also in space and cyberspace, increasing the complexity of warfare, according to the Pentagon. Congressional approval of the FY 2020 Budget will help America meet current operational commitments and outpace the threats posed by China and Russia through maintaining our competitive advantage, even as DoD spending remains near a record low as a share of the U.S. economy.

Specifically, the Department’s FY 2020 budget builds the Joint Force’s capacity and lethality by investing in:

Cyber ($9.6 billion)

    • Supports offensive and defensive cyberspace operations – $3.7 billion
    • Reduces risk to DoD networks, systems, and information by investing in more cybersecurity capabilities – $5.4 billion
    • Modernizes DoD’s general purpose cloud environment – $61.9 million

Space ($14.1 billion)

    • Resources the initial establishment of the United States Space Force – $72.4 million
    • 4 National Security Space Launch (aka EELV) – $1.7 billion
    • 1 Global Positioning System III and Projects – $1.8 billion
    • Space Based Overhead Persistent Infrared Systems – $1.6 billion

Air Domain ($57.7B)

    • 78 F-35 Joint Strike Fighters – $11.2 billion
    • 12 KC-46 Tanker Replacements – $2.3 billion
    • 24 F/A-18 E/F Super Hornets – $2.0 billion
    • 48 AH-64E Attack Helicopters – $1.0 billion
    • 6 VH-92 Presidential Helicopters – $0.8 billion
    • 6 P-8A Aircraft – $1.5 billion
    • 6 CH-53K King Stallion – $1.5 billion
    • 8 F-15EX – $1.1 billion

Maritime Domain: $34.7 billion and the largest budget request in more than 20 years for shipbuilding

    • COLUMBIA Class Ballistic Missile Submarine – $2.2 billion
    • 1 CVN-78 FORD Class Aircraft Carrier – $2.6 billion
    • 3 Virginia Class Submarines – $10.2 billion
    • 3 DDG-51 Arleigh Burke Destroyers – $5.8 billion
    • 1 Frigate (FFG(X)) – $1.3 billion
    • 2 Fleet Replenishment Oilers (T-AO) – $1.1 billion
    • 2 Towing, Salvage, and Rescue Ship (T-ATS) – $0.2 billion
    • 2 large unmanned surface vehicles – $447 million

Ground Systems ($14.6 billion)

    • 4,090 Joint Light Tactical Vehicles – $1.6 billion
    • 165 M-1 Abrams Tank Modifications – $2.2 billion
    • 56 Amphibious Combat Vehicles – $0.4 billion
    • 131 Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicles – $0.6 billion

Multi-domain and nuclear triad ($31 billion)

    • B-21 Long Range Strike Bomber – $3.0 billion
    • Columbia Class Submarine – $2.2 billion
    • Long-Range Stand-Off Missile – $0.7 billion
    • Ground-Based Strategic Deterrent – $0.6 billon

The FY 2020 Budget funds preferred munitions at the maximum production rate.

    • 40,388 Joint Direct Attack Munitions – $1.1 billion
    • 10,193 Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System – $1.4 billion
    • 125 Standard Missile-6 – $0.7 billion
    • 1,925 Small Diameter Bomb II – $0.4 billion
    • 9,000 Hellfire Missiles – $0.7 billion
    • 430 Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile – $0.6 billion
    • 48 Long Range Anti-Ship Missile – $0.2 billion

Highlighting the enduring importance of missile defeat and defense, the FY 2020 Budget funds the sustainment of the surge in missile defense investment we undertook in FY 2018 and FY 2019, while also investing in Missile Defense Review efforts at $13.6 billion. The missile defeat and defense investments for FY 2020 include:

    • 37 AEGIS Ballistic Missile Defense (SM-3) with Install – $1.7 billion
    • Support for Missile Defense Review (e.g., Land-Launched Conventional Prompt Strike, Extended Range Weapon, Space-based Discrimination Sensor Study) – $1.5 billion
    • Ground Based Midcourse Defense – $1.7 billion
    • 37 THAAD Ballistic Missile Defense – $0.8 billion
    • 147 Patriot Advanced Capability (PAC-3) Missile Segment Enhancements – $0.7 billion

The FY 2020 Budget continues the Department’s emphasis on innovation and technology, which will enhance our competitive advantage. The Budget highlights emerging technology projects including:

    • Unmanned / Autonomous projects to enhance freedom of maneuver and lethality in contested environments – $3.7 billion
    • Artificial Intelligence / Machine Learning investments to expand military advantage through the Joint Artificial Intelligence Center (JAIC) and Advanced Image Recognition – $927 million
    • Hypersonics weapons development to complicate adversaries’ detection and defense – $2.6 billion
    • Directed Energy investment to support implementation of directed energy for base defense; enable testing and procurement of multiple types of lasers; and increase research and development for high-power density applications – $235 million

The FY 2020 Budget increases the readiness, lethality, and agility of the Joint force by increasing our military end strength.

    • Funds readiness to executable levels across services – $124.8 billion
    • Total military end strength will increase from FY 2019 projected levels by approximately 7,700 in FY 2020
    • Active end strength will increase by approximately 6,200 from FY 2019 projected levels to FY 2020, with the largest increase in the Air Force
    • Reserve Component end strength will increase by approximately 1,500 from FY 2019 projected levels to FY 2020, with the largest increase in the Army Guard and Reserve

The FY 2020 Budget provides the largest military pay raise in 10 years and robust support to our most valued asset—our military members—and their families. The Budget:

    • Provides a competitive compensation package
    • Includes a 3.1 percent military pay raise
    • Continues to modernize and transform our Military Health System
    • Spousal/community support
    • Continues family support programs with investment of nearly $8 billion for:
      • Child care for over 180,000 children
      • Youth programs serving over 1 million dependents
      • DoD Dependent Schools educating over 76,000 students
      • Commissary operations at 236 stores

Facilities investment is a continuing area of emphasis. This funding:

    • Supports the National Defense Strategy by investing in key operational and training facilities
    • Enables timely maintenance of critical infrastructure
    • Improves Quality-of-Life for Service Members and their families
    • Provides funding for Marine Corps and Air Force hurricane-related facility repairs at Camp Lejeune and Tyndall Air Force Base

The FY 2020 Budget contains critical funding for Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) and an emergency budget request, totaling $173.8 billion, which is subject to the same congressional oversight requirements as the base budget. These pieces of the request are vital to our budget as a whole and our ability to support the National Defense Strategy. The FY 2020 OCO/Emergency request contains four categories:

    • Direct War Requirements: Combat or combat support costs that are not expected to continue once combat operations end – $25.4 billion
    • OCO for Enduring Requirements: Enduring in-theater and CONUS costs that will remain after combat operations end – $41.3 billion
    • OCO for Base Requirements: Funding for base budget requirements in support of the National Defense Strategy, financed in the OCO budget due to the limits on base budget defense resources under the budget caps in current law – $97.9 billion
    • Emergency Requirements: Funding for military construction for emergencies, to include border security and reconstruction efforts to rebuild facilities damaged by Hurricanes Florence and Michael – $9.2 billion

Long-term strategic competitions with China and Russia are the principal priorities for the Department, and require both increased and sustained investment, because of the magnitude of the threats they pose to U.S. security and prosperity today, and the potential for those threats to increase in the future.

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