The Political Report 2/12/20

 In Weekly Wire

Main Story: FY2021 Budget Pivots to the National Defense Strategy (NDS)

On February 11, the Department of Defense released the long-awaited FY2021 President’s Budget Request. As expected, this document contained a variety of proposals to shift funding significantly toward the solutions and systems necessary to maintain America’s edge over potential great power competitors. However, due to limited topline growth and rising military personnel costs, the services, particularly the Air Force and the Navy, have had to make several investment decisions to offset these increases that will certainly face opposition in Congress. By cutting current capabilities for additional funding in development programs, the DoD is effectively gambling on being able to transition these programs quickly and effectively from development into acquisition, something that has proven troublesome in the past. The ability of the department to effectively execute the NDS will largely depend on its ability to navigate these two potential obstacles successfully.

In terms of winners and losers, the service level breakdown is below. Defense-wide accounts were a big bill-payer, reflecting the zero-based budget review being performed on the Pentagon’s so-called “Fourth Estate,” the civilian organizations in DoD separate from the services. The US Air Force is the only service to grow, with the others contracting slightly under topline budget pressure.

For more details on the budget, check out Avascent’s new, web-based Defense Budget Explorer tool here:

House Activity

The House will pass public lands legislation as well as a resolution removing the limit on the ratification timetable for the Equal Rights Amendment.

Senate Activity

Having completed the impeachment trial of President Trump, the Senate will continue to work through judicial nominations this week.

Congressional Defense Activity

  •  HFAC
    • 2/12 “The Middle East Peace Process: An Analysis from Former US Negotiators,” Subcommittee on the Middle East, North Africa, and International Terrorism, 2172 Rayburn, 930am
    • 2/13 “The Youth Bulge in Africa: Considerations for US Policy,” Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights and International Organizations, 2200 Rayburn, 10am
    • 2/13 “Assessing US Security Assistance to Mexico,” Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere, Civilian Security, and Trade, 2172 Rayburn, 9am
  • SFRC
    • 2/12 “US-Libya Policy,” Full Committee Hearing, SD-419 Dirksen, 1015am
  • SASC
    • 2/13 “United States Northern Command and United States Strategic Command,” Full Committee Hearing, SD-G50 Dirksen, 930am
  •  HASC
    • 2/11 “The Department of Defense’s Role in Long-Term Major State Competition,” Full Committee Hearing, 2118 Rayburn, 10am
    • 2/11 “Reviewing Department of Defense Strategy, Policy, and Programs for Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction for Fiscal Year 2021,” Subcommittee on Intelligence and Emerging Threats and Capabilities Hearing, 2118 Rayburn, 2pm
    • 2/11 “Alarming Incidents of White Supremacy in the Military – How to Stop It?” Subcommittee on Military Personnel Hearing, 2212 Rayburn, 230pm
    • 2/12 “Land Based Ranges: Building Military Readiness While Protecting Natural and Cultural Resources,” Subcommittee on Readiness Hearing, 2212 Rayburn, 230pm
  •  SAC-D
    • No hearings scheduled
  •  HAC-D
    • No hearings scheduled
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