Budget Agreement Eases Pentagon’s Sequester Pain

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., said that the budget deal only "softens" the impact from sequestration

Ross D. Franklin/AP

AA Font size + Print

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., said that the budget deal only "softens" the impact from sequestration

The Pentagon's budget remains undecided, as Congress punts the sequester just two years down the road. By Sara Sorcher and Stacy Kaper

The two-year budget agreement is a positive development for defense watchers—mitigating about half the sequester cuts expected to gouge the defense budget in fiscal year 2014.

The agreement, announced Tuesday night by Senate Budget Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray, D-Wash., and House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., would provide $63 billion in sequester relief over two years, split evenly between defense and nondefense programs. By some simple math, that leaves some $31.5 billion in sequester relief for defense over the two-year period.

The Pentagon was facing a roughly $52 billion cut from its $527 billion request in fiscal year 2014. Now, the budget agreement says defense discretionary spending would be set at $520.5 billion that year. That figure presumably includes the Department of Energy’s nuclear-weapons programs, meaning the department will likely be working with closer to a half-trillion-dollars in funding in fiscal 2014—and, to do so, it has front-loaded most of the newfound sequester relief.

(Read more about the ongoing budget debate in Washington here)

This is a positive outcome for the military and in particular, for the defense industry,” Lexington Institute Chief Operating Officer Loren Thompson told National Journal, “because it means the president’s request for the Pentagon would only be cut by about 5 percent, where the caps would have put it $52 billion lower. What the sequester relief does is, in effect, reduce the cut to the Pentagon’s base budget in half.”

While the agreement doesn’t stave off sequestration’s impact on defense completely, Senate Armed Services Committee member Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., said “it softens it.” He confirmed that the sequester relief is “much more” in the first year of the two-year deal.

The implication of this uneven distribution in sequester relief means that fiscal year 2015 will see less extra money to play around with from this deal.

Thompson, however, cautions, “We shouldn’t assume any of these agreements mean much beyond the year in which they are passed—the 2014 number is the one that really matters. Who knows what will happen beyond the election?”

Close [ x ] More from DefenseOne
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from DefenseOne.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Federal IT Applications: Assessing Government's Core Drivers

    In order to better understand the current state of external and internal-facing agency workplace applications, Government Business Council (GBC) and Riverbed undertook an in-depth research study of federal employees. Overall, survey findings indicate that federal IT applications still face a gamut of challenges with regard to quality, reliability, and performance management.

    Download
  • PIV- I And Multifactor Authentication: The Best Defense for Federal Government Contractors

    This white paper explores NIST SP 800-171 and why compliance is critical to federal government contractors, especially those that work with the Department of Defense, as well as how leveraging PIV-I credentialing with multifactor authentication can be used as a defense against cyberattacks

    Download
  • GBC Issue Brief: Supply Chain Insecurity

    Federal organizations rely on state-of-the-art IT tools and systems to deliver services efficiently and effectively, and it takes a vast ecosystem of organizations, individuals, information, and resources to successfully deliver these products. This issue brief discusses the current threats to the vulnerable supply chain - and how agencies can prevent these threats to produce a more secure IT supply chain process.

    Download
  • Data-Centric Security vs. Database-Level Security

    Database-level encryption had its origins in the 1990s and early 2000s in response to very basic risks which largely revolved around the theft of servers, backup tapes and other physical-layer assets. As noted in Verizon’s 2014, Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR)1, threats today are far more advanced and dangerous.

    Download
  • Information Operations: Retaking the High Ground

    Today's threats are fluent in rapidly evolving areas of the Internet, especially social media. Learn how military organizations can secure an advantage in this developing arena.

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.