Focus on the Long Term:

DOD has increased its investment in future combat capabilities in its Fiscal 2009 budget request by $10.5 billion compared to this fiscal year’s amount, according to Vice Adm. Steve Stanley, the Joint Staff’s director of force structure, resources, and assessment. Aircraft investment makes up about half of the increase, with a focus on platforms like the V-22 and F-35, he said. The $2.7 billion sought to purchase 30 MV-22s for the Marines Corps and six Air Force CV-22s represents a “significant increase” in tilt-rotor procurement, he said. Further, DOD wants to invest $6.7 billion in Fiscal 2009 for 16 F-35s (eight USAF F-35As and eight USMC F-35Bs). Space capabilities account for about $2 billion of the $10.5 billion increase, Stanley said. At the same, time, some programs under this rubric were scaled back in scope like the Navy’s Littoral Combat Ship—cut from six to two ships in Fiscal 2009—and Air Force’s Transformational Satellite Communications system. As for TSAT, Stanley said it was prudent for DOD to “slide that one a little bit” and not request all of the resources originally planned for it in Fiscal 2009. Instead some of those dollars were applied to pay and readiness needs. “So it’s not like those monies were ill spent,” he said. TSAT still gets $843 million for development of the space segment and network and operation systems (see above).