Black Budget Boom

Within the Obama Administration’s $664 billion budget request for the Defense Department in Fiscal 2010, funding for classified programs has crept upward, despite high-profile weapons cancellations pushed by Defense Secretary Robert Gates, concludes the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments in its annual analysis of the defense budget released Wednesday. DOD’s classified programs account for about $35.8 billion of the Pentagon’s acquisition funding request, a figure that is the second highest in real dollars since Fiscal 1987, according to CSBA. Todd Harrison, CSBA fellow for defense budget studies, told reporters during a briefing in Washington, D.C., that the classified funding has more than doubled in real terms since Fiscal 1995 when it reached its post-Cold War low point. The Air Force’s classified share in Fiscal 2010 amounts to about $29 billion—more than 80 percent of DOD’s total request. In fact, the Air Force’s $17 billion classified procurement request accounts for 42 percent of the service’s total $39.9 billion procurement list and its $12 billion classified earmarks for research and develop activities constitute 43 percent of its total $28 billion R&D proposal, according to CSBA’s data. (CSBA’s classified breakdown and full budget analysis; caution, analysis is large file.)