Rebalanced Priorities

The Pentagon’s Fiscal 2013 budget request reflects the Obama Administration’s new defense strategic guidance that emphasizes rebalancing US military forces towards the Pacific and Middle East, said Defense Department Comptroller Robert Hale. Examples are the decisions to maintain the Air Force’s current bomber fleet and fund its future long-range penetrating bomber, he said in unveiling DOD’s $614 billion spending proposal on Monday. Some $300 million is set aside in Fiscal 2013 for developing the new bomber, according to budget documents. Hale said the Pentagon would also spend $100 million next fiscal year to increase cruise missile capacity on Virginia-class submarines as part of this rebalancing. Further, it will maintain “a long-term level” of 11 aircraft carriers and 10 carrier air wings; keep the big-deck amphibious fleet intact; and acquire a new afloat forward staging base. DOD also will invest $1.8 billion in Fiscal 2013 in upgrades to various tactical sensors and other electronic warfare and communications equipment. It will also increase spending by $700 million through Fiscal 2017 in “promising technologies” in areas like cyber and EW to blunt “other nations’ development of anti-access/area-denial capabilities,” states a budget document. (See also Pentagon budget briefing slides; caution, large-sized file.)