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Budgeting for Defense: Maintaining Today's Forces

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The budget request for national defense that the 107th Congress will consider in 2001 will be the first submitted by a new Administration in eight years. That Administration could put forth new strategies or programs that would change the funding needed to maintain national security. As the Congress considers that budget, three questions should be prominent Is the new Administrations national security strategy an appropriate response to likely threats to U.S. security Will the military forces and modernization programs that the Department of Defense DoD plans adequately support that strategy Will the budget that the Administration proposes be sufficient to maintain those forces and carry out those plans All three of those questions are appropriate for evaluating the nations military forces and the funding that is necessary to maintain them. But this Congressional Budget Office CBO study focuses only on the last question and attempts to provide a context or reference point for answering it. A full examination of either the current threats to U.S. security or the adequacy of the strategy that has been developed to counter those threats is beyond the scope of this analysis. Accordingly, the discussion treats threats and strategy only briefly to provide some background for CBOs analysis of todays military forces and their funding. Further, this study does not address the cost of the broad array of alternative strategies that might be pursued in the future. Instead, as a starting point for such an analysis, it discusses the cost of a sustaining budget for todays national defense structure-that is, the annual funding CBO estimates is needed to maintain todays forces into the future and to modernize them. The study also describes several options for closing the gap between current appropriations for defense and CBOs estimate of sustaining funding.

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  • Administration and Management
  • Military Forces and Organizations

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