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CBO Testimony: Aging Military Equipment

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Congressional testimony

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The Congressional Budget Offices CBOs analysis suggests that stocks of many kinds of military equipment are already at a higher average age than they have been in the past. Even if the Department of Defense DoD increases purchases as its current plans project, that trend will continue. Those added purchases are scheduled to occur in the years beyond 2000, when the Administration projects large real increases in aggregate defense spending, including higher funding for procurement. The Administrations budget plan, however, depends on savings in other areas of the federal budget that may be difficult to realize. Most of the added funding is premised on the assumption that Social Security reform will free up significant budgetary resources. But the Administration and Congress have yet to agree to changes in the Social Security system, much less to reforms that would generate large savings. The remainder of the spending increase for defense comes from revisions to the Balanced Budget Act that have not yet been negotiated. DoD took a procurement holiday in the 1990s and is finding it difficult to recover. In the aftermath of the Cold War, DoD cut its procurement funding more deeply than it cut its forces. Average purchases over the past decade sank well below the quantities needed to sustain the forces in some cases, procurement dropped to zero. To equip all its forces, with deliveries modest, at best, the military services had to extend planned service lives further than in the past. Because of imbalances between the budget and the program, DoDs fleets will grow considerably older. Neither the Administration nor Congress appears to support further reductions in the forces DoD can field. But to halt fleet aging, DoD must either add funding to its procurement accounts to increase purchases, or cut its forces further. This testimony will focus on the ages of DoDs current and future fleets and on past, planned, and steady-state purchases and procurement funding.

Subject Categories:

  • Administration and Management
  • Logistics, Military Facilities and Supplies
  • Mechanics

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