Pentagon mobility study unlikely to impact budget

Capitol Hill staffers have received a preview of the Pentagon's long-awaited Mobility Capabilities Study, a comprehensive review intended to define the mix of aircraft and ships the military needs to transport troops to hotspots around the world.

During a two-hour briefing Friday, Pentagon officials fielded questions from roughly 40 staffers, but provided scant details -- even during a short classified session -- on the precise number and types of platforms it needs for future missions.

More detailed explanations will be outlined in the complete classified report, expected on Capitol Hill by the end of next month.

Lawmakers hoped to receive the study earlier this year, long before the congressional defense committees marked up their annual authorization and spending bills.

But with the late release, it is unclear what, if any, influence the mobility study will have on the fiscal 2006 budget. Congress will, however, use it to evaluate President Bush's fiscal 2007 Pentagon budget request, due in February, a congressional source familiar with the study said Monday.

Pentagon briefers, led by an Army colonel, told congressional staffers that the Pentagon's current plans for cargo aircraft and ships will be adequate to combat future threats and provide assistance for major humanitarian operations around the world.

"They're in pretty good shape given what they're willing to risk," the source said.

However, the Pentagon based its review on current budget projections through 2011, which officials now are reworking to reflect growing pressure among all federal agencies to slash funding.

The Defense Department might outline its own list of recommended budget cuts as early as late November, defense sources have said. The cuts will strike across the services, with budget reductions expected for some of the military's priciest and most ambitious programs.

The lengthy mobility report will detail several what-if scenarios, as well as the risks the military will incur if the anticipated size and makeup of its air and sea fleet changes over time, congressional sources said.

"There's an awful lot of wiggle room in this study right now," another congressional source said.

The study also will help Congress and the Pentagon determine how to proceed with plans to modernize the Air Force's aging fleet of KC-135 aerial refueling tankers.

A three-year investigation led by Senate Armed Services Airland Subcommittee Chairman John McCain, R-Ariz., thwarted Air Force efforts to lease a fleet of 100 tankers from Boeing. That investigation has led to the resignation of Air Force leaders and the incarceration of two senior Boeing executives.

The Pentagon officials stressed that they conducted the mobility review in conjunction with an ongoing "analysis of alternatives" studying Air Force tanker options, sources said. That review, which also has been delayed several months, is due to Congress in November.

Democrats and Republicans alike have been growing increasingly frustrated in recent months over the delay in the report's release.

During a Senate Armed Services Committee confirmation hearing in July, Armed Services ranking member Carl Levin, D-Mich., and Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., both pressed top military leaders on the intended completion date for the study.

"It is critical to get that done," Inhofe said, noting that the Pentagon told Congress in April the study would be completed shortly. "Well, shortly's come and gone."

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
Close [ x ] More from GovExec

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Forecasting Cloud's Future

    Conversations with Federal, State, and Local Technology Leaders on Cloud-Driven Digital Transformation

  • The Big Data Campaign Trail

    With everyone so focused on security following recent breaches at federal, state and local government and education institutions, there has been little emphasis on the need for better operations. This report breaks down some of the biggest operational challenges in IT management and provides insight into how agencies and leaders can successfully solve some of the biggest lingering government IT issues.

  • Communicating Innovation in Federal Government

    Federal Government spending on ‘obsolete technology’ continues to increase. Supporting the twin pillars of improved digital service delivery for citizens on the one hand, and the increasingly optimized and flexible working practices for federal employees on the other, are neither easy nor inexpensive tasks. This whitepaper explores how federal agencies can leverage the value of existing agency technology assets while offering IT leaders the ability to implement the kind of employee productivity, citizen service improvements and security demanded by federal oversight.

  • IT Transformation Trends: Flash Storage as a Strategic IT Asset

    MIT Technology Review: Flash Storage As a Strategic IT Asset For the first time in decades, IT leaders now consider all-flash storage as a strategic IT asset. IT has become a new operating model that enables self-service with high performance, density and resiliency. It also offers the self-service agility of the public cloud combined with the security, performance, and cost-effectiveness of a private cloud. Download this MIT Technology Review paper to learn more about how all-flash storage is transforming the data center.

  • Ongoing Efforts in Veterans Health Care Modernization

    This report discusses the current state of veterans health care


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.