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:

  • Sponsored by G Suite

    Cross-Agency Teamwork, Anytime and Anywhere

    Dan McCrae, director of IT service delivery division, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

  • Data-Centric Security vs. Database-Level Security

    Database-level encryption had its origins in the 1990s and early 2000s in response to very basic risks which largely revolved around the theft of servers, backup tapes and other physical-layer assets. As noted in Verizon’s 2014, Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR)1, threats today are far more advanced and dangerous.

  • Federal IT Applications: Assessing Government's Core Drivers

    In order to better understand the current state of external and internal-facing agency workplace applications, Government Business Council (GBC) and Riverbed undertook an in-depth research study of federal employees. Overall, survey findings indicate that federal IT applications still face a gamut of challenges with regard to quality, reliability, and performance management.

  • PIV- I And Multifactor Authentication: The Best Defense for Federal Government Contractors

    This white paper explores NIST SP 800-171 and why compliance is critical to federal government contractors, especially those that work with the Department of Defense, as well as how leveraging PIV-I credentialing with multifactor authentication can be used as a defense against cyberattacks

  • Toward A More Innovative Government

    This research study aims to understand how state and local leaders regard their agency’s innovation efforts and what they are doing to overcome the challenges they face in successfully implementing these efforts.

  • From Volume to Value: UK’s NHS Digital Provides U.S. Healthcare Agencies A Roadmap For Value-Based Payment Models

    The U.S. healthcare industry is rapidly moving away from traditional fee-for-service models and towards value-based purchasing that reimburses physicians for quality of care in place of frequency of care.

  • GBC Flash Poll: Is Your Agency Safe?

    Federal leaders weigh in on the state of information security


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