Like the Air Force and Marine Corps, the Army and Navy this week gave Congress relatively modest wish lists for funding programs left out of the Pentagon's annual budget request.
The Army's list of so-called unfunded requirements totals just $952 million, compared with the nearly $4 billion submitted last year. In a March 19 letter to House Armed Services Committee ranking member John McHugh, R-N.Y., Army Chief of Staff George Casey said the items on the latest list should be considered a lower priority than the equipment funded in the fiscal 2010 budget request.
The Navy is including only $395 million on its unfunded list this year -- a fraction of last year's nearly $4.6 billion -- to help make up for funding shortfalls in aviation and ship depot maintenance.
It has become an annual ritual for friendly lawmakers to ask the services for their unfunded requirements shortly after the Defense Department submits its annual budget request.
Defense Secretary Robert Gates, who wants to instill more discipline in the budget process, reviewed the lists this year before the services sent them to Capitol Hill.