By Bob Brewin
April 10, 2013
This story has been updated.
The Defense Department said its budget request of $526.6 billion for 2014 supports investments in technology needed to meet future threats and to maintain a competitive edge. It includes $4.7 billion for cyberspace operations and $10.1 billion for space capabilities.
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said in a statement that the 2014 budget includes “important investments in the president's new strategic guidance -- including rebalancing to the Asia-Pacific region and increasing funding for critical capabilities such as cyber, special operations and global mobility.”
The Pentagon also requested $8.4 billion for the troubled F-35 Joint Strike program, which will not deploy combat ready aircraft until 2019.
Defense said its 2014 budget will continue to focus on beefing up forces in the Asia-Pacific region, a continuation of a strategic focus announced in January 2012.
The Pentagon said this will include funds for hardening airfields and protecting critical strike capabilities, such as bombers and F-22 squadrons. In response to threats from North Korea and Iran, the department is enhancing defense of the homeland against ballistic missiles by taking steps to increase the number of ground-based interceptors and upgrade the missile field at Fort Greely, Alaska.
The Office of Management and Budget said the Pentagon’s request would allocate $95 million for military infrastructure in Guam to bolster the island’s position as a strategic hub in the western Pacific. It would also push toward establishing fully capable Marine Air-Ground Task Forces in Japan, Guam and Hawaii, with the intent to rotate forces to Australia.
The Pentagon proposed a $167.8 billion modernization budget, which includes new aircraft, ships, ground vehicles and communications systems.
Defense requested $7 billion for command and control systems and $8 billion for space systems, investments that represent 4.2 percent and 4.8 percent of the modernization budget respectively.
The command and control budget request includes $1.3 billion for the Army’s long haul Warfighter Information Network-Tactical (WIN-T), which will fund enough equipment for four brigades and support satellite communications on the move. It also includes $717 million for the Joint Tactical Radio System (JTRS), including the purchase of commercial radios.
Because of delays in contract awards, Congress cut a total of $536.8 million from the two projects in the final version of the 2013 budget signed by President Obama last month.
The space systems budget includes $52.3 million for the Wideband Global Satellite System, a fleet of communications satellites that have a total throughput of 2.1 gigabits per second each. Funds in the 2014 budget will support launch and operation of two satellites in the 10-satellite system, which currently has four on orbit.
The Pentagon requested $1.3 billion for procurement of two advanced GPS III satellites, which have a new, more powerful military signal than older satellites, and a new civil signal which provides greater accuracy than older satellites offer. The GPS funding request also covers improvements to the GPS ground control complex at Peterson Air Force Base, Colo.
Defense asked for $935.7 million in funds for Space-Based Infrared System satellites to detect missile launches globally. The request provides incremental funding for procurement of two geostationary satellites for the four-satellite program.
The Navy-managed Mobile User Objective System designed to provide voice and low data rate communications to small ground terminals and ships would receive $59 million to support testing of an on-orbit satellite, preparations for the launch of another satellite in July 2015, and production of two more satellites in 2015 and 2016.
The budget request also includes $652.5 million for two Advanced Extremely High Frequency satellites which have a maximum throughput of eight megabits to replace satellites currently on orbit when they reach the end of their useful life.
By Bob Brewin
April 10, 2013