February 17, 2016

US military budget loading up on nuclear missile submarines and F35 fighters

The Pentagon's next five-year budget proposal seeks over $13 billion in funding for a new submarine to carry nuclear ballistic missiles, plus orders for more Boeing Co (BA.N) and Lockheed Martin Corp (LMT.N) fighter jets.

The Pentagon's plan will also underscore the need to fund all three legs of the U.S. strategic deterrent "triad" - a new Air Force bomber, a replacement for the Ohio-class submarines that carry nuclear weapons, and new nuclear-armed intercontinental ballistic missiles

The Navy's proposed fiscal 2017 budget will fund procurement of materials for the new submarines that take a long time to acquire, with funding for construction of the first full new submarine to follow in fiscal 2021.

Over the next five years, the Navy would spend over $4 billion on research and development of the new submarines, plus over $9 billion in procurement funding.



The Navy will request funding for two Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornets and 14 unfunded Boeing Super Hornets as part of the fiscal 2017 war budget, and 14 in the fiscal 2018 budget.

The five-year budget plan calls for Lockheed to sell a total of 161 F-35 fighter jets to the Navy and Marine Corps - 64 C-model jets that take off and land on aircraft carriers and 97 B-model jets, which can take off from shorter runways and land like a helicopter.

The Navy plans to rename the new drone program the Carrier-Based Air Refueling System, or CBARS, instead of the Unmanned Carrier-Launched Airborne Surveillance and Strike (UCLASS) program and narrow the mission of the drones.



The fiscal 2017 summary, President Obama proposes spending increases for “countering Russian aggression,” including the quadrupling, to more than $3 billion, of funds for deploying a persistent Army brigade in central and eastern Europe, with training and prepositioning of combat gear. The shift is late, and the funding only a down payment. But the recognition that Russia has evolved from hoped-for partner to serious threat is welcome.

The Department of Defense (DoD) provides military forces and capabilities to project power in order to protect the security of the United States and its interests around the world and win decisively against any adversary, should deterrence fail. The President’s Fiscal Year 2017 (FY 2017) Budget provides $524 billion in discretionary base budget and $59 billion in Overseas Contingency Operations funding, for a total of $583 billion to sustain the President’s national security and defense strategies.

Counterterrorism

The Budget provides for DoD efforts to support local, capable, motivated partner forces and battle terrorism around the globe – in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan and elsewhere – in order to deliver ISIL and other terrorist groups a lasting defeat.

The Budget includes:

  • $7.5 billion to support counter-ISIL operations, a 50 percent increase over FY 2016 enacted levels, for activities including targeted airstrikes; the train, advise, and assist missions in Iraq and Syria; and the Special Operations Forces-led expeditionary targeting force.
  • $1.2 billion in FY 2017 and $4.5 billion over the Future Years Defense Program (FYDP) to expand ISR support for counterterrorism by continuing to build to 90 total combat air patrols available for use by combatant commands. The ISR fleet will include a joint-force mix of Predators, Reapers, Extended Range Reapers, and Advanced Gray Eagles.
  • A larger fighter fleet for our counter-ISIL air campaign by postponing final retirement of the Air Force A-10 aircraft to 2022, in coordination with the introduction of F-35 aircraft into the fleet.

Rebalance to Asia-Pacific. U.S. long-term economic and security interests are inextricably linked to developments in the Asia-Pacific, and DoD remains fully committed to the Administration’s whole-of-government rebalance. We will continue to demonstrate our freedom to navigate in international waters and airspace as we build cooperation in the region.

The Budget:

  • Responds to Chinese military modernization by taking prudent steps to preserve and enhance deterrence for the long term, including through targeted investments in emerging capabilities to sustain our military edge in the Asia-Pacific.
  • Builds maritime capacity of allies and partners by providing $425 million for the Maritime Security Initiative over five years. This initiative supports our allies in Southeast Asia by developing their maritime capabilities and building a shared maritime domain awareness architecture to identify potential threats and collaboratively address common challenges.
  • Enhances our presence, including through inaugurating P-8 maritime surveillance aircraft rotations in Singapore, implementing rotational initiatives in Northern Australia, moving forward with projects to support the movement of Marine forces to Guam, preparing for augmented rotational presence in the Philippines, and positioning F-35 fighters and additional Ballistic Missile Defense-capable ships in Japan.
  • Upholds freedom of navigation in the South China Sea by continuing to fly, sail, and operate anywhere international law allows, consistent with the Law of the Sea Convention.
  • Confronts provocation by North Korea by maintaining, along with our allies, a robust combined defense posture and strong military readiness on the Korean peninsula. The Budget continues to defend the homeland against the North Korean nuclear and missile threat through the ground-based midcourse defense system.

The Budget invests in Navy lethality through improvements in surface capability, additional tactical aircraft, and investments in advanced undersea capabilities by:

  • Continuing implementation of the Navy’s Optimum Fleet Response Plan, which began phased implementation in FY 2015, and balances the preservation of critical maintenance and training while maximizing employability of Navy forces.
  • Ensuring a balanced force structure, making significant progress on the Navy’s shipbuilding plan to achieve a level of 308 ships by FY 2024. The Budget invests in tactical aircraft across the FYDP, through increased depot maintenance for existing aircraft and procurement of F-35s and additional F-18s. It increases the lethality of the surface fleet by investing $1.2 billion over the FYDP for additional combat system upgrades for destroyers, a maritime strike Tomahawk missile capability, a new lightweight torpedo, electronic warfare upgrades, and more SM-6 missiles. It upgrades the undersea fleet by investing $2.5 billion over the FYDP for an additional Virginia Payload Module, 10 submarine combat systems upgrades, quieting and sensing upgrades, an improved MK-48 torpedo, and unmanned underwater vehicles.
  • Investing in nuclear modernization, funding the first hull for the Ohio class replacement in FY 2021, a signature milestone for Navy’s next-generation nuclear submarine

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