WASHINGTON --- Spending priorities in the forthcoming fiscal 2013 defense budget request call for reductions in the end strength of the Army and Marine Corps, an increase in special operations forces and maintaining the number of big-deck carriers, Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta said here today.
The Pentagon’s budget topline request is set at $525 billion for fiscal 2013 with an additional $88.4 billion for overseas contingency operations -- mostly in Afghanistan. This is down from $531 billion and $115 billion, respectively, in this fiscal year.
Defense Department officials used the new defense strategy guidance that President Barack Obama announced earlier this month to shape the budget request, the secretary said.
The budget seeks to minimize the impact of cuts on personnel accounts. Service members will receive their full pay raises in fiscal 2013 and 2014, Panetta said. “We will achieve some cost savings by providing more limited pay raises beginning in 2015,” he added.
Health care is another important benefit, and one that has far outpaced inflation. Changes to health care will not affect active duty personnel or their families, Panetta said.
“We decided that to help control growth of health care costs, we are recommending increases in health care fees, co-pays and deductibles for retirees,” he said. “But let me be clear that even after these increases, the cost borne by military retirees will remain below the levels in comparable private-sector plans.”
Overall, the request puts DOD on the path to save $259 billion over the next five years and $487 billion over the next 10. Panetta called the budget “a balanced, complete package” that keeps the American military the pre-eminent force in the world.
It is a balanced package, the secretary said, because while some programs are eliminated or delayed, others are increased. The budget looks to re-shape the military to be more agile, quick and flexible that incorporates the lessons learned in 10 years of war, he added.
Increasing the number of special operations forces is key to the plan, Panetta said, and special operators will begin to shift back to their traditional pre-9/11 mission of instructing local forces.
The request puts the Army on a path to drop to 490,000 soldiers and the Marine Corps to 182,000 Marines over five years. Currently, the two services have 562,000 and 202,000 active-duty members, respectively. The secretary noted this is still higher than the numbers on 9/11.
The budget treats the reserve components very carefully, Panetta said. After a decade of being an integral part of America’s wars, the reserve components will not go back to being a strategic Cold War-era reserve. The reserves will be the nation’s hedge against the unexpected, the secretary said.
“We are making only marginal reductions in the Army Reserve and Army National Guard, and no reductions in the Marine Corps Reserve,” the secretary said. “The Air Force will make balanced reductions in the Air Guard that are consistent with reductions in the active component and Air Force Reserve.”
The request also calls for more base realignments and closures, and a “BRAC-like” authority to recommend changes to military retirement. “But the president and department have made clear that the retirement benefits of those who currently serve will be protected by grandfathering their benefits,” Panetta said.
The budget maintains the current U.S. focus in the Central Command region and increases American commitment to the Pacific Command area of operations. The request looks to maintain the Navy’s current 11 aircraft carriers and 10 carrier air wings, Panetta said. It will also maintain the current Marine and Army posture in the Asia-Pacific region, and will base Littoral Combat Ships in Singapore and Bahrain.
The budget will eliminate two forward-based Army heavy brigades in Europe. Instead, brigades will rotate in and out of the area. The United States and European allies also will look to share costs for new capabilities such as the Alliance Ground Surveillance program.
The Navy will retire seven older cruisers and two amphibious ships early, and the Air Force will eliminate six tactical air squadrons.
The budget sinks more money into technologies to prevail in an anti-access, aerial-denial scenario and will fund the next-generation bomber and modernization of the submarine fleet.
The F-35 joint strike fighter is key to maintaining domain superiority, and the military remains committed to the program, Panetta said. “But in this budget, we have slowed procurement to complete more testing and allow for developmental changes before buying in significant quantities,” he added.
The budget will maintain all legs of the nuclear triad -- bombers, ICBMs and submarines -- and will invest in significantly more capability in the cyber world, Panetta said.
Panetta stressed the budget is based on strategy and will shape the force for the future. While the pain of cuts will be felt across the country, he said, it will also ensure a strong, agile military for the future.
The budget must pass Congress, and the secretary said he hopes members of Congress understand the strategy and nuances of the budget.
“My hope is that when members understand the sacrifice involved in reducing the defense budget by half a trillion dollars, it will convince Congress to avoid sequestration, a further round of cuts that would inflict severe damage to our national defense for generations,” Panetta said.
...To ensure sufficient resources to protect these strategic priorities, we will reduce the number of ships by slowing the pace of building new ships and by accelerating the retirement of some existing ships.
- Retiring 7 cruisers early - 6 did not have ballistic missile defense (BMD) capability, and the seventh with BMD capability is in need of costly hull repairs
- Slipping a large deck amphibious ship (LHA) by 1 year
- Slipping 1 new Virginia class submarine outside the FYDP
- Reducing Littoral Combat Ships by 2 ships in the FYDP
- Reducing Joint High Speed Vessels by 8 in the FYDP
- Retiring 2 smaller amphibious ships (LSD) early and moving their replacement outside the FYDP
Mobility Aircraft Implications
The strategic guidance places a premium on forces present or able to rapidly reposition to deter aggression and respond as needed. It recognizes that we do not need to retain the airlift capacity to support two large, simultaneous and rapidly developing ground campaigns. When faced with competing demands, we can prioritize and phase movements. Air mobility studies have also shown significant excess capacity in the U.S. airlift fleets. As a result we are reducing the airlift fleet by:
- Retiring 27 aging C-‐5As, resulting in a fleet of modernized 52 C-‐5Ms and 222 C-‐17s
- Retiring 65 of the oldest C-‐130s, resulting in a fleet of 318 C-‐130s
- Divesting 38 C-‐27s
U.S. Navy Aegis BMD Vessels
A total of 5 US Navy Ticonderoga class cruisers and 16 Arleigh Burke class destroyers have BMD capability as of November 2010. In 2010, all remaining Ticonderoga class cruisers that have SPY 1B systems (CG-59–CG-73) will be refitted with TBMD engagement technology.
Ticonderoga class cruisers equipped with anti-ballistic missile capability include the USS Lake Erie, USS Shiloh and USS Port Royal. Arleigh Burke class destroyers so equipped include the USS Wilbur, USS Stout, USS John S. McCain, USS Russell, USS Paul Hamilton, USS Ramage, USS Fitzgerald, USS Stethem, USS Benfold, USS Milius, USS Decatur, USS O'Kane.
An additional three ships have been refitted for Long Range Surveillance and Tracking (LRST): USS John Paul Jones, USS Hopper, and USS Higgins, with plans to add engagement capabilities by 2010.
On November 12, 2009, the Missile Defense Agency announced that six additional US Navy destroyers would be upgraded to participate in the program. In fiscal 2012, USS Carney, USS Ross, and USS Donald Cook will be upgraded. USS Cole, USS McFaul and USS Porter will be upgraded in fiscal 2013. The goal of the program is to have 21 ships upgraded by the end of 2010; 24 in 2012; 27 around 2013 and 38 at the end of FY 2015
TCG Mecidiye (C-000)
TCG Hamidiye (C-000)
TCG Berk-i Satvet (C-000)
TCG Peyk-i Şevket (C-000)
TCG Alp Alslan (C-348)
TCG Mareşal Fevzi Çakmak (C-349)
TCG Kılıç Ali Paşa (C-350)
TCG Piyale Paşa (C-351)