DoD’s 2013 Budget Preview (Updated with Docs)

Happy budget day! Yup, the Pentagon’s 2013 budget request officially drops today and according to Reuters, it’s going to ask for $187.8 billion to buy planes and ships while chopping cash for ground vehicles.

As we’ve said before, in the 2013 budget, strategic weapons are winning the funding game in the second decade of the 21st Century.

Keep in mind that what you’ll read below is an early report, check in to DoD Buzz today near-live coverage of the Pentagon’s official budget rollout.

While the Air Force and Navy are seeing significant investment in new toys, the overall defense budget is shrinking by just over 12 percent from last year’s defense budget (when war funding, known as overseas contingency operations money, is included), says this report.

The Army and Marines are expected to see investment in replacements for the Humvee and M2 Bradley fighting vehicle but will see significant cuts to their truck fleets with a 32 percent drop in ground vehicle cash, according to Rueters:

The Pentagon’s spending plan includes $10.9 billion for ground vehicles, 32 percent less than the $16 billion requested in fiscal 2012. The new request includes $117 million for continued development of a new light tactical vehicle for the Army and Marine Corps and a heavier new Ground Combat Vehicle.

Funding for the Family of Heavy Tactical Vehicles built by Oshkosh Corp would drop to $58.1 million for 1,534 vehicles from $650 million for 9,336 vehicles funded in fiscal 2012.

Click through the jump to read more details and see the Pentagon’s freshly released 2013 budget highlights.

While the Air Force and Navy were spared super steep cuts, overall funds requested for aviation are going to be slightly down, according to the wire service.

As we all know F-35 Joint Strike Fighter procurement is being slowed with $9.17 billion requested for fiscal year 2013, “down slightly from $9.25 billion requested in fiscal 2012,” reports Reuters. The Air Force is also getting $1.82 billion for the new KC-46 tanker.

However, reductions in C-130J buys and 32 percent chop in V-22 Osprey tiltrotor cash means that overall aircraft spending is down 12 percent:

Overall spending on aircraft programs will drop 12 percent to $47.6 billion in fiscal 2013 from $54.2 billion in the fiscal 2012 budget request, mainly due to a 41 percent drop in funding for the Lockheed-built C-130J transport plane, and a 32 percent cut in funding for the V-22 Osprey.

The Pentagon proposed spending $835 million on seven more C-130J airlifters in fiscal 2013, down from $1.43 billion for 12 planes in fiscal 2012.

Funding for the V-22, a tilt-rotor aircraft built by Boeing and Bell Helicopter, a unit of Textron Inc, would drop to $1.91 billion for 21 aircraft, from $2.8 billion for 35 planes in fiscal 2012.

The plan foresees spending of $1.25 billion for six high-altitude unmanned Global Hawk spy planes built by Northrop Grumman – three for NATO and three for the Navy. Panetta announced last month that the Pentagon was cancelling work on the Air Force’s Block 30 variant.

The plan would increase funding for the AH-64 Apache helicopter built by Boeing by 55 percent, funding 40 remanufactured helicopters and 10 new aircraft. Northrop Grumman

and Lockheed also have a big role in the program.

Funding for the UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter built by Sikorsky Aircraft, a unit of United Technologies Corp, would continue a five-year procurement agreement with $1.3 billion for 59 of the twin-engine helicopters.

As for ships, they’re alright seeing as how they fit into the Pentagon’s new focus on the western Pacific. You know, the ocean, that thing you need big ships and airplanes to control.

Shipbuilding programs would get $22.6 billion in the fiscal 2013 request, down from $24 billion in the fiscal 2012 request. That will fund 2 Virginia-class nuclear attack submarines, 2 DDG-51 destroyers, and 4 Littoral Combat Ships.

The Navy is also asking for “$781.7 billion for initial construction funding of a new aircraft carrier, and $1.6 billion for the refueling of the USS Abraham Lincoln carrier.”

Here’s the Pentagon’s budget highlight paper that was released this morining:

DoD 2013 Budget Highlights

Here’s a more detailed look at the budget request:

FY2013 Budget Request Overview Book

  • Nick T.

    Is there no love for the modern infantryman in this world?

    • Dan Gao

      Hmm, it doesn’t even mention anything about infantry modernization either being cut or spared. Hopefully they will still give this area a decent chunk of cash, infantry will always be a critical factor in warfare.

      Overall, this isn’t so bad. Thankfully most of our modernization programs are still moving forward. Who knows? Maybe the tight budgets will actually help our procurment efforts, because it will force program managers to make more attainable goals. Fat chance, I know, but one can dream.

    • blight_

      What did you want for the modern infantryman? Powered armor? Body armor? I’d love to see a new bullet (6.8 or 6.5, decide, decide!) but our NATO friends would go nuts if forced to replace every single small arm in inventory today.

    • J Hughes

      I dont think we will ever be invading countries with 100,000+ ground troops any more. Dont quote me on that, just a feeling.

      • blight_

        That’s what I said after GW1, Somalia and Kosovo.

        Man, was I so wrong.

        • Dan Gao

          Hughes, you are right. We should absolutely avoid decade-long nation building adventures like a plague. Save the masses of regular forces for conventional, large scale conflicts like Korea or (God forbid) China. We can fight terrorism with unconventional means like our greatly expanded SOCOM assets, manned and unmanned air strikes, CIA efforts, etc.

          • blight_

            It seems like <100,000 nation-building adventures are okay, because if the troops aren't dying, people are happy to pay the DoD for it. Supplemental bills every year for the contractors, tasty. And who votes against the military?

            Kind of thought Tora Bora would teach us that you need reliable troops on the ground. As does Libya.

  • Wow, $781.7 BILLION for initial construction costs on a new Ford class carrier. That thing better be the airborne helicarrier from the S.H.I.E.L.D. (comic book) for that kind of money. ;)

    • lol

      Buy stock in Huntington Ingalls Ship building right now!!!
      Sadly it looks like the info in this story was pulled straight from an article written by Reuters yesterday. Right down to the horribly off spending amounts

    • blight_

      I’m sure they’ve adjusted for overruns.

  • *Does it really cost $1.6 bn to refuel a carrier? I mean you are basically just removing old and bringing in new fuel rods, correct? A brand new fuel rod is only worth a couple million in the real world. Assuming they put in 40 rods @ $2m a peice that is still only $80m in materials…. lets say $100m in materials… is that really 1.5 BN in LABOR?

    * = This is not a professional assessment I dont know how many fuel rods go into the reactor of a carrier, or if it even accepts fuel rods, but still. I know about how much a fuel rod is worth.

    • FormerDirtDart

      No, they have to practically cut the reactor out of the carrier to conduct refueling. While it can appear an extravagant pain, it does ensure greater protection and security of the reactor.

    • Jeff

      The simple reality is building the reactor is the cheapest part. Installing is expensive, and refueling it is only a bit less expensive and the the cost of retiring equals all that combined. Even after that its still more cost effective than if they were diesel powered. And the cost benefits are only heightened when you consider you’d need far more carriers to have an equal capability at that reduced operating tempo.

      $1.6BN is actually a less than previous, seeing as refueling some of the older reactors last cost $2.4BN.

    • ziv

      After an aircraft carrier is retired from the active force, could it be kept in a semi-ready state so that if a Fukushima or Katrina type event occurs, the ship could be sailed to a port nearby and supply electricity to the power grid, while also serving as a heli-port and clinic? Or would the power provided be generated in a form that would need converters that would make it cost prohibitive?
      The armed services should be used primarily to fight our enemies, but a little public relations from a ship(s) when one of allies, or one of our own states, has been hard hit would be worth the cost of keeping the ships reactors functioning while keeping the ship itself at somewhat less than ready for fighting.

      • lol

        Only issue with that is where would you get the crew from?
        If I remember correctly what you described was exactly what the US Navy did following the Haiti Earthquake.Providing power, water, supplies and medical services

    • blight_

      Matt: This is like upgrading cars by model year by taking them to the dealership and then doing a drivetrain/parts swap. It is certainly more involved than simply refueling. I guess if they wanted to save money, they could redesign the ships for easier refueling at the risk of compromising them to a golden BB attack.

      Cheaper than a new car up to a point, but also quite expensive.

      The other fact is that American labor is expensive, but do you trust foreigners to do the shipyard work on America’s striking arm? We can’t outsource everything now…

  • Pat

    i think they need to put money into the marines so they dont need to use the m16 and use the m4

  • Belesari

    Um DT 90% sure thats 781.7mil not bil just saying.

    Oh look more little coffin ships…….joy.

  • Zeyn

    Good idea!!! lest keep ignoring ground forces!

    strategic weapons are useless, we will never go to war with a superpower due to MAD from nukes.
    but we could go to war with a smaller nation like Iran where ground troops dont need then the Navy and half of the Air force.

    • blight_

      I think people just assume the Abrams/Bradley tag-team is still good enough to kick ass in conventional nation-state war, thus they won’t be replaced. We seriously underestimate that from a technical standpoint, that the American armed forces are reasonably well-equipped in relation to their size. There aren’t many larger armies, and if there are they are poorly equipped. There are many better equipped armies, but they are smaller.

  • Lance

    With over 7% cuts in its funding I doubt JLTV and GCV will be online in 2017. They may be pushed back till mid 2020s by this cuts in funding. Congress may still kill it like they asked the DoD to do last year remember the Congress has the final say in what goes and dies in the budget. This is just the beginning not the final say.

  • Neil

    Lasers, Railgun and FEL???

    • Moose

      All three are still going.

      • William C.

        They ought to be, that’s the future right there.

  • Black Owl

    We seriously need to scale back defense spending. This is ridiculous. The F-35 also needs to go since it is littered with so many design flaws it would take billions more dollars to get it to do what it’s supposed to. The F-35B still breaks a part when we try to fly it and the F-35C can’t even land on a carrier because it’s tailhook is flawed. If we cancelled these two models alone we might come close to saving the money that we need to for good machines and aircraft that work, such as the Super Hornet and new aircraft carriers. I also can’t believe that JAGM got cancelled. The JAGM missile would have been ideal for the types of warfare that we are fighting now and will continue to fight in the future.

    Also if you want to give me thumb downs for this comment well in the words of Jersey Shore: “Come at me, bro!”

    • blight_

      We should give Boeing a call and tell them to put out a JSF-A and a JSF-C back into the game (echoing our double competitor LCS). Then again, LCS is not exactly a great role model

  • That number can’t be right in regards tot he carrier. That is clearly a typo

  • Papi1960R

    Well we appearently do not learn lessons very well. Iraq and Afghanistan have shown that the USMC cannot deploy, conduct and sustain combat operations without the trucks, drivers and fuelers of the Army National Guard and Army Reserve. Now with these cuts the Active Army will join the Marines as logistically challenged. All this while the Kremlin’s favorite Democrat, Leon Panetta, is planning to cut the Guard and Reserves of all the branches severely. Am I the only one who realises that M1s, LAVs and Bradleys don’t work without 2 1/2, 5ton, HEMMTs and PLS trucks.

    • blight_

      Yes, you are. I guess it’s back to the days of rounding up locals and mules to move supplies? Or will these magical “contractors” pick up the slack?

    • blight_

      I regret I only have one +1 to give.

    • TMB

      The Marines were never meant to conduct sustained operations over the long haul without external support, and the Army has relied on the National Guard and Army Reserve for long term logistics since Desert Storm by design.

  • Ben

    I’m a complete layman when it comes to such matters, but why are nuclear submarines and aircraft carriers only given enough nuclear fuel, when they are first commissioned, to last them 20 years or so (thus ensuring that they will require refueling at some point?)

    Why not simply put enough nuclear fuel at the beginning to last them 40-60 years and never have to refuel at all?

    • blight_

      Doesn’t change the need for COH. A refueling alone I think takes one to two years.

      Additionally, how many fuel rods do you want to carry? How big does this carrier get? And if it’s bigger, then it gets slower, or needs larger engine spaces, which might require a larger reactor.

    • fromage

      Really?

    • TMB

      20 years isn’t enough for you? The only other option is diesel which means they would have to put in for refueling all the damn time.

    • More fuel would just react with the other fuel. I highly doubt the output could be doubled just from doubling the capacity of the fuel.

    • blight_

      In armchair lalaland, a possibility would be designing a breeder reactor that could partially recycle the waste. However, research into breeders has hit a brick wall because you can use breeders for production of weapons grade nuclear material.

      It would definitely involve change to the reactor designs, and it’s hard to predict the downstream consequences in hypotheticals.

  • 10th

    “The request asks for $781 million in carrier construction money, including $608.2 million in procurement for CVN 79 and $173.5 million for research and development (R&D).”

    Since it is part of a $12.8 billion dollar request, the carrier cost is in millions…

  • bobbymike

    I would increase defense spending to $900 billion by cutting food stamps, welfare and unemployment. Put all eligible men and women into the armed forces building weapons, learning maintenance, computers, whatever.

    That would be a WWII type stimulus that might work :) OK not a serious proposal but whatever.

  • J Hughes

    This isnt even a pathetic 5% of our national GDP

  • J Hughes
    • blight_

      “…asks for $2.9 billion for what it calls “Post-Operation NEW DAWN (OND)/Iraq Activities.””

      Bribes? Embassy security? How much of this should be going to State or the CIA’s black budget? Maybe it’s a line item for troops in Kuwait…

      • TMB

        We still have a couple brigades in Kuwait on stand-by/burning off the rest of their OND deployment.

      • TMB

        And Kuwait is probably still full of all kinds of vehicles and equipment waiting to be shipped home.

  • itfunk

    We don’t need ground forces, we are running away from 2 lost ground wars.

  • Neil

    High Energy Laser (HEL), Railgun and Free electron laser (FEL)???