As the US government gears up to roll out a major reorganization of the military in the coming weeks, one thing that’s clear is that the military’s funding needs are in serious jeopardy.
The Department of Defense has asked Congress for a massive new infusion of cash to combat what the government is calling the “emerging security threat” of a “military-industrial complex.”
But the Army’s budget proposal released Wednesday shows that the Pentagon has not only been asking for new money for its “defense readiness,” but has also proposed cuts to its “non-defense readiness” budget.
The proposed cuts would include about $8.3 billion in funding for the “nonproliferation” budget, according to the document.
The cuts to the “defense-related non-defense” budget would amount to $6.7 billion, a reduction of nearly half of the proposed savings.
As the New York Times reports, this is “an unusual move” for the Defense Department.
The plan is essentially a plan to privatize military and civilian contracting, with no explicit goal for those cuts to actually be put to use in the future.
This, of course, is the same budget that the Trump administration has been calling for to reform US defense spending, even as it has been cutting funding to the Pentagon in a way that has been particularly devastating to the Army.
The budget proposal was released just days after the Army announced that it would be canceling $5 billion worth of funding for “army programs that support civilian leadership, security, and national security.”
The Army has a long history of slashing civilian support for its forces, and in recent years has been attempting to cut the budget of the US Army Reserve.
Last year, the Army made a $4 billion budget cut, while it cut $2 billion in support of the “reserve and reserve component,” and a further $4.4 billion in reserve funding.
Meanwhile, the US Air Force has been slashing its funding for support of its pilots, and this past week it announced that its “air-to-air refueling capability” would be downgraded from “full service” to “partial service” for all fighters.
The Air Force’s request for $4,988 million for its air refueling program would seem to support this idea of the Air Force cutting the “flight support” component of its fleet, and it would likely be part of the new funding request that the Army is asking for.
While there is some overlap in the funding requests between the two programs, the two would be the largest cuts to any service for years.
Meanwhile there are other cuts that would go well beyond any other military department, as well.
A $5.2 billion reduction to the Navy’s aircraft carrier modernization program would cut funding for two carrier task forces, as the Pentagon would also cut funding to its submarine program.
Additionally, the $541 million in proposed cuts for the Air National Guard, which has been reduced by more than 60% in the past two years, would also come at a cost to the Air Forces, as it would reduce their ability to fly nuclear-capable bombers, and thus have a direct impact on US military operations.
In short, the proposed cuts will have a very real and significant impact on the US military.