US military services have been told to find savings of between $50 billion (R396 billion) and $60 billion (R475 billion) over five years in their current programs to fund new initiatives, a senior Pentagon official said.
David Ochmanek, deputy assistant secretary of defence for force transformation and resources, said the Pentagon had identified gaps in its capabilities and had told the services to fill them, while assuming no overall budget growth.
“It’s now up to the components to figure out how best to make real those new capabilities and capacities and to find offsets within an assumption of zero real growth,” Ochmanek told a group of defence reporters.
“So they’re now busily looking for those bill-payers.”
The new initiatives have been identified as part of the Pentagon’s in-depth look at major programs and strategy known as the Quadrennial Defence Review (QDR), Ochmanek said.
“The order of magnitude of the enhancements that the QDR has called for… is on the order of $50 to 60 billion (over five years),” he said.
The Obama administration has asked Congress for $663.8 billion (R5253 billion) for the Pentagon for the 2010 fiscal year that begins Oct. 1, including $130 billion (R1030 billion) in war funding, mainly for the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Ochmanek said analysts working on the QDR had been told to assume zero growth in the defense budget but this did not necessarily mean there would be no increases.
Pic: US troops