DoD Budget: The Week Ahead

Monday is budget day. At 2 p.m. Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Adm. Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs, will begin unveiling details of what will doubtless be one of the most contentious defense budgets since the Clinton administration. Each service and the Missile Defense Agency unveils its budget and answers reporters questions after that.

Tea Party supporters will be watching to see whether the administration makes what they think are significant cuts to the defense budget. Mainstream Republicans will be watching to see whether the administration makes any cuts at all at a time when they think the nation can ill afford any, what with those two wars and their being Republicans. Rep. Barney Frank and some of his remaining Democratic colleagues will be watching to see if the administration really cares about America’s people, or just wants to keep supporting foreign governments with those overseas bases and the defense companies with those fat contracts. And House and Senate appropriators will be watching to see if they like what the administration has proposed, since they are, after all, the people who make the real spending decisions.

And the defense companies will be watching to see how their profits may fare, and just how serious this administration is about reining in the deficit on their accounts.

Will Gates unveil some big surprise this year, as he did last time when he fired the head of the Joint Strike Fighter program? Tune in tomorrow.

DoD Buzz will dish as much of the inside dope as we can get as quickly as we can get it. Don’t forget that, you, dear readers, often know details that we may not have spotted yet. Let us know!

On Wednesday, we head down to Orlando for the Air Force Association conference. Every senior Air Force general speaks during this conference. We’ve lined up interviews with a few of them and, of course, award of the KC-X  is just a week or three away. And there are sure to be some budget details that come out of the several dinners and lunches and breakfasts planned. A busy week ahead!