The fiscal year 2020 (FY ’20) budget summary released March 11 provides the first look at President Trump’s priorities for defense programs, but revealed few surprises ahead of a more detailed rollout March 12.
The budget document, released by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), includes a $750 billion topline budget for national defense, including $718 billion for the Defense Department. That equates to a 5 percent increase from the FY ’19 DoD budget allocation of $685 billion, or about $33 billion.
So far, few surprises emerged in the White House’s initial budget documents in terms of aircraft investment. The budget request will include funds for procuring 110 fighter aircraft, including additional Lockheed Martin [LMT]-made F-35A Joint Strike Fighters for the Air Force, and will work to maintain the current fleets of F-15 and F-16 aircraft. The budget will also continue to fund the Air Force’s next-generation bomber, the B-21 Raider, currently in development by Northrop Grumman [NOC]. Additional Boeing [BA]-made KC-46A Pegasus aerial refuelers will be included in the request. The Navy and Marine Corps will continue to procure their own F-35 variants and modernize the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet fleets.
While specific line item numbers will likely be revealed Tuesday, the administration’s initial document includes Navy funds for 12 battle force ships, to include three guided missile destroyers, three fast attack submarines and one new guided missile frigate, as well as two “large experimental unmanned surface ships.” Specific Navy programs are targeted for accelerated acquisition, including unmanned undersea vehicles, while munitions programs including Raytheon’s [RTN] Tomahawk and Standard Missile 6 (SM-6) Block 1B missiles.
The budget request specifically calls out the need to continue rebuilding military readiness, including in the areas of Navy and Marine Corps aviation readiness, ship depot maintenance and Air Force flying hours.
In terms of advanced technology investment, the FY ’20 budget request includes $208 million to build up the Pentagon’s Joint Artificial Intelligence Center, and focuses on autonomous systems, hypersonics and artificial intelligence, the document said. More than $59 billion is requested for research, engineering and prototyping activities “to maintain the military’s technological superiority and conventional overmatch against priority challenges.”
The White House wants over $9.6 billion in the FY ’20 budget for cybersecurity-related efforts, including network defense for Pentagon systems, and resources to invest in a cyber workforce.
The budget document states a commitment to standing up a new Space Force under the purview of the Air Force, and supports creating a new Space Development Agency and reintroducing U.S. Space Command, which was folded into U.S. Strategic Command in 2002.
About $286 million is dedicated to strengthening the defense industrial base, following the September 2018 DoD report that laid out areas of concern along the defense supply chain.