Magazine article National Defense

CBO Says Defense Budget Should Be $340B

Magazine article National Defense

CBO Says Defense Budget Should Be $340B

Article excerpt

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has released a report regarding current military threats to the United States in accordance with its existing national security strategy, and provided an estimated cost of maintaining today's military forces to combat those threats.

The report suggests the only foreign powers who potentially rival the United States are Russia and China. The Chinese People's Liberation Army has approximately two million troops, making it the largest army in the world, but its weapons are thought to have been developed in the 1950s and 60s and are thereby inferior to those of the United States. Likewise, Russia's weapons are inherited from the former Soviet Union, and are thought by most defense analysts to be in poor condition.

The CBO also stated that the most worrisome, and potentially, the most costly threats, may be those that present unconventional danger to the U.S., such as tactical nuclear, biological, chemical and cyber threats.

The estimate for a sustaining budget for national defense is $340 billion. In comparison, the fiscal year 2000 appropriation was $289 billion. The $340 billion represents the amount of funding required to keep the forces in a "steady state." CBO estimated the needed funds to increase military personnel pay to make it comparable to private sector salaries. Also, the estimators took into account the need to replace aging weapons and equipment at a rate consistent with projections of their service lives, providing funding for research and development, and repairing and replacing existing military housing and facilities as needed.

Export Licensing Update

NDIA recently contacted the House and Senate Appropriations Committee members regarding legislation that would establish fees to be collected with export licensing applications by the Office of Defense Trade Controls (ODTC). The fiscal year 2001 Commerce, State, Justice Appropriations bill includes a section to establish such fees, ostensibly to keep military equipment and technology out of the hands of our enemies. NDIA has concerns with this section, because no assurances have been provided that increased revenue for the Department of State will result in improved export license processing performance. This follows the fact that the ODTC received an additional $9 million above the standard funding for that office in the fiscal year 2000 appropriations bill, yet there has so far been no change in performance.

Also, through this legislation, some companies would be charged twice by the same office-companies producing products on the State Department Munitions List are already required to pay registration fees that II, go directly to ODTC.

Contractor-Labor Relations

Groups continue to unite against the proposed federal acquisition regulations contractor-labor. The regulations would dramatically disrupt the current system of federal procurement and government contracting by denying contract awards on the basis of factors unrelated to the prospective contractor's ability to perform the contract.

NDIA has joined with the National Alliance Against Blacklisting (NAAB), a group of high-profile associations and companies united in opposition to the regulations. …

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