The final version of the proposed FY 2020 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), aka the Defense Budget, includes a total of $738 billion (a $22 billion increase over last year’s) for the Department of Defense.
Current Status (12/20/2019): President Trump signed the defense budget that will keep the government funded through Sept. 30, averting the possibility of a shutdown
Highlights of The 2020 Defense Budget
- Pay Raise: Increases the pay of all members of the armed forces by 3.1%, the largest pay raise in nearly a decade.
- Military End Strength:
- Army: 480,000 Soldiers
- Air Force: 332,800 Airmen
- Navy: 340,500 Sailors
- Marine Corps: 186,200 Marines
- Military Construction, Family Housing, and Family Support: Authorizes $11.8 billion for military construction, including family housing and $15 billion in additional funding for facilities sustainment, restoration, and modernization.
- Border Wall: $1.4 billion in homeland security funds for the border wall.
- Modernization and Procurement: Authorizes $9.3 billion for 90 Joint Strike Fighter aircraft.
- U.S. Space Force: Establishes the U.S. Space Force as a sixth military service within the Air Force. Creates the chief of space operations who may serve as the commander of U.S. Space Command for the first year. The new service will be small by DOD standards with about 16,000 Air Force personnel — active duty and civilian — to start. The Space Command, a combatant command, will not go away. It will be DOD’s warfighting arm in space.
- Nuclear Weapons Modernization and Treaty Obligations: Fully funds the president’s request for nuclear modernization and ensures that DOD maintains the replacement modernization plans for all three legs of the nuclear triad. The NDAA contains no restrictions on the military’s ability to deploy low-yield nuclear weapons.
- China and Russia: Increases funding for DOD to develop the capability to acquire rare earth minerals instead of relying on China.
- Intelligence Authorization Act: Includes three years of the Intelligence Authorization Act – Deters Russian and other foreign influence in our U.S. elections by requiring assessments of foreign intelligence threats to federal elections and a strategy for countering Russian cyber threats to U.S. elections.
- Paid Parental Leave for Federal Employees: Provides 12 weeks of paid parental leave for federal employees. Civilian employees of the Department of Defense and intelligence communities make up 40% of the federal workforce.
- Department of Veteran Affairs: The VA will get a 9% boost in funding, its largest budgetary increase ever.
Defense Budget Approximate Approval Timeline:
March 11, 2019 – DoD Releases Fiscal Year 20120 Budget Proposal
Spring/Summer 2019 – Congressional committees submit “views and estimates” of spending and revenues.
Summer/Fall 2019 – House & Senate Armed Appropriations Committees work on the FY2020 defense bill.
Summer/Fall 2019 – House of Representatives and Senate pass their versions of the defense bill and negotiate differences.
November/December 2019 – The House of Representatives and Senate seek to pass the final version of the defense bill.
December 2019 – The defense bill is typically signed into law. Currently the impeachment proceedings and measures related to border wall funding, “forever” chemicals, transgender people openly serving in the military and Space Force have slowed the appropriations process.
The previous Fiscal Year Defense Budget (in 2019) was approved by Congress and signed by President Trump in what was reported to be record time, marking the first time in over ten years that the Department of Defense was able to start a fiscal year without the need for a continuing resolution.
For more detailed information on the 2020 Defense Budget proposal, visit the DoD Defense Budget Request site.
Joe Wallace is a 13-year veteran of the United States Air Force and a former reporter for Air Force Television News