On DoD: Budget agreement’s impact to the Pentagon

On this edition of On DoD, we discuss the implications of the just-passed Ryan- Murray budget agreement for the Pentagon. The impacts are multi-faceted, but the most welcome, from the perspective of DoD leaders, is the easing of sequestration for the next two years: this year, the caps imposed by the 2011 Budget Control Act will go up from $498 billion to $521 billion. The relief is a bit less pronounced in 2015, but nonetheless, DoD leaders say they at least now have a gradual ramp to downsize their operations to the funding levels sequestration requires, rather than having to slice indiscriminately.

Also important to the military community: some cutbacks pay and benefits. Civilian workers across the government will take what’s essentially a pay cut as they begin to pay 1.3 percent more from their annual pay toward their pensions, though their benefits won’t change. And military retirees will get smaller cost of living adjustments to their pensions while they’re still at working age. We discuss the agreement with two guests:

  • Russell Rumbaugh leads the Budgeting for Foreign Affairs and Defense program at the Stimson Center, and published some of the first independent analysis of the budget agreement.
  • Mike Barron, a recently-retired Army colonel is deputy director of legislative affairs for Miliitary Officers’ Association of America, one of the military associations urging lawmakers to repeal the new pension cuts.