Missing from Trump's defense budget: Future plans

The Washington Examiner, May 23, 2017


But this year, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, who is still lacking dozens of high-level appointees including a Navy and Air Force secretary, had no resources to plan that far ahead.
"The secretary has not spent any time at all looking at anything beyond FY '18 to date," said John Roth, acting Pentagon comptroller at a Tuesday briefing.
The reason, he said, is that the fledgling Trump administration is still drawing up its new defense strategy that will inform future spending decisions.
"So what you have, and what OMB has provided for the Defense Department, is flat topline beyond FY '18. That is not the top line we will be seeking," Roth said.
"That top line is not informed by strategy, and it's not informed by policy."
Roth said the numbers currently in the five-year plans are just placeholders, awaiting an analysis that will begin in the fall.

Today, House Armed Services Committee Ranking Member Adam Smith (D-WA) made the following comment on this problem:

“I am seriously disappointed that President Trump’s defense budget omits long-term planning assumptions that are needed to make sober and strategic choices about national security.

“It impacts the military’s ability to respond to current and future threats when you don’t include this future planning information in your defense budget. These things matter. As we mark up this year’s defense authorization bill, those gaps will have a negative impact on our ability to get the Defense Department what it needs.

“If this delay is occurring because President Trump has so far failed to nominate enough competent, capable, confirmable nominees to key positions in the Department, that’s a major failure. If it’s occurring because of internal disagreements within the administration, that’s unfortunate and dangerous. If it’s a result of disorganization, that’s just as bad. This is all happening on President Trump’s watch, so he bears the responsibility for fixing it, and for any negative consequences that result.”