10 Mar 2014

US budget outlines shifting defence priorities

American flag representing US defence budget | Defence Contracts InternationalSummary: US President Barack Obama’s recent Budget announcement has revealed a shift in the country’s national security priorities.

Announced on 4 March, the $3.9bn Budget focuses primarily on infrastructure investment, income equality and education.

Investment in cyber security

In terms of defence, the Budget remains unchanged with $496bn allocated for 2015. However, although the overall Budget has been largely unaffected, it does reveal important shifts in priorities with a move away from Army and military and greater investment in cyber security.

The spending plan Obama sent to Congress would shrink the size of the US Army from 490,000 active-duty soldiers to 450,000, the smallest force since before World War II.

The move is in line with declining activity in Iraq and Afghanistan as the country moves towards a ‘postwar’ mindset with less reliance on troops on the ground and greater focus on technology and cyber defence.

$5.1 billion request for cyber operations, making it more than 1 percent of the total Pentagon request.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said of the decision to reduce the size of the Army: “We chose further reductions in troop strength and force structure in every military service – active and reserve – in order to sustain our readiness and technological superiority and to protect critical capabilities.”

Industry spend patterns

The Budget will boost funding for the Comprehensive National Cybersecurity Initiative, which aims to create a frontline of defence against network intrusion and hacking.

It is also expected to maintain investment in unmanned technologies such as airborne drones, robotic trucks or underwater minehunters.

Learn more about the worldwide defence marketplace, including detailed analysis of industry spend patterns and budgets, in the official MOD Defence Suppliers Service Yearbook 2014. Find out more at http://www.bipsolutions.com/dss/yearbook2014/