Vague explanations offered for cuts: ‘historical unobligated balances’ and ‘revised estimate’
From left, General Joseph Dunford, Jr., USMC Chairman of The Joint Chiefs of Staff, Secretary of Defense James Mattis, and Under Secretary of Defense David Norquist take their seats for the Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on the Defense Authorization Request for Fiscal Year 2019 on Thursday, April 26, 2018. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
The authors of a new Defense spending conference report ran a victory lap last week to tout the billions of dollars they added to the U.S. military budget, but they hardly mentioned the cuts they had to make to pull that off.
Members generally prefer to tout the “winners” in their bills, not so much the “losers.” That habit can obscure the hard work appropriators and their staffs do to wring savings out of the Pentagon and intelligence agency budgets, even when the total funding is an epic $674.4 billion, as it will be in fiscal 2019.