It’s official: DoD told to take cut with FY20 budget
The Pentagon has officially been told the national security top line for fiscal 2020 will be $700 billion, representing the first cut to defense spending under the Trump administration.
Deputy Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan told reporters at the Military Reporters & Editors Conference on Friday that Office of Management and Budget head Mick Mulvaney directly told him the Department of Defense must aim for the $700 billion figure, first floated by President Donald Trump at a Cabinet meeting last week.
Notably, Shanahan indicated this will not be a one-year blip, but rather part of a flattening of budgets, saying “when you look at the $700 billion, it’s not just for one year dropdown, [or] a phase, it’s a drop and then held constant over the” future years defense program, a five year projection included in every budget.
Asked whether this impacts the department’s plan to shift roughly $50 billion from the Overseas Contingency Operations wartime funding account into the base budget, Shanahan said that no decision has been made. Critics of OCO have argued the DoD pushes items that should be in the base budget into the wartime fund in order to circumvent the sequestration-related budget caps.
The change comes with just weeks left in the DoD’s budget planning process, where the department had been working under the assumption it would have a $733 billion budget top line.