CBO Projects That DoD’s Future Defense Plans Will Cost More Than DoD Estimates

July 11, 2012

In most years, the Department of Defense (DoD) provides to the Congress a five-year plan, called the Future Years Defense Program (FYDP), along with its budget request for the coming year. Because decisions made in the near term can have consequences for the defense budget well beyond that period, CBO regularly examines—at the request of the Senate Budget Committee—the programs and plans in DoD’s FYDP and projects their budgetary impact over the long term.

Today’s study—the latest in CBO’s annual series—analyzes the budgetary impact of the 2013 FYDP (which provides plans for fiscal years 2013 to 2017) through 2030. The FYDP describes the department’s “base” budgetary plan for its normal activities, such as manning, training, and equipping the military, and excludes overseas contingency operations, such as the war in Afghanistan.

CBO projects that DoD’s plans will cost $123 billion, or 5 percent, more to execute through 2017 than DoD estimates. CBO also projects that the cost of DoD’s plans will exceed the limits established in the Budget Control Act. For most categories of DoD’s budget, costs under CBO’s projections are higher than under the department’s estimates. Historically, the costs of providing health care, paying military and civilian personnel, and developing and buying weapons have been higher than DoD’s planning estimates.

This study was prepared by Daniel Frisk, Adam Talaber, David Arthur, and other analysts in CBO’s National Security Division.