Budget Buster

By Thomas Duffy / May 6, 2014 at 6:48 PM

In testimony this morning before the Senate Armed Services Committee, Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey said that if Congress rejects a package of pay and compensation reforms proposed by the Obama administration, the Defense Department will have to spend more than $30 billion over the next five years to pay for the resulting shortfall, with that money coming from readiness and force structure.

Dempsey laid out the problem facing DOD in his written testimony:

“If Congress rejects all of the proposals, we will not only have to find $2.1 billion in 2015, but we will also have to find $31 billion over the FYDP to pay for the shortfall. In the near-term, we will be forced to take these funds out of readiness. In the mid-term, it will diminish our ability to rebalance during the FYDP. Beyond the FYDP, we will see substantial impacts to modernization and our ability to field the Joint Force we need in the future.”

Dempsey pointed out that health care is one of the biggest costs DOD has to grapple with. The price has risen from $19 billion annually in 2001 to $48 billion in 2013.