Officials at the Pentagon are concerned that budget caps imposed by Congress will hamper the military’s ability to put new technology into the field.
The U.S. Department of Defense plans to request an additional $6 billion from Congress to cover troop increases in Iraq and the fight in Afghanistan, as well as new tech to counter ISIS drones, Bloomberg News reports. The military is currently funded through a stopgap measure that delayed passage of an official defense spending bill until after the election.
The Pentagon is pitching what officials call the “Third Offset strategy,” which focuses on developing new, advanced technology to provide soldiers better support in combat, but some are concerned that they will develop new equipment but not have enough money to put it to use. (RELATED: Scrapped Pentagon Projects Cost Taxpayers $58 Billion)
One official worries that the Pentagon will “do the demo, we’ll be very happy with the results, [but] we won’t have the money to go on. That’s what I’m concerned about,” Frank Kendall, the top weapons buyer for the military, said at a press conference during the Center for Strategic and International Studies conference Friday.
“Ultimately, we need capability, and to get capability in the hands of the warfighters, we have to go to the next step,” Kendall said.
New systems that work should not be allowed to fizzle out, Kendall said. “The next administration’s got to figure that out,” Kendall said. “We’re going to be … still in a very polarized political situation and arguing over the size of the defense budget, and I think we need to get to an argument about how much we really need for national security.”
The Pentagon hopes that demonstrating how the new technologies will improve the military’s effectiveness will help when the military negotiates for funding from Congress.
“We don’t have enough money to do everything we want to do,” Bob Work, Deputy Defense Secretary, told Breaking Defense. “So what we’re doing this year … is we are trying to prepare as many demonstrations on advanced capabilities as we possibly can for the next administration to determine … the way they want to go.”
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