Tracking DoD’s Future Years Defense Program

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With every budget request, the Department of Defense sends a document called the Future Years Defense Program, which telegraphs what the department is funding over the next five years. While the FYDP has been a standard of budget requests for a while, the continuing resolutions of the last few years have made predicting the future a little more complicated.

“Several programs have been delayed, because under the continuing resolution, the stopgap that keeps the government operating, you can’t do new starts and you can’t do big increases that you had planned,” said Cameron Leuthy, senior defense and budget analyst at Bloomberg Government. “Where you end up depends on where you start, and they’re late on starting.”

Leuthy told Government Matters that the technologies outlined in the plan are a clear indicator of changes in the military’s strategy.

“There’s a shift going on at the Pentagon, and that effects the Future Year Defense Program to focus more on those systems and technologies that are important to deter conflict [and] prevent conflict with major regional powers like China and Russia, and less about ISIS and Afghanistan,” said Leuthy. “That translates into money for some interesting programs that are near term, like long‑range rockets and short-range air defense for the Army, improvements to the F‑35 for the Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps, but also longer-term things… directed energy lasers for the Navy. Things like that.”