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FY 2017 Federal IT Budget Snapshot: Department of the Army

Published: February 24, 2016

ARMYBudgetDEFENSEForecasts and Spending

Flat Fiscal Year 2017 funding of Army’s base discretionary budget will provide welcome stability for many information technology programs

After nearly a decade of wartime related growth, the annual budget of the U.S. Army began to come under pressure in fiscal 2010. Funding since then has dropped every year with the potential exception of Fiscal Year 2016 to FY 2017. Stability between these years raises the hope that the era of annual declines in the Army’s budget has come to an end.

Top Level Numbers

If the Defense budget request is approved by Congress, Army’s base discretionary budget in Fiscal Year 2017 will total $123 billion, a decline of only 0.24%, or $260 million less than the service received in fiscal 2016. Summarizing the Army’s top-level numbers for each budget category, we can see that the Service’s budget in FY 2017 will remain generally consistent from FY 2016. 

Operations and Maintenance (O&M) Funding

Army’s base O&M funding in FY 2017 will be $43.5 billion, an increase of 6.6%, or $2.7 billion, over the FY 2016 enacted level. The increase in O&M is intended to maintain current readiness vs. future modernization in Army programs.

Nowhere is this focus clearer than in Army’s information technology investments, which will receive $7.6 billion in FY 2017. Funding for Army IT will be down by 2.5%, or $200 million, from the level enacted in FY 2016, however, despite the decline practically none of Army’s major IT programs (Except WIN-T) will see substantial cuts to their base O&M budgets. On the contrary, many programs, like Enterprise Licensing Agreements, the Joint Tactical Radio System, and Tactical Mission Command will see more O&M funding in FY 2017. Even organizations like Network Enterprise Technology Command and the U.S. Army IT Agency will see bumps in their FY 2017 budgets.

Procurement Funding

Army’s Procurement funding will see a 9.9% decrease in FY 2017. The budget request still provides a substantial $15.3 billion in base funding for Procurement, but this is amounts to $1.6 billion less that what was received in FY 2016. The focus on current readiness hurts some acquisition efforts more than others, but the overall picture is rosier in IT than in other budget categories.

For example, despite the budget’s decline, Army planners managed to protect procurement investment in many of the most important IT programs. Here is a short list of programs that will gain procurement funding vs. those that will lose it:

Gain
  • Army Integrated Air Missile Defense Battle Command System - $205 million vs. $21 million (!) in FY 2016
  • Global Combat Support System-Army (GCSS-A) - $156 million vs. $147 million in FY 2016
  • Installation Information Infrastructure Modernization Program - $152 million vs. $103 million in FY 2016
  • Joint Battle Command - Platform (JBC-P) - $138 million vs. $133 million in FY 2016
  • Communications Security (COMSEC) - $133 million vs. $72 million in FY 2016
Lose
  • WIN-T Ground Forces Tactical Network - $437 million vs. $695 million in FY 2016
  • Distributed Common Ground System – Army (DCGS-A) - $276 million vs. $304 million in FY 2016
  • Defense Enterprise Wideband SATCOM Systems - $144 million vs. $172 million in FY 2016
  • Unified Command Suite - $14 million vs. $22 million in FY 2016
Research, Development, Test, & Evaluation (RDT&E) Funding

Lastly, Army’s budget for RDT&E in FY 2017 will be flat, which is about the best outcome that could be expected considering the current budget environment. Stable funding is positive news for some IT initiatives and programs, including the following:
  • Army Integrated Air and Missile Defense (AIAMD) - $252 million vs. $222 million in FY 2016
  • Army Tactical Command & Control Hardware & Software - $205 million vs. $131 million in FY 2016
  • Integrated Personnel and Pay System-Army (IPPS-A) - $155 million vs. $121 million in FY 2016
  • Information Technology Development - $74 million vs. $60 million in FY 2016
  • Information Systems Security Program - $38 million vs. $31 million in FY 2016
And negative for others …
  • High Performance Computing Modernization Program (HPCMP) - $177 million vs. $222 million in FY 2016
  • C3 Advanced Technology - $36 million vs. $38 million in FY 2016
  • Constructive Simulation Systems Development - $18 million vs. $23 million in FY 2016
  • General Fund Enterprise Business System (GFEBS) - $7 million vs. $21 million in FY 2016
  • Joint Tactical Network (JTN) - $16 million vs. $18 million in FY 2016
Bottom Line

Summing up, this brief look at IT investment within Army’s FY 2017 budget request reveals that many of the Army’s high-profile programs managed to avoid the funding axe entirely. In some cases, part of the solution employed by Army planners also appears to have involved protecting O&M funding vs. Procurement and/or RDT&E funding. It appears overall that Army’s budget cuts fell the hardest on weapons systems rather than on IT investments, offering good news to vendors doing business in this space.