Budget experts don’t expect the administration’s fiscal year 2015 budget request until at least late February, but the White House could provide some guidance to the Pentagon this week.
Sources told Defense News that the department expected to get guidance about the administration’s upcoming request from the Office of Management and Budget around Christmas. That was likely delayed because of the two-year deal passed by Congress last month.
Once the the department receives the guidance OMB and Pentagon officials can begin their annual back-and-forth over specific spending provisions — including top-line numbers. The Pentagon’s base budget request is capped at $521 billion, under the budget agreement.
One area of contention could be how much is spent on Afghanistan. That funding is included under overseas contingency operations spending, which isn’t under the Pentagon’s spending cap. But what sort of force the United States will have in the country after 2014 is unknown. Administration officials have pressed Afghan President Hamid Karzai to sign a bilateral security agreement, but Karzai wants to push the signing until after the country’s elections in April.