Pentagon Budget Request FY2016

June 4, 2015 - Download PDF Version

by William French

Editor’s note: The amounts below reflect requested funding primarily for the Pentagon base budget, as opposed to the Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) fund. The President’s fiscal year 2016 request suggested a partial recategorization of funds from OCO to the Pentagon base budget to reflect the true use of these funds. This is an important consideration when comparing the fiscal year 2016 request to the 2015 enacted budget, or the President’s request to proposed congressional budgets.

On February 2, the Obama Administration released its fiscal year 2016 budget request, reflecting significant input from the Department of Defense. The administration is seeking a $534.3 billion budget for the Department of Defense (DoD),[1] not including war funding or nuclear weapons activities at the Department of Energy. The Pentagon's base budget request for fiscal year 2016 exceeds the budget caps imposed by the Budget Control Act of 2011 (BCA) by about $35 billion[2] and represents an increase of $38.2 billion above the amount enacted for fiscal year 2015. [3] Taking into account the full amount of military-related funding dispersed throughout the federal budget,  the administration’s military spending request comes in at $625 billion, about $38 billion higher than the caps imposed by the Budget Control Act.

NOTE:  All funding figures are in nominal dollars unless otherwise noted – i.e., they are not adjusted for inflation. 

Budget Highlights

Top Line Funding

The Obama Administration is requesting $534.3 billion for the Department of Defense in fiscal year 2016, which begins on Oct. 1, 2016. The request represents a 7.7 percent increase from the enacted base budget of $496.1 billion for fiscal year 2015.[4] In addition to $534.3 billion for the DoD base budget, the recent budget request also includes funding for defense-related nuclear activities ($19.1 billion), international security assistance, including the Foreign Military Financing Program ($13.3 billion), other defense activities primarily in the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security ($7.5 billion), [5] and wars overseas ($50.9 billion).

Excluding war funding, the budget contains $574.2 billion for military programs. Once projected war costs are included, the new 2016 budget proposal would spend a total of $625.2 billion on all military programs.

Funding for Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO)

The president’s budget requests $50.9 billion for Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) to fund ongoing military operations, most notably in Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria. This amount is $13.3 billion less the $64.3 billion enacted for OCO in fiscal year 2015, or a roughly 21 percent decrease. The President’s request includes only $5.3 billion specifically designated for the fight against ISIS. From 2001 to 2014, the United States spent $1.57 trillion on wars. See the running total of money spent on the wars at Cost of National Security.

Base Closures

The Pentagon is requesting a new round of base closures to occur in 2017. The last round of base closures occurred in 2005.

Missile Defense

The administration is requesting $8.8 billion for missile defense, roughly $100 million more than enacted for FY2015.[6] This total does not include $224 million for the Missile Defense Agency’s Science and Technology programs, $169.2 million for Military Construction related to missile defense, or $432.1 million for related Operations and Maintenance.[7]


The request includes $25.6 billion for ship building and maritime systems, roughly $2.2 billion more than enacted for FY2015. [8]  This year’s request includes $10.9 billion for surface combatant construction and $7.6 billion for submarine combatant construction.[9] The budget request includes funding for two DDG-51 destroyers, three Littoral Combat Ships and two “Virginia” class submarines. The budget also provides $2.8 billion to continue construction of the USS Gerald R. Ford, the first in a new class of nuclear aircraft carriers, and nearly $1.4 billion for the development of the next generation ballistic missile submarine program intended to replace the current “Ohio” class submarine.[10]


The request includes $48.8 billion for aircraft and related systems, roughly $6.7 billion more than enacted for FY2015. [11] This year’s request includes $19.7 billion for combat aircraft, $9 billion for cargo aircraft, and $2.9 billion for Unmanned Aerial Vehicles. The request provides $11 billion for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program (including the procurement of 57 aircraft), nearly $1.6 billion for V-22 “Osprey” tilt-rotor aircraft, $3 billion for the KC-46 airborne tanker aircraft, and $2.5 billion for C-130J Cargo aircraft. Twenty-nine MQ-9 “Reaper” and seventeen MQ-1 “Predator” Unmanned Aerial Vehicles were also requested in the budget. [12]

Military Personnel

The FY2016 proposal includes $178.9 billion for military pay and benefits, including retiree health care and the Defense Health Program, and another $71 billion for civilian pay and benefits. The Department of Defense seeks a 1.3 percent pay increase for military personnel. The request would also reduce the share of housing costs paid for by DOD through Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) to 95 percent incrementally over the next 2 to 3 years. The budget includes $47.8 billion for the Military Health System.[13]

Department of Energy Activities

The request includes $8.8 billion for the nuclear weapons activities of the Department of Energy (DoE), a 8 percent increase compared to enacted FY2015 levels. It also contains over $1.9 billion for DoE’s nuclear nonproliferation work, an increase of more than 20 percent, and more than $5.5 billion for Defense Environmental Cleanup, a 1.4 percent increase. In total, the request includes more than $18.8 billion for the nuclear defense-related activities of the Department of Energy, a 7.2 percent increase.[14]

Supporting Tables

Projected Pentagon Base Budget

(in billions of nominal dollars)

  FY2015 FY2016 FY2017 FY2018 FY2019
Request 495.6 534.4 543.7 551.4 567.6
Including “Opportunity, Growth, and Security Initiative" 522          


Funding by Military Service

(in billions of nominal dollars)

  FY2015 Request FY2015 Enacted FY2016 Request Dollar Change FY2016 Request vs. FY2015 Enacted Percent Change FY2016 Request/FY2015 Enacted
Army 120.3 119.5 126.5 +7.0 +5.9%
Navy 147.7 149.2 161.0 +11.8 +7.9%
Air Force 137.8 136.9 152.9 +16.0 +11.7%
Defense-wide 89.8 90.6 94.0 +3.4 +3.8%
Total 495.6 496.1 534.3 +38.2 +7.7%


Funding by Title

(in billions of nominal dollars)

  FY2015 Request FY2015 Enacted FY2016 Request Dollar Change FY2016 Request vs. FY2015 Enacted Percentage Change FY2016 Request/FY2015 Enacted
Military Personnel 135.2 135.0 136.7 +1.8 +1.3%
Operation and Maintenance 198.7 195.4 209.8 +14.5 +7.4%
Procurement 90.4 93.6 107.7 +14.1 +15.1%
Research, Development, Test and Evaluation 63.5 63.5 69.8 +6.3 +9.9%
Military Construction 5.4 5.4 7.0 +1.6 +29.3%
Family Housing 1.2 1.1 1.4 +0.3 +25.4%
Revolving and Management Funds 1.2 2.1 1.8 -0.3 -16.3%
Total 495.6 496.1 534.3 38.2 +7.7%

Note: The Military Personnel request cited here includes military pay but exclude benefits and services such as the Defense Health Program and family housing. 


Program and Per Unit Costs of Selected Weapons Programs

(in millions of nominal dollars; unit and program costs are over the lifetime of the program)

  FY2016 Request (millions) Quantity Per Unit Cost (millions) Total Program Cost (millions)
F-22A Fighter 601.7 0 358.2 67,337
F-35 Fighter (JSF) 11,012.4 57 159.2 391,135
E/A-18G Jamming Aircraft - 0 96.0 14,395
C-130J Cargo Aircraft 2,580.0 29 93.5 15,799
KC-46 Airborne Tanker Aircraft 3,008.0 12 273.2 48,910
V-22 Osprey Aircraft 1,582.4 19 119.0 54,758
UH-60M “Blackhawk” Helicopter 1,629.7 94 19.6 26,903
MH-60R “Seahawk” Helicopter 991.4 29 47.5 13,296
MH-60S “Knighthawk” Helicopter 33.4 0 18.7 25,694
UH-72A “Lakota” Light Utility Helicopter 187.2 28 5.8 2,004
Aircraft Carrier CVN-78 Class 2,808.3 0 14,320.4 42,961
DDG-51 "Arleigh Burke" Destroyer 3,470.1 2 1,199.1 98,328
Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) 1,859.5 3 682.6 21,842
SSN-774 “Virginia” Attack Submarine 5,741.0 2 3,103.5 99,313
Trident II D-5 Missile 1,206.1 0 74.3 41,658
Tactical Tomahawk Cruise Missile 210.0 100 1.4 5,615
Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) 559.1 12,294 0.03 8,169
Joint Stand-off Weapon (JSOW) 0.6 3,599
Joint Air to Surface Standoff Missile (JASSM) 453.4 360 1.4 7,235
Small Diameter Bomb (SDB II) 269.0 2,005 0.2 4,260
Unmanned Systems        
Predator UAV (MQ-1B/C) 402.1 17 149.0 5,065
Reaper UAV (MQ-9) 903.6 29 33.8 12,306
Global Hawk UAV (RQ-4A/B/C, MQ-4 and NATO AGS) 1,420.3 3 200.6 9,026
Note: “Per unit costs” include both procurement and research and development funding, unless otherwise noted


FY2015 Funding Request for Ballistic Missile Defense

(in millions of nominal dollars)

Program FY2016 Request
Ballistic Missile Defense 8,800.0
Selected Functions    
Ground-Based Midcourse Defense 1,628.4
AEGIS BMD 1,605.2
THAAD 718.2
Patriot/PAC-3 380.4
PAC-3/MSE Missile 417.2
Space Based Infra-Red System-High (SBIRS-High) 745.0


[1] In-doc pg 10.

[2] $499b BCA cap for 2016, see:

[3] In-doc pg 10.

[4] Ibid

[5] Office of Management and Budget, Public Budget Database, Budget Authority FY 2016:

[6] In-doc 49.

[7] In-doc 46.

[8] In-doc 49.

[9]  In-doc 49.

[10] See shipbuilding section

[11] In-doc 49.

[12] See aircraft section

[13] See section entitled “Provide for the people”

[14] Indoc pg 11.