Mattis Budget Guidance Prioritizes Readiness, Previews 2018 Defense Strategy

By: Megan Eckstein, USNI News

“Defense Secretary James Mattis released an initial budget guidance memo that prioritizes current readiness, filling in shortfalls and then building a larger and more capable force.

The Jan. 31 memo, released today, states that “the ultimate objective is to build a larger, more capable, and more lethal joint force, driven by a new National Defense Strategy,” though it does not preview the new strategy itself.

Rather, the memo calls for intermediate goals of addressing “immediate and serious readiness challenges” and “addressing pressing programmatic shortfalls.”

Phase 1 of this effort calls for a FY 2017 budget amendment that would be delivered to the Office of Management and Budget by March 1. This would increase current-year defense spending over what the Obama administration recommended and Congress marked up and approved, though that budget plan is not actually in use right now; rather, the federal government is still operating under a continuing resolution due to lawmakers not passing their spending bills last fall. For the budget amendment to have an effect, Congress would have to take action this spring.”

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Navy Embracing Distributed Operations in Quest to Regain Sea Control

By Megan Eckstein, USNI News

HAMPTON, VA. — “The Navy took risk in many of its destroyer fleet’s mission sets during a period of uncontested operations at sea, and U.S. Fleet Forces Command has now been tasked with regaining sea control and all-domain access.

Fleet Forces Commander Adm. Phil Davidson said Tuesday at the American Society of Naval Engineers’ annual Fleet Maintenance and Modernization Symposium that strategy documents around the 2006 timeframe called for ships disaggregating and operating independently in an uncontested maritime environment. As a result, “we fundamentally decided to take risk on one of our main missions (sea control), and that risk was taken in order to source new missions.”

The Navy reduced destroyer crew sizes and instead devoted personnel to expand the explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) and Seabees communities, take on new riverine and harbor patrol missions, and create a cyber force.”

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