A ‘primer’ on U.S. military force structure

The U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) is the world’s largest organization. So, examining the defense budget has got to be pretty daunting. The enormity and complexity of the U.S. military makes it difficult to crunch the numbers needed to organize, train, and equip a ready military.

Article I, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution confers Congress with broad powers over the armed forces. As a part of that authority, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) is mandated to provide objective, impartial analysis of government-wide spending, including that of the DoD. To that end, the CBO’s The U.S. Military’s Force Structure: A Primer is now available through GPO.

052-070-07701-8Each year, Congress passes the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). This report looks at how the DoD allocates nearly $400 billion of that spending bill on day-to-day “operation and support” of military units—pretty much anything that “produces, sustains, and supports combat units.” In other words, the “force structure.”

This primer breaks down “the budgetary effects of altering the force structure.” Because of spending controls and budget cuts, policymakers tasked with trimming the force structure can get a better understanding the trade-offs associated with each choice.

military-force-002CBO factors in the costs and structure of Army brigade combat teams, Navy battle force ships, Marine air-ground task forces, Air Force fixed-wing aircraft squadrons, and defense-wide organizations that provide centralized assistance for each service. It even looks at how major combat units have been utilized in past conflicts.

Every fiscal year, lawmakers decide the appropriate size of the military—for example, what major combat units or weapon systems to add or eliminate. A well-designed defense budget directly affects military readiness. CBO’s The U.S. Military’s Force Structure: A Primer is a timely reference for making those important decisions.


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About the author: Blogger contributor Chelsea Milko is a Public Relations Specialist in GPO’s Public Relations Office.

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