This is becoming a bad habit, I’ve noticed before that the Pentagon has an affinity for putting critical budget items into supplemental requests as some kind of afterthought, but Defense Tech points out that apparently the new trick is to inflate the yearly budget by putting popular items into supplementals as well:
Last month, the Bush administration announced that, in the Pentagon’s 2006 budget, there would a big bump in the so-called “death benefit” for military families. If a soldier was killed in war, administration officials promised, his loved ones would get a $100,000 lump sum — up from just $12,420 — plus an extra $150,000 in life insurance payouts. It seemed like a great idea. Everybody cheered.
But then, something curious happened. Or rather, didn’t happen. The Pentagon never included the money for a bigger death benefit in its budget. So now, the Army has gone to Congress, asking for an extra $348 million to keep the administration’s word.
The money is part is a larger, $4.8 billion package of Army “FY06 Shortfalls and Requested Legislative Authorities” — programs that the service’s chiefs felt should have received more money from the Pentagon budgeteers. Every year, the Army, Navy, and Air Force appeal directly to Congress to infuse these programs with more cash. This year’s Army list also includes $443 million for more M16s and other small arms and $227 million for night vision equipment, Inside Defense notes.
Like I said before, Congress needs to find a way to keep the Pentagon budgeteering in check before they start shaving stuff like payroll funding from the budget proposals or just spending that money outright and asking for supplementals to cover it later. You know this kind of budget juggling is only going to get worse the more they find they can get away with it.