US DoD Budget Assessment Recognizes a New Administration with New Priorities

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The United States (U.S.) Department of Defense (DoD) spend is expected to increase each year through 2022 to meet the simultaneous goals of maintenance, modernization and increasing capabilities. These increases will come with lower margins for prime contractors, but firmer schedules for major production and service programs. Renewed emphasis has been placed on improving program, financial and administrative efficiencies, and eliminating or reforming procurement programs that are overlapping or inefficient and have technology areas that “crosscut,” or can be applied by multiple agencies.

Frost & Sullivan’s research, “U.S. DoD Budget Assessment, 2018–2022,” finds that the 2018 U.S. DoD budget requested an increase of $52 billion, or 9%, over the 2017 budget. The study highlights some of the projects and programs that offer the best opportunities for growth and penetration into the U.S. DoD market. Budget spending plans for the U.S. Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, and joint services are assessed with categories including research, development, testing, and evaluation (RDTE); procurement; operations and maintenance (O&M); and services evaluated.

“More aggressive combat actions against ISIS and other terrorist and insurgent group activity drive improvements and upgrades for C4ISR, targeting, and international partner collaboration tools, especially in the Middle East and Africa,” said Aerospace & Defense Principal Analyst Brad Curran. “Nations such as Russia and China have renewed their “Cold War”-type military deployments, while North Korea and Iran are improving their long-range missile capability. This drives the U.S. and regional allies such as Germany, Japan, and South Korea to increase the effectiveness of current and new-build platforms, weapons and C4ISR, as well as ensure interoperability with U.S. forces.”

Further U.S. DoD 2018 budget findings include:

  • Significant increase in O&M and RDT&E requests;
  • $35.8 billion in new prime contracts awarded to Lockheed Martin;
  • The largest share of funding has been awarded to the Air Force;
  • Operational priorities include missile defense systems, special forces, secure computer networks, and the development of hypersonic and laser weapons;
  • Increase in classified programs budget; and
  • Demand for mature, commercial off-the-shelf-based mobile information technology and applications to enable sensor networks and collaborative targeting.

“DoD technologies are driven by the need to improve the maintenance of existing platforms and simultaneously make incremental upgrades to improve combat capabilities as well as remain effective while under electronic and cyber-attack,” noted Curran. “The high average age of most aircraft, ship, ground vehicle platforms and C4ISR systems makes modification and modernizing a priority. Product providers should look toward offering innovative products in these sectors to garner opportunities.”

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