Here’s Why the Pentagon Is Facing $20 Billion in Extra Cuts Next Year

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Earlier today I passed along the news that the Pentagon is facing some extra big cuts next year under the terms of the sequester. But why? Via Twitter, Matt Glassman explains: “The 2011 BCA sets up different def of ‘security spending’ for FY12/13 and for FY14+, result is up % DoD cuts.”

Aha! The Congressional Research Service explains further:

For FY2012 and FY2013, the spending limits were divided into “security” and “nonsecurity” categories, with security defined broadly to include the Departments of Veterans Affairs (VA), Homeland Security (DHS), and State, in addition to the Department of Defense….However, [after 2013] these terms are redefined, so that “security” consists only of budget function 050 (effectively, the Department of Defense), and “nonsecurity” includes all other government spending (including the VA, DHS, and State). The distinction between security and nonsecurity (as redefined) remains for each of FY2014-FY2021.

So there’s your answer. In the 2013 sequester, “security” was trimmed about $55 billion in annual terms, but some of that went to cuts at the VA, DHS, and State. In 2014, the entire $55 billion gets taken from the Pentagon budget. Apparently that adds up to about $20 billion more in pure defense cuts.

Just thought you’d like to know.

UPDATE: It turns out this is wrong. The real story is here.

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