Status of Defense Forces and Five Year Defense Planning and Funding Implications

T-NSIAD-89-29: Published: May 10, 1989. Publicly Released: May 10, 1989.

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GAO discussed the Department of Defense's (DOD) military capability achievements since 1980, current capability deficiencies, and the reality of defense contingency planning. GAO found that: (1) the greatest challenge to DOD is to reduce spending after the largest peacetime defense buildup in history; (2) DOD has had over $2.4 trillion in funding since 1980, but has reduced its 1988 and 1990 Five Year Defense Plan (FYDP) spending by $311 billion; (3) DOD reduced its force structure and maintenance and support without significantly deteriorating its current capability; (4) DOD showed increased personnel quality improvements in its military unit readiness, training activities, and material readiness; (5) although DOD has improved its sustainability, such shortfalls as preferred munitions, prepositioned stocks, and sealift and airlift capabilities still exist; and (6) DOD will have to make difficult choices to maintain the gains, continue force modernization, address deficiencies, and achieve full capability performance from some weapons systems. In addition, GAO found that: (1) FYDP is fiscally unrealistic and has led to program funding instability, and program terminations; (2) over half of the reductions were in procurement and research and development; (3) FYDP for 1990 showed $33 billion in nonprogrammatic reductions from the DOD undistributed contingencies account, including $11.5 billion in reduced pay raises, and may require further reductions; and (4) DOD needs greater stability in defense budgets and national security policy and strategy to guide priorities with fiscal constraints.

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