Feature ArticleUS Government Fiscal Year 2014 Budget
The White House Fiscal Year (FY) 2014 budget was released passed the deadline this year, coming out in April, instead of during the federally mandated first Monday in February. This delay came in the wake of sequestration, which went into effect in March and resulted in across-the-board budget cuts throughout the government.
In contention is how to deal with the U.S. deficit, projected by the Congressional Budget Office to be $845 billion this year. The House of Representatives and the Senate passed their budget bills before the White House released its budget. President Barack Obama's budget can be seen as an attempt to craft a large-scale bargain on the deficit, according to Politico.
Compromise will be hard to come by, however. 'The document headed our way does not appear designed to bridge the differences between the House and Senate-passed budgets,' Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky said in regards to Obama's budget.
Democratic Sen. Patty Murray of Washington expressed hope for a 'balanced and bipartisan deal.' Whether or not that occurs, one certitude remains the troubled financial climate.
Despite federal belt-tightening, however, there are still pockets of opportunity for ocean-related industries. Presented here are the maritime-related portions of the White House's FY 2014 budget.
The budget request for the Department of Defense provides $526.6 billion in discretionary funding for the base budget; a decrease of $3.9 billion, or 0.7 percent, below the 2012 enacted level. Of this, the Navy's base budget is $155.8 billion, comprising $43.5 billion for procurement, $16.0 billion for research and development, $48.5 billion for operations and maintenance, $45.4 billion for military persons and $2.3 billion for infrastructure.
The Navy's procurement funds breakdown is: $14.3 billion for ships, $17.9 billion for aircraft, $3.1 billion for weapons, $1.3 billion for the Marine Corps, $0.6 billion for ammunition and $6.3 billion for other Navy procurement.
The research and development breakdown is: $0.6 billion for basic research, $0.8 billion for applied research, $0.6 billion for advanced technology development, $4.7 billion for advanced component development, $5.0 billion for system development and demonstration, $0.9 billion for management support and $3.4 billion for operational systems development.
The operations and maintenance breakdown is: $11.2 billion for ship operations and maintenance, $8.6 billion for aviation operations and maintenance, $7.5 billion for base operations and support, $6.3 billion for Marine Corps operations and maintenance, $5.5 billion for combat/weapons support, $4.7 billion for service-wide support, $1.8 billion for training and education, $1.8 billion for reserve operations and maintenance, $0.3 billion for environmental restoration and $0.9 billion for mobilization.
New ships would be built from FY 2013 to FY 2018: 10 in FY 2013, 8 in FY 2014, 8 in FY 2015, 7 in FY 2016, 9 in FY 2017 and 9 in FY 2018. The corresponding dollar amounts for new construction totals in those years are: $10.9 billion, $10.9 billion, $14.0 billion, $12.9 billion, $15.3 billion and $17.4 billion, respectively.
Eleven battle-force ships will be retired: seven FFGs (guided missile frigates), one SSN (nuclear attack submarine), one LPD (amphibious transport dock), one MCM (mine countermeasures ship) and one T-AOE (fast combat support ship).
The Navy has funded two nuclear attack submarines and continues to fund research and development for the next ballistic missile submarine.
For FY 2014, NOAA's budget request is $5.4 billion. Of this, the National Ocean Service would get $503.2 million, the National Marine Fisheries Service would get $896.5 million, Oceanic and Atmospheric Research would get $472.4 million, the National Weather Service (NWS) would get $1.1 billion, and the National Environmental Satellite, and Data, and Information Service would get $2.1 billion.
The budget provides $2 billion to support the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite System - R Series (GOES-R), Deep Space Climate Observatory (DSCOVR), Jason-3 satellite, and Joint Polar Satellite System (JPSS) satellites. As compared to the FY 2012 enacted budget, the two major increases are a $339 million increase for GOES-R and a $17 million increase for Jason-3. NOAA's satellites are critical to its ability to provide accurate weather forecasts and warnings that help to protect lives and property.
The budget for JPSS is $824 million. This request reflects a number of changes to the JPSS program, including the technical transfer of $62 million for the Free Flyer-1 mission to a separate budget line called the Polar Free Flyer. In addition, the budget request proposes a transfer of select climate sensors to NASA, refocuses the JPSS program on NOAA's weather mission, and adopts a number of program management and operations efficiencies. These changes are intended to address feedback from Congress and the Independent Review Team over the last year. The goal is to achieve cost savings and efficiencies, while strengthening satellite management and likelihood of mission success. The Commerce Department is in the process of completing an independent cost estimate for JPSS, with options to reduce scope, risk and life-cycle cost.
To simplify NOAA's mission, the budget proposes to transfer to NASA climate sensors originally planned for follow-on missions to JPSS-1 and Free Flyer-1, including the Clouds and Earth Radiant Energy System (CERES), Ozone Mapping and Profiler Suite-Limb (OMPS-Limb) and the Total Solar Irradiance Sensor (TSIS).
The budget includes an increase of $16.9 million for weather research, weather modeling and supercomputing capacity to accelerate advancements in weather forecasting. The budget also supports infrastructure investments to both the NWS Telecommunications Gateway and the Ground Readiness Project to ensure that NOAA is prepared to handle the expected increase in satellite data.
The FY 2014 budget includes $5.5 million for the relocation and facility improvements of four weather forecasting offices to mitigate operational risks and maintain continuity of weather forecast and warning operations.
The budget also includes $1 million in one-time funding for a study investigating options for back-up or follow-on observing and research platforms to the current Hurricane Hunter (P-3) aircrafts that are used for NOAA hurricane research and reconnaissance. Although these aircraft will receive service-life extensions in 2015, they will reach the end of their operational lifetimes by 2030 and 2031.
NASA's budget request for earth science includes $1.8 billion in FY 2014, $1.9 billion in FY 2015, $1.8 billion in FY 2016, $1.8 billion in FY 2017 and $1.8 billion in FY 2018. The activities associated with this funding will include: launches of the Orbiting Carbon Observatory (OCO-2) and the Global Precipitation Measurement Mission (GPM); formulating and developing Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP), Stratospheric Aerosol and Gas Experiment III (SAGE III), Ice, Cloud, and land Elevation Satellite-2 (ICESat-2), Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE)-follow-on, a sustained land imaging capability following Landsat Data Continuity Mission (LDCM) and Orbiting Carbon Observatory 3 (OCO-3) instrument; maintaining weather and climate change modeling capabilities to enhance forecast accuracy; continuing to work with NOAA and the White House's Office of Science and Technology Policy to address approaches for providing sustained space-borne Earth observations; operating more than 15 Earth-observing spacecraft; and maintaining robust research and analysis, airborne science (including IceBridge) and technology development.
U.S. Geological Survey
The FY 2014 budget request for the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) is $1.167 billion, an increase of $98.8 million above the 2012 enacted level.
Funding in the 2014 proposed budget includes an increase of $7.2 million to fund more than 400 streamgages that would enhance the ability to monitor high-priority sites sensitive to drought, flooding, and potential climate change effects.
The budget proposes $2.5 million to improve rapid disaster response, allowing the USGS to better provide timely and effective science to minimize hazard risks to populations and infrastructure. Funding support includes improvements in early warning and scenario products for earthquakes, eruptions of volcanic ash, landslides and debris flows. In addition, an increase of $1.2 million is proposed to expand seismic networks along the Central and Eastern United States and improve the suite of USGS products that provide situational awareness for responders to gauge earthquake impacts and plan response activities.
The FY 2014 budget request includes a total of $67.8 million for the Science for Adapting to a Changing Climate initiative that advances understanding and enhances resilience in the face of changing conditions. Increases in the Climate Research and Development Program will improve understanding of the current and future impacts of climate change and what needs are specific to regional areas.
With Landsat 8 successfully launched in February, the USGS is preparing for the hand over of operational responsibility from NASA and will continue to operate Landsat ground systems for receiving, processing and disseminating the imagery. The USGS will also be working with NASA to analyze user requirements and develop a successor mission to Landsat 8, with timing and configuration designed to minimize the risk of a gap in the unparalleled 41-year historical record of these data. Funding to begin work on the successor mission is provided in the 2014 budget for NASA, which will be responsible for the operation, building and launching of Landsat-class land imaging satellites going forward, in partnership with the USGS.
The USGS component of the Big Earth Data Initiative will support standardizing and optimizing the management of data from Earth observations systems, such as water and wildlife monitoring networks, operated by the Department of the Interior. Increased funding will be provided to begin implementation of the 3D Elevation program, responding to a growing need for high-quality topographic data and a wide range of other 3D representations of natural and constructed features across the U.S. to meet needs such as quantification of flood risk and coastal vulnerability to storms. To continue this article please click here.