Pentagon spokesmen’s recent allusions to possible delays in the fiscal 2014 defense budget have added to the fog of uncertainty surrounding planning for the government’s largest spending category, according to analysts.
Defense Department Comptroller Robert Hale on Monday told a panel discussion at the Brookings Institution that “some delay is almost inevitable” given the changes in deadlines and spending cuts under a possible sequestration made through the American Taxpayer Relief Act that Congress passed New Year’s Day. “We are transmitting to the Office of Management and Budget right now,” Hale said. Any delay in the traditional early February budget release “will be OMB’s call.”
On Jan. 3 Pentagon spokesman George Little told reporters, “I think we could submit a budget in February. I’m not ruling that out. But we need to define what the timeline is in the coming days and weeks.” He added that “this is what happens when you don’t have a rational debate on the federal budget.”