News   Lethality

Norquist: Proposed Budget Drives National Defense Strategy

May 31, 2019 | BY Terri Moon Cronk
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The proposed fiscal year 2020 defense budget drives the Defense Department in the direction of the 2018 National Defense Strategy, said David L. Norquist, the department's comptroller and chief financial officer, who also is performing the duties of the deputy defense secretary.

"The NDS recognizes that we need to focus on the ability to prevail in the high-end fight and function across multiple domains against a near-peer competitor," Norquist told an audience at the Center for a New American Security in Washington yesterday. "And the 2020 defense budget, like the ones that preceded it, builds on that and drives the department in that direction."

Men in suits talk to people out of frame.
Budget Hearing
Acting Defense Secretary Patrick M. Shanahan, left, and Defense Department Comptroller David L. Norquist prepare for a budget hearing with the House Appropriations Committee’s defense subcommittee in Washington, May 1, 2019. Norquist is also performing the duties of the deputy defense secretary.
Photo By: Lisa Ferdinando, DOD
VIRIN: 190501-D-BN624-0035C

The proposed DOD $718 billion budget delivers on the NDS by doing four things, Norquist said:

  • It significantly increases the investments in space and cyberspace as warfighting domains.
  • It makes investments in the air, land and sea domains to modernize the force and includes the largest shipbuilding request in 20 years.
  • It puts emphasis on innovation, such as artificial intelligence, hypersonics and unmanned vehicles.
  • It invests in developing and experimenting with and prototyping to build out and prepare for future conflicts. Norquist said the research and development program has a significant funding increase, which shows the direction and emphasis of the NDS.


"We also sustain and build on readiness improvements," he said. "The 3.1% pay raise for the military is the largest in 10 years and reflects the need to sustain the high-quality force that we've been building up and establishing."

A man speaks to a room of people.
Fireside Chat
David L. Norquist, DOD’s comptroller and chief financial officer, speaks during a fireside chat at the Center for a New American Security in Washington, D.C., May 30, 2019. Norquist is also performing the duties of deputy defense secretary.
Photo By: Army Sgt. Amber I. Smith, DOD
VIRIN: 190530-D-SV709-0025C

Readiness has seen significant improvement among the services since the NDS rollout 18 months ago, Norquist told moderator Susanna Blume, CNAS senior fellow and defense program deputy director.

"We built the strategy with the understanding there would always be challenges other than China and Russia — Iran and others fall into that area," he said.

Unmanned ground vehicle locates explosive ordnance.
Robot Exercise
An ordnance disposal robot takes part in a small field exercise at Camp Lejeune, N.C., May 22, 2019. Marines and sailors were evaluated during a realistic training scenario on the full spectrum of explosive ordnance disposal operations. Research and development of unmanned vehicles such as this one would be increased by the proposed 2020 DOD budget.
Photo By: Marine Corps Cpl. Damion Hatch Jr.
VIRIN: 190522-M-QL150-1118C

Norquist emphasized DOD's ability to realign forces in the middle of the year to a theater to either provide force protection or deterrence as an essential part of the strategy as it drives the budget request. That capability to realign forces without distracting or pulling away from the long-range vision remains, he said.

"So, we're still doing research, technology … all those things continue on the path of the NDS, even as we respond to current events," Norquist noted.

Navy ship refuels.
Boxer Replenishment
The oiler USNS Guadalupe, left, transfers fuel to the amphibious assault ship USS Boxer during a replenishment at sea in the Pacific Ocean, May 28, 2019. The Marines and sailors of the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit are deployed to the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations to support regional stability, reassure partners and allies and maintain a presence postured to respond to any crisis ranging from humanitarian assistance to contingency operations. The fiscal year 2020 budget proposal contains funding for more ships.
Photo By: Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Dalton S. Swanbeck
VIRIN: 190528-M-EC058-0023C

Peace Through Deterrence

DOD knows that when it looks to the future, the stakes are clear, he said.

"If we want peace, our adversaries need to know that there's no path to victory through fighting us," Norquist said. "Military [superiority] is not a given; it's not a birthright.

"We have to pay attention to it in each and every generation, and protect it and build the type of force that will deter conflict," he said. "That's what the NDS does, and that's what the 2020 budget does."