A comparative analysis of two periods of sustained budget growth and an interceding period of budget decline for the Department of the Navy
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Since 1998, the defense budget has risen steadily but force structure has not. There are fewer ships, aircraft and personnel in the Department of the Navy (DoN) today despite nearly 42% budget growth. This differs markedly from the periods of growth during the late 1970s and early 1980s when force structure increased along with increased Navy budgets. Over the years, plenty of attention has been paid to how much the Department of Defense spends annually in budget allocations and force structure. However, very little attention has been given to the area of increasing budgets with decreasing force structure. One barrier to such an investigation of increasing budgets and decreasing force structures is a consistent method by which analysts and policy makers may compare budget and force structure changes (growth and decline) longitudinally. This study introduces a baseline of historical and contextual information for defense leaders who are concerned about a likely decline in their budget. This study also introduces an analysis and comparison of budget and force structure data over time to assist policy makers in their analysis and decisionmaking process when evaluating and developing budgets. The purpose of this project is to conduct a comparative analysis of the last two periods of sustained budget growth and its interceding period of decline for the Department of the Navy, describe corresponding changes in force structure, and propose possible explanations. Finally, this paper provides specific recommendations for areas of future research.
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