The President’s original budget for 2016 released in February 2015, provided $612 billion in discretionary funding for national defense (including enduring overseas contingency operations costs) – $26 billion (4.5%) above 2015 spending. And then after the threat of another government shutdown, the Bipartisan Budget Agreement was reached on November 2, 2015. The 2016 fiscal year currently in progress now calls for $607 billion in spending ($548 billion in national defense spending, plus another $59 billion in overseas contingency operations funds). Taken together, that’s about $5 billion less than the Obama administration requested for the “national defense” budget function. According to the White House, this will “provide the resources needed to sustain the President’s national security strategy, protecting the country’s security and well-being both at home and abroad.”
With President Barack Obama’s stamp of approval, the Bipartisan Budget Agreement relieved the DoD from the possibility of another sequestration-style cut in its spending plans, partially by raising the mandatory caps in the Budget Control Act and partially by moving some ongoing Defense expenditures into the government’s Overseas Contingency Operations accounts. A detailed assessment of the budget can be found on Medium (see full write-up here).
According to Mike McCord, the Defense Department’s comptroller, “Having some certainty is huge for us. Most of us were surprised that we got an answer early in November, so we still have some time to react and come to some rational decisions about 2016. We thought there was no way we’d get a two-year deal. There’s so much going on in the world, and having a little bit of certainty at least on the top line is, at least, one less thing to figure out. I think we’re now going to have the process we should have. Compared to what I’ve lived with for the past seven years, this is a relatively good situation compared to most of the years we’ve had.” (See more here in an article/interview on Federal News Radio.)
The following areas of emphasis will take place in 2016:
Degrading and Defeating the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) – The Budget provides the necessary resources to degrade and ultimately defeat ISIL, address the ongoing humanitarian crisis in the region, continue efforts to train and equip the Iraqi security forces, support regional partners, and bring stability and promote the conditions for a negotiated settlement to end the conflict in Syria.
Countering Russian Pressure and Aggressive Action Together with our European Allies – In response to the Russian Federation’s aggressive acts, the Budget includes proposals for political, economic, and military support to NATO allies and partner states in Europe, including the government’s most targeted by Russian pressure. This includes funding to support efforts to bolster democracy and good governance, increase the capabilities of security forces, strengthen the rule of law and anti-corruption measures, and promote European Union integration, trade, and energy security.
Promoting Prosperity, Security and Good Governance in Central America – The Budget provides $1 billion to support a long-term, comprehensive strategy for Central America designed to contribute to the evolution of an economically-integrated Central America that is fully democratic, provides greater economic opportunities to its people, promotes more accountable, transparent, and effective public institutions and ensures the safety of its citizens, addressing the challenges that have resulted in an influx of migration from the region.
Protecting our Nation Against Cyber-Attacks – No system is immune to infiltration by those seeking to steal commercial or Government information and property or perpetrate malicious and disruptive activity. The Budget provides $14 billion to support cybersecurity efforts across the Government to strengthen U.S. cybersecurity defenses and make cyberspace more secure, allowing the Government to more rapidly protect American citizens, systems, and information from cyber threats.
Confronting the Threat Posed by Infectious Diseases – The Budget provides resources to support the Global Health Security Agenda, increases funding to eradicate polio and other global health challenges, and creates a new Impact Fund for targeted global HIV/AIDS efforts. Also, the Budget increases funding for domestic preparedness efforts to more effectively and efficiently respond to potential future outbreaks here at home. The Budget also makes investments to address the domestic HIV epidemic to help States develop HIV implementation plans to support the goals of the National HIV/AIDS Strategy.
Combatting Prescription Drug and Heroin Abuse – The Budget includes more than $100 million in new investments across HHS to reduce abuse of prescription opioids and heroin, which together take the lives of 20,000 Americans per year. These new resources will increase funding for every state to expand existing Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs; expand and improve the treatment for people who abuse heroin and prescription opioids; and support dissemination of naloxone, an opioid antagonist that reverses the effects of opioid overdose, by first responders in an effort to prevent overdose deaths in high-risk communities.
Honoring Our Commitment to Veterans – The Budget invests in the five pillars the President has outlined to support our Nation’s veterans: providing the resources and funding they deserve, ensuring high-quality and timely health care, getting veterans their earned benefits quickly and efficiently, ending veteran homelessness, and helping veterans and their families get good jobs, education, and access to affordable housing.
A more comprehensive list of federal contracting opportunities for 2016 can be found on the FedBizOpps website. Or you may want to consider a solution such as Bidspeed or Bloomberg Government to stay up to date with contracting opportunities.