This issue marks a transition for For Your Situational Awareness (FYSA). The International Security Program (ISP) began this publication in November 2013 as a way to highlight the work of our many talented scholars. FYSA will continue to publish pieces that cross these and other lines of research underway in ISP, but beginning in March, we will focus this site on the work of our talented junior staff: ISP’s research assistants, research associates, interns, and visiting fellows.
Since 2008, the Department of Defense’s (DoD) contracting portfolio has faced significant resource pressures, as a result of the ongoing budget drawdown, sequestration, and its aftermath. With FY2015 contract data now available through the Federal Procurement Data System (FPDS), CSIS has begun to examine whether the trends observed in the first two years of the post-sequestration defense contracting environment would continue to hold. For the Army, at least, the data shows a notable slowing of the decline in contract obligations in 2015.
It comes in many forms: sequester, sequestration, and (my personal favorite) sequestrable—as in “sequestrable budgetary resources.” Whether used as a noun, verb, or adjective, the “s” word has in many ways become synonymous with its four-letter counterpart, meaning something vulgar, offensive, and detestable. Everyone dislikes the “s” word, and for good reason. But I am increasingly dismayed at how the “s” word gets thrown around carelessly by senior policymakers as a way of avoiding a more difficult discussion.
Perhaps contrary to expectations, there exists broad bipartisan agreement on the need for a “safe, secure, and effective” nuclear arsenal that meets a new and uncertain twenty-first-century security environment. While the means and the affordability of modernization remain under debate, both the Obama administration and Congress have expressed a clear intent to strengthen human capital development throughout the nuclear enterprise and to invest the necessary resources to support and maintain the nuclear arsenal, its delivery systems, and infrastructure in the coming decades.