Discretionary Spending

Function 050 - National Defense

Defer Development of the B-21 Bomber

CBO periodically issues a compendium of policy options (called Options for Reducing the Deficit) covering a broad range of issues, as well as separate reports that include options for changing federal tax and spending policies in particular areas. This option appears in one of those publications. The options are derived from many sources and reflect a range of possibilities. For each option, CBO presents an estimate of its effects on the budget but makes no recommendations. Inclusion or exclusion of any particular option does not imply an endorsement or rejection by CBO.

Billions of Dollars 2021 2022 2023 2024 2025 2026 2027 2028 2029 2030 2021–
Change in Planned Defense Spending  
  Budget authority 0 -2.9 -3.8 -5.2 -6.3 -7.3 -6.1 -5.9 -5.7 -5.8 -18.2 -49.0
  Outlays 0 -1.4 -2.4 -2.7 -3.2 -4.2 -5.0 -5.5 -5.7 -5.8 -9.7 -35.9

This option would take effect in October 2021.
Estimates of savings displayed in the table are based on the Department of Defense’s 2021 Future Years Defense Program and the Congressional Budget Office’s extension of that plan.

The Air Force is developing a new bomber—designated the B-21—which it plans to field in the mid- to late 2020s. The Air Force currently operates a fleet of long-range bombers that entered service between the 1960s and 1990s and should be able to continue flying through at least the late 2030s.

This option would defer further development of the B-21 bomber until after 2030.