The White House today published President Obama's proposal for the 2014 federal budget, and amid spending cuts across various departments, one area stands out: the President's budget calls for $526.6 billion in defense spending, down $3.9 billion from the year before. Spending on drones by all branches of the military is down by exactly $1.3 billion from the year before, to $2.5 billion for 2014. Among the cuts proposed for the Department of Defense's budget are a "termination" of new orders of Global Hawk reconnaissance drones used by the Air Force, which should save $324 million.
Over at Danger Room, Spencer Ackerman points out that the decline in drone spending is a trend that's been going on for actually the past several years, highlighting how the Air Force cut its purchase of new armed Reaper drones in half to 24 last year and proposing another halving this time around, to 12 new models. Ackerman also runs down the list of drops in other drone orders from the various branches for 2014. Still, the news that the Pentagon is slowing down its acquisition of new unmanned aerial vehicles doesn't mean that it won't continue to lean on the arsenal it already has, meaning that even with less new hardware, the death toll from drone strikes is likely to continue to rise.