by Laicie Heeley
Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation
On May 17, the House Appropriations Committee approved the fiscal year 2013 Defense Appropriations bill by voice vote.
The bill, which may come up on the House floor the week of July 16, provides $519.2 billion in non-war funding, an increase of $1.1 billion over the fiscal year 2012 level and $3.1 billion above the President’s request. The bill also contains $88.5 billion for Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO), or war funding. This is a reduction of $26.6 billion compared to the previous year’s level, due to the end of the war in Iraq and a drawdown of forces in Afghanistan.
The legislation does not cover military construction or Department of Energy nuclear weapons programs, both which are included in separate appropriations bills.
The Obama administration has threatened to veto the bill because it exceeds the caps mandated by the Budget Control Act (BCA).
“By adding unrequested funding for defense, the House of Representatives departs from the bipartisan understanding reached a year ago,” the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) said in a June 28 statement.
The excessive spending set forth in the House bill is part of a larger budget plan crafted by House Budget Committee Chairman Rep. Paul Ryan. In Ryan’s plan, extra spending on Defense would be paid for by deeper cuts to non-Defense discretionary spending. To pass a defense bill at this level of funding “would mean that when the Congress constructs other appropriations bills, it would necessitate significant and harmful cuts to critical national priorities such as education, research and development, job training, and health care,” says OMB.
In addition, the White House objects to provisions within the bill that would, among other concerns, limit the military’s ability to transfer or retire “unneeded aircraft,” including Northrop Grumman’s RQ-4 Global Hawk; defund MEADS Medium Extended Air Defense System, a joint program with Italy and Germany; and reverse the Pentagon’s proposed TRICARE health care fee hikes.
Committee Recommendations by Major Category
$128,462,794,000 for active, reserve, and National Guard military personnel
$175,159,569,000 for operation and maintenance support
$102,496,191,000 for procurement
$69,984,145,000 for research, development, test and evaluation
$32,862,234,000 for the Defense Health Program
$88,479,906,000 for overseas contingency operations
Weapons Research and Development
The bill includes $70 billion for research, development, test and evaluation. It funds continued research and development of the KC-46A tanker program, the P8-A Poseidon intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft, the Army and Marine Corps Joint Light Tactical Vehicle, and the Army Ground Combat Vehicle, among others.
The bill provides $949 million for the Israeli Cooperative Program, an increase of $849 over the President’s request, and $2.7 billion for the continued development of the F–35 Joint Strike Fighter, a decrease of approximately $17 million below the President’s request. Additionally, the bill includes a $75 million increase for the Ground-Based Midcourse Defense (GMD) ballistic missile defense system, a total of $978 million.
It provides $292 million for the new Air Force long-range bomber program and $565 million for the continuation of the development of the Ohio class submarine replacement, in line with the President’s request.
The bill does not include $100 million in funding for a new missile-defense site on the east coast of the United States that is included in the House version of the fiscal 2013 Defense Authorization bill.
The bill provides a total of $102.5 billion in procurement funding, including an increase of $300 million over the President’s request for Patriot PAC-3 missile defense system, and an increase of $181 million for the procurement of M1A2 SEP upgraded Abrams tanks.
It includes $15.2 billion to procure 11 Navy ships, one above the President’s request, including three DDG-51 Destroyers and two SSN-774 Attack Submarines. In addition, the bill includes $5.2 billion for 29 F-35 aircraft and $3.6 billion for 12 E/A-18G Growlers and 37 F/A-18E/F Hornet aircraft, an increase of approximately $562 million and eleven aircraft over the President’s request.
The bill also provides advance procurement of 15 additional E/A-18G Growlers, and $2.5 billion for 69 UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters and 42 MH-60S/R helicopters. It funds $2.0 billion for the National Guard and Reserve Equipment Account; $1.7 billion for four Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicles; and $1.2 billion for 14 C-130J variants.
The legislation includes $128.5 billion to provide for 1,401,560 active-duty troops and 843,400 reserves. This funding level is $2.6 billion below last year, due to the reduction in troop totals, and includes a 1.7% pay raise for the military.
The bill includes $175.2 billion for operation and maintenance, $221 million above the President’s request and $12.1 billion above enacted levels last year.
The legislation prohibits funding for transfers of Guantanamo detainees to the U.S. or its territories and to modify any facility in the U.S. to house detainees. Additionally, it places conditions on the release of detainees to other countries. Language is identical to that contained in the fiscal 2012 Defense Appropriations legislation.
The House bill contains an amendment requiring that that overseas war (OCO) funding be used only for those activities categorized as Overseas Contingency Operations in the fiscal year 2013 President’s budget request and justifications.