by Travis Sharp
During the week of March 30, both the House and Senate will consider their respective versions of the fiscal year (FY) 2010 Budget Resolution. The annual Budget Resolution is not submitted to the President for signature and does not have the force of law. It does serve as a blueprint for later congressional action, however, and establishes overall spending levels for congressional appropriations committees.
In their mark ups of the FY 2010 Budget Resolution, both the House and Senate Budget Committees provided $686 billion in discretionary budget authority for both the Pentagon and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The $686 billion total breaks down as follows:
- $130 billion for Iraq and Afghanistan, matching the administration request.
- $556 billion for National Defense, matching the administration request (according to the Budget Committees). In federal budgets, the “National Defense” function includes funding for the Department of Defense (DOD), nuclear weapons programs administered by the Department of Energy (DOE), and defense activities administered by agencies other than DOD. The $556 billion total is comprised of $534 billion for DOD and $22 billion for both DOE nuclear weapons programs and miscellaneous defense needs (the precise figure for DOE’s FY 2010 nuclear weapons budget is unknown at this time).
For FY 2009, Congress appropriated approximately $536 billion in discretionary budget authority for National Defense. Thus, without adjusting for inflation, the FY 2010 Budget Resolution provides $20 billion, or 3.7 percent, more funding for National Defense than the enacted FY 2009 budget. After adjusting for inflation, the FY 2010 Budget Resolution provides 1.3 percent more funding for National Defense than the enacted FY 2009 budget.
Since Congress has not yet passed a second war funding supplemental for FY 2009, the FY 2010 Budget Resolution’s overall spending level of $686 billion cannot be compared to FY 2009 at this time.
Assuming both the House and Senate pass their respective versions of the FY 2010 Budget Resolution the week of March 30, a House-Senate conference committee will be convened after the two-week Easter recess to work out differences in the bills. The conference committee then will provide a final version that will return to both the House and Senate for final passage. Once that is accomplished, the Armed Services committees and Defense Appropriations subcommittees in both houses can begin their FY 2010 authorization and appropriations mark ups.
POLICY LANGUAGE – SENATE BUDGET COMMITTEE REPORT
(Language is advisory)
Air Force Tanker – Further postponement of the tanker re-capitalization program will have an adverse effect on our ability to achieve the requirements of the National Military Strategy.
Defense Acquisition Reform – The Obama administration has announced that it will make reform of the acquisition process a top priority in order to get the best possible value for defense spending. The Chairman’s Mark supports that reform effort by including a reserve fund for defense contracting reform. Additionally, the Chairman’s Mark assumes not less than $500 million for the Acquisition Workforce Development Fund, which is already showing great promise as a mechanism for enhancing the capability of the Department of Defense to oversee acquisition programs and get better value for our defense dollar.
POLICY LANGUAGE – HOUSE BUDGET COMMITTEE REPORT
(Language is advisory)
Missile Defense – Ballistic missile defense technologies that are not proven to work through adequate testing and that are not operationally viable should not be deployed, and no funding should be provided for the research or development of space-based interceptors.
Nonproliferation Funding – Cooperative threat reduction and other nonproliferation programs (securing ‘‘loose nukes’’ and other materials used in weapons of mass destruction), which were highlighted as high priorities by the 9/11 Commission, need to be funded at a level that is commensurate with the evolving threat.
Defense Acquisition Reform – To put our defense plans on a sustainable path and to meet our military’s equipment requirements, the resolution affirms the administration’s calls to make acquisition reform a top priority…It is the policy of the resolution that DOD review the role that contractors play in its operations, including the degree to which contractors are performing inherently governmental functions, to ensure it has the most effective mix of government and contracted personnel.
Navy Shipbuilding – The resolution continues to recognize the need for the DOD to develop a shipbuilding plan that is viable in terms of providing an adequate number of ships for the Navy to perform its mission and that is viable in terms of sustaining the industrial base.
“Smart Power” – It is the policy of this resolution that coordination is needed to ensure that all of our agencies involved in our national security work in a complementary way, and that when assessing security threats and the funding needed to counter them, the administration should do so in a comprehensive manner that includes all agencies involved in our national security.