The House Appropriations Committee today released the subcommittee draft of the fiscal year 2013 Defense Appropriations bill, which will be considered in subcommittee tomorrow. The legislation includes funding for critical national security needs, and provides the resources needed to continue the nation's military efforts abroad. In addition, the bill provides essential funding for health and quality of life programs for the men and women of the Armed Forces and their families.
In total, the bill 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*. In addition, the bill contains $88.5 billion for Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) for Defense activities related to the Global War on Terror.
"The number-one duty of the Congress is to provide adequate and timely funding for our national defense. This legislation funds essential defense activities, both at home and abroad, to keep our nation and its people secure. The bill also ensures our troops and commanders have the tools they need to advance U.S. missions, and to take care of our soldiers when they return home," House Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers said.
"This Subcommittee has worked tirelessly to mitigate risks associated with budget shortfalls in areas such as shipbuilding, force structure, and weapons and facility maintenance. We have worked in a true bipartisan fashion to provide the much-needed resources to modernize and maintain readiness at the levels required to preserve our military's standing as the most capable and superior armed forces in the world. My long-standing commitment has always been that we will not adversely affect any soldier or have an impact on the readiness of our military. We have kept that promise with this bill, fulfilling our obligations to the brave men and women who selflessly serve our country, as well as their families," Defense Subcommittee Chairman C.W. Bill Young said.
Ongoing Military Operations -- The bill contains $88.5 billion -- the same amount requested by the President -- for ongoing military operations in Afghanistan. This is a reduction of $26.6 billion compared to the previous year's level, due to the strategic drawdown of forces overseas. This funding will provide the needed resources for our troops in the field, including funding for personnel requirements, operational needs, the purchase of new aircraft to replace combat losses, combat vehicle safety modifications, and maintenance of facilities and equipment.
Military Personnel and Pay -- 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. This also includes a 1.7% pay raise for the military, which is in-line with pending Defense authorization legislation.
Defense Health and Military Family Programs -- The bill contains $35.1 billion -- $334 million above last year's level and $348 million above the request -- for Defense health and family programs to provide care for our troops, military families, and retirees. Increases above the request include $246 million for cancer research, $245 million for medical facility and equipment upgrades, $125 million for traumatic brain injury and psychological health research, and $20 million for suicide prevention outreach programs. The legislation also includes $2.3 billion for family support and advocacy programs.
Operation and Maintenance -- Included in the legislation is $175.2 billion for operation and maintenance -- $221 million above the request and $12.1 billion above enacted levels. This contains essential funding for key readiness programs to prepare our troops for combat and peace-time missions, flight time and battle training, equipment and facility maintenance, and base operations.
Within this funding, the bill includes $589 million ($850 million bill-wide) to "pause" retirements and reassignments of Guard and Reserve aircraft until Congress and GAO review the cost-benefit analyses of the Air Force's proposal, $133 million ($278 million bill-wide) to maintain the Global Hawk Block 30 aircraft, and $1.5 billion to restore unrealistic cuts to facility sustainment and base operating support.
Research and Development -- The bill contains $70 billion -- $2.4 billion below last year's level and $576 million above the President's request -- for research, development, testing, and evaluation of new defense technologies. This basic and applied research, system development, and testing will help to advance the safety and success of current and future military operations, and will help prepare our nation to meet a broad range of potential future security threats.
The bill funds continued research and development of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, the KC-46A tanker program, the P8-A Poseidon, the new Air Force bomber program, the Broad Area Maritime Surveillance (BAMS) Unmanned Aerial Vehicle, the Navy Unmanned Combat Air Vehicle, the Ohio class submarine replacement, the Army and Marine Corps Joint Light Tactical Vehicle, the Army Ground Combat Vehicle, the Israeli Cooperative Program, and other important development programs.
Equipment Procurement -- The legislation provides a total of $102.5 billion -- $2.1 billion below last year and $875 million above the President's request -- for equipment and upgrades. This funding is necessary to ensure our nation's military readiness and provide the necessary platforms, weapons, and other equipment our forces need to train, maintain military force structure, and conduct successful operations.
For example, the bill includes $15.2 billion to procure 11 Navy ships, including three DDG-51 Destroyers and advance procurement for two SSN-774 Attack Submarines in fiscal year 2014; $5.2 billion for 29 F-35 aircraft; $3.6 billion for 12 E/A-18G Growlers and 37 F/A-18E/F Hornet aircraft, including advance procurement for 15 additional E/A-18G Growlers; $2.5 billion for 69 UH-60 Blackhawk and 42 MH-60S/R helicopters; $2.0 billion for the National Guard and Reserve Equipment Account; $1.7 billion for four Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicles; $1.2 billion for 14 C-130J variants; and $677 million ($792 million bill-wide) to maintain and modernize three Navy cruisers slated for decommissioning.
Guantanamo Bay -- The legislation prohibits funding for transfers of Guantanamo detainees to the U.S. or its territories, prohibits funding to modify any facility in the U.S. to house detainees, and places conditions on the release of detainees to other countries. These provisions are identical to language contained in the fiscal year 2012 Defense Appropriations legislation.
Savings and Reductions to President's Request -- The bill reflects common-sense decisions to save taxpayer dollars where possible, in areas that will not affect the safety or success of our troops and missions. Some of these reductions include: -$2.5 billion in excess carryover funding from the Army Working Capital Fund; -$400 million in savings from the termination of the Medium Extended Air Defense System; -$500 million in savings from Marine Corps Field Logistics due to reduced force levels; and -$1.6 billion in savings from rescissions of unused prior-year funding.