May 19, 2015
The House Appropriations Committee today released the subcommittee draft of the fiscal year 2016 Defense Appropriations bill, which will be considered in subcommittee tomorrow. The legislation funds critical national security needs, military operations abroad, and health and quality-of-life programs for the men and women of the Armed Forces and their families.
In total, the bill provides $578.6 billion in discretionary funding, an increase of $24.4 billion above the fiscal year 2015 enacted level and $800 million above the President’s request. This includes $88.4 billion in Global War on Terrorism (GWOT) funding for war efforts and related costs, which is within the level assumed in the House and Senate budget conference agreement.
“Threats to our country and on our people continue to grow, and around the world new areas of concern seem to sprout up almost monthly. It is now more important than ever to provide our troops and commanders with the tools and support they need to protect our great nation and our way of life,” Chairman Hal Rogers said. “This bill makes the most of a very tight budget, utilizing all resources to ensure that our military remains the best in the world, and that they are ready and able to protect all of us from those that wish to do harm.”
“To date, this Subcommittee has worked in a bipartisan fashion to ensure that our armed forces are agile, efficient, ready and lethal,” said Defense Subcommittee Chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen. “This legislation recognizes that it is an increasingly dangerous world and we must guarantee that our military and intelligence community have the strength and capability to meet the rise of Islamic terror groups and other emerging threats and deter would be aggressors like Iran, China, and Russia and North Korea. I am proud that we have kept faith with the brave men and women, and their families, who selflessly serve our country.”
Global War on Terrorism (GWOT) – The legislation provides $88.4 billion for the Global War on Terrorism. This funding will provide the needed resources for the preparation and operation of our forces in the field, including funding for personnel requirements, operational needs, the purchase of new aircraft to replace combat losses, combat vehicle safety modifications, additional Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) assets, and maintenance of facilities and equipment. It also provides critical support to our key allies, such as Ukraine and Jordan, to resist aggression.
Military Personnel and Pay – The legislation includes $133.2 billion – $122.8 billion in base funding and $10.5 billion in GWOT funding – to provide for 1,308,915 active-duty troops and 819,200 Guard and reserve troops. This funding level is $225 million above fiscal year 2015, and provides critical support for the Global War on Terror and the defense of our nation. The bill fully funds the authorized 2.3 percent pay raise for the military, instead of 1.3 percent as requested by the President, and provides funding to maintain 100 percent of troop housing costs through the Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH).
Operation and Maintenance – Included in the legislation is $218.8 billion – $162.3 billion in base funding and $56.5 billion in GWOT funding – for operation and maintenance, $6.2 billion above the fiscal year 2015 enacted level and $2.6 billion above the President’s request. This funding supports key readiness programs to prepare our troops for combat and peacetime missions, including flight time and battle training, equipment and facility maintenance, and base operations. Within this amount, the bill includes an additional $3.2 billion to fill readiness shortfalls, $1.4 billion to invest in facility sustainment, restoration, and modernization programs, and $90 million for depot maintenance programs.
Research and Development – The bill contains $67.9 billion – $66.2 billion in base funding and $1.7 billion in GWOT funding – for research, development, testing, and evaluation of new defense technologies. This is $4 billion above the fiscal year 2015 level, and will help to advance the safety and success of current and future military operations and prepare our nation to meet a broad range of future security threats.
Specifically, this funding will support research and development of: the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter; the GPS III operational control and space segments; the new Air Force bomber program; a next-generation JSTARS aircraft; the RQ-4 Triton Unmanned Aerial Vehicle; the Navy’s Future Unmanned Carrier-based Strike System, the Ohio-class submarine replacement; Stryker lethality; the Israeli Cooperative Programs; and other important research and development activities.
Equipment Procurement – The legislation provides a total of $116.7 billion – $98.6 billion in base funding and $18.1 billion in GWOT funding – for equipment and upgrades. This is $12.5 billion above the fiscal year 2015 enacted level and $3 billion above the President’s request. These funds support our nation’s military readiness by providing the necessary platforms, weapons, and other equipment our military needs to train, maintain the force, and conduct successful operations.
For example, the bill includes: $16.9 billion to procure nine Navy ships, including two DDG-51 guided missile destroyers, and three Littoral Combat Ships; $8.4 billion for 65 F-35 aircraft; $1.2 billion for 64 AH-64 helicopters; $3 billion for 16 P-8A Poseidon aircraft; $1.6 billion for 102 UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters; $2.3 billion for 12 KC-46 tanker aircraft; $660 million for seven EA-18G Growler aircraft; $350 million for 5 FA-18 E/F Super Hornet aircraft; $315 million for Stryker lethality upgrades; and $55 million for the Israeli Cooperative Program Iron Dome.
Defense Health and Military Family Programs – The bill contains $31.7 billion – $667 million below the fiscal year 2015 enacted level and $813 million below the request – for the Defense Health Program to provide care for our troops, military families, and retirees. While below the current year, this level is sufficient to meet the entire scope of all estimated needs and requirements in the next fiscal year.
The bill provides $252 million for cancer research, $105 million for medical facility upgrades, $100 million for traumatic brain injury and psychological health research, $212 million for suicide prevention outreach programs, and $283 million for sexual assault prevention and response. All of these funding levels represent increases above the President’s request for these programs.
Military Force Structure – The bill ensures the A-10 Warthog remains available for close air support, and to ensure that Army National Guard end strength and full-time support levels do not fall below fiscal year 2015 authorized levels. The bill also provides language prohibiting the transfer of AH-64 Apache helicopters from the Army National Guard to the regular Army during fiscal year 2016.
Savings and Reductions to the 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 savings include: $1.15 billion for favorable foreign currency fluctuations, $814 million from lower than expected fuel costs, and $870 million in savings from rescissions of unused prior-year funding.
For text of the legislation, please visit: /UploadedFiles/BILLS-114HR-SC-AP-FY2016-Defense-SubcommitteeDraft.pdf