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Friday, December 3, 2010

Defense: FY2011 Authorization and Appropriations

Pat Towell, Coordinator
Specialist in U.S. Defense Policy and Budget

The President’s FY2011 budget request, released February 1, 2010, included $733.3 billion in new budget authority for national defense. In addition to $548.9 billion for the regular (non-war) operations of the Department of Defense (DOD), the request included $159.3 billion for ongoing military operations, primarily funding the campaigns in Afghanistan and Iraq, bringing the total DOD request for FY2011 to $708.3 billion. The balance of the national defense request amounts to $25.1 billion for defense-related activities by agencies other than DOD.

The President also requested supplemental appropriations for FY2010 totaling $33.6 billion. This included $33.0 billion for war costs and $655 million to pay DOD’s share of the cost of humanitarian relief operations in Haiti, struck on January 12, 2010, by a devastating earthquake.

The $548.9 billion requested for DOD’s so-called “base budget”—that is, all activities other than war costs—is $18.2 billion higher than the amount appropriated for DOD non-war costs in FY2010. By DOD’s estimate, this 3.4% increase would amount to a “real” increase of 1.8% in “purchasing power, after taking into account the cost of inflation. The budget request would continue the Administration’s policy of increasing the share of DOD’s budget invested in capabilities for counterinsurgency and other unconventional types of combat, including helicopters, special operations forces, and unmanned vehicles.

The budget includes no funding to continue production of the C-17 cargo plane or to continue development of the F-136 alternate engine for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, two programs Congress has funded in recent years over the objections of the Bush and Obama Administrations.

On May 28, 2010, the House passed H.R. 5136, the National Defense Authorization Act for FY2011. As reported by the committee (H.Rept. 111-491), the bill would authorize $725.9 billion for DOD and other defense-related activities, a reduction of $2.7 million from the Administration’s request for programs covered by that legislation. The House bill would add to the budget $485 million to continue development of the alternate engine for the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF), despite warnings by Defense Secretary Robert H. Gates that he would recommend a veto of any bill that would continue that project. The bill included no funds for the procurement of additional C-17s. An amendment adopted by the House would repeal a 1993 law that, in effect, bars from military service those who are openly homosexual.

On June 4, 2010, the Senate Armed Services Committee reported its version of the FY2011 National Defense Authorization Act (S. 3454; S.Rept. 111-201), which would authorize $725.7 billion for DOD and other defense-related activities, a reduction of $240.7 million from the Administration’s request. The committee bill would repeal the “don’t ask, don’t tell” law and it would not add funds for either the JSF alternate engine or the C-17.

In July, the House and Senate Appropriations Committees each set funding ceilings for their respective Defense subcommittees that would cut the requested FY2011 DOD base budget by $7 billion in the case of the House and by $8.1 billion in case of the Senate. Each Defense Subcommittee complied with the required reduction in the base budget request. On July 27, 2010, the House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee approved a draft FY2011 DOD Appropriations bill that would provide $513.3 billion for the base budget, a reduction of $7 billion. The full Senate Appropriations Committee approved September 16 a draft FY2011 DOD bill that would provide $512.2 billion for the base budget, a reduction of $8.1 billion.

Date of Report: November 23, 2010
Number of Pages: 92
Order Number: R41254
Price: $29.95

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