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Monday, April 25, 2011

Military Construction: Analysis of the President’s FY2012 Appropriations Request

Daniel H. Else
Specialist in National Defense

President Barack Obama submitted his Fiscal Year (FY) 2012 request for appropriations to Congress on Monday, February 14, 2012. At the time, the federal government was operating under the fourth FY2011 continuing appropriation. Congress is currently considering H.R. 1473, the eighth continuing appropriation.

This report explains those government activities funded under the military construction appropriation, examines trends in military construction funding over the past few years, and outlines military construction issues extant in each of the major regions of U.S. military activity.

As shown in Table 1, the President’s current request for military construction appropriations is reduced by approximately $9.9 billion below the amount enacted for FY2010 and $5.2 billion below what he requested for FY2011. The largest portion of those reductions comes from the military base closure accounts. Initiated in late 2005 with the approval of a list of recommendations for base realignment and closure (BRAC) actions, the 2005 BRAC round is expected to conclude in September 2011. The funding needed in FY2010 and FY2011 for construction and movement of organizations will not be necessary in FY2012 and subsequent years. In addition, the President is requesting less in regular military construction for FY2012 than he did for either FY2010 or FY2011. Finally, funding for construction supporting Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO, or active military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan), for which $1.4 billion was appropriated in FY2010 and $1.3 billion was requested for FY2011, has been virtually eliminated, with only $80 million in the regular FY2012 appropriation requested for construction at Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan.

Construction issues within the United States center on the relocations associated with the BRAC movements, the proposed transfer of a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier from Norfolk, VA, to Mayport, FL, and the disestablishment of two major military commands, Joint Forces Command (JFCOM) and the Navy’s Second Fleet (2FLT), both located in the Tidewater region of Virginia.

In the Pacific region, the topics of major interest include planned relocations of U.S. Marine forces within the Japanese Prefecture of Okinawa and from Okinawa to the U.S. Territory of Guam, movement of U.S. garrisons in the Republic of Korea to new concentrations south of the capital of Seoul, and the normalization of duty for servicemembers stationed there, which will lengthen their tours and will bring many more military families to Korea.

Troops are also moving within Europe and redeploying to the United States. Active duty military personnel stationed in Europe now number only one-quarter of the force present in 1980, and garrisons in Germany are being concentrated into two large military communities in the south. At least one major combat formation scheduled to move to the United States during the past few years has been retained at its garrison in Germany pending a military basing review.

Military responsibility for Africa has been placed under a new Africa Command (AFRICOM). Though headquartered in Germany, AFRICOM does have one enduring military garrison site on the continent, at Camp Lemonier, Djibouti. Construction at that site continues to be of interest to Congress. Press accounts have indicated that a new permanent home for AFRICOM headquarters might be located in southeastern Virginia.

Southwest Asia, the area of responsibility for U.S. Central Command, has seen ongoing military operations for almost a decade. Since FY2004, Congress has given DOD special authority to use some operations and maintenance funds for military construction outside of the normal appropriations process. That authority was extended into FY2011. Funds for military construction had been provided through special emergency supplemental appropriations, but beginning in FY2010, these funds were folded into the base budget—though still categorized separately from normal construction requests. Funding for military construction in support of operations in Central Command has fallen precipitously with the FY2012 request.

Date of Report: April 14, 2011
Number of Pages: 21
Order Number: R41653
Price: $29.95

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