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Monday, October 31, 2011

Defense: FY2012 Budget Request, Authorization and Appropriations

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

President Obama’s FY2012 budget request, sent to Congress on February 14, 2011, included $670.9 billion in discretionary budget authority for the Department of Defense (DOD), of which $553.1 billion was for the so-called “base budget” of the department, that is the cost of routine, peacetime operations not counting the cost of ongoing operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. The remaining $117.8 billion in the DOD budget request was to cover the cost of so-called “overseas contingency operations (OCO),” including operations in those two countries.

However, the Budget Control Act (BCA) enacted in early August set ceilings on FY2012 discretionary budget authority that would require a reduction of $35.7 billion from the total amount the Administration had requested for so-called “security agencies” – a category that includes the DOD base budget, the Departments of Veterans Affairs and Homeland Security, and the Energy Department’s Nuclear National Security Agency, as well as the Department of State and various international activities funded by other federal agencies. The DOD base budget accounts for 76.9 percent of the security agencies’ funding. So, if the base budget were to absorb that share of the security agencies’ reduction (which is not required by the BCA), appropriations for the FY2012 DOD base budget would be at least $27.2 billion below the amount requested.

Before the BCA was enacted, however, the House had passed its version of the FY2012 National Defense Authorization Act (H.R. 1540), which would authorize $1.8 billion more than was requested for DOD in February. The bill was passed on May 26, 2011, by a vote of 322-96 after a floor debate highlighted by a relatively narrow vote (204-215) to reject an amendment by Representative McGovern that would have required the President to send Congress an accelerated plan for handing over security operations in Afghanistan to the government of that country. The Senate Armed Services Committee reported on June 22, 2011 its version of the authorization act (S. 1253) which would authorize $6.4 billion less that the Administration requested for FY2012, of which $5.9 billion would be cut from the base budget.

The version of the FY2012 DOD appropriations act (H.R. 2219) passed by the House on June 14, 2011, would reduce the President’s requested base budget by $8.9 billion. However, the bill would provide $842 million more than the President’s $117.8 billion OCO request. Thus the net reduction to the President’s request for H.R. 2219 as passed by the House would be $8.1 billion.

The Administration’s $14.8 billion request for FY2012 military construction appropriations is funded in a companion bill, H.R. 2025. See CRS Report R41939, Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies: FY2012 Appropriations, coordinated by Daniel H. Else.

The Senate Appropriations Committee reported on September 15, 2011, an amended version of H.R. 2219, the FY2012 DOD bill, which would provide $620.2 billion for DOD in FY2012, $29.39 billion less than the President requested for programs funded by this bill. Of the $29.13 billion by which the bill would reduce funding for the base budget, $9.9 billion was shifted into the part of the bill that funds OCO, where it would fund the activities for which it had been requested in the first place, principally operation and maintenance activities and a few procurement programs, notably including the purchase of three types of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). Those funds shifted by the committee from the base budget into the OCO budget would offset funds the committee had cut from the OCO budget request, including $5.0 billion that was cut because of President Obama’s announcement on June 22, 2011 that the number of U.S. troops in Afghanistan would be reduced by 33,000 by the end of FY2012.



Date of Report: October
19, 2011
Number of Pages:
83
Order Number: R41
861
Price: $29.95

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Friday, October 28, 2011

Navy LPD-17 Amphibious Ship Procurement: Background, Issues, and Options for Congress


Ronald O'Rourke
Specialist in Naval Affairs

The Navy’s proposed FY2012 budget requests funding for the procurement of an 11th San Antonio (LPD-17) class amphibious ship. The Navy intends this ship to be the final ship in the class. The ship has received $184.0 million in prior-year advance procurement (AP) funding, and the Navy’s proposed FY2012 budget requests the remaining $1,847.4 million needed to complete the ship’s estimated procurement cost of $2,031.4 million.

The Navy plans to begin procuring a new class of amphibious ship called the LSD(X) in FY2017. Some observers have suggested using the LPD-17 design as the basis for the LSD(X). Navy officials do not stress this option and instead appear more interested in developing an all-new design for the LSD(X). If a decision were made to use the LPD-17 design as the basis for the LSD(X), then procuring a 12th LPD-17 in FY2014 or FY2015 would help keep the LPD-17 production line open until the procurement of the first LSD(X) in FY2017, which in turn might help reduce LSD(X) production costs.

Issues for Congress include whether to approve, reject, or modify the Navy’s proposed funding request for the 11th LPD-17, whether to encourage or direct the Navy to use the LPD-17 design as the basis for the design of the LSD(X), and—particularly if the LPD-17 design is used as the basis for the LSD(X)—whether to fund the procurement of a 12th LPD-17 in FY2014 or FY2015.



Date of Report: October 18, 2011
Number of Pages: 62
Order Number: RL34476
Price: $29.95

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Coast Guard Polar Icebreaker Modernization: Background, Issues, and Options for Congress


Ronald O'Rourke
Specialist in Naval Affairs

Coast Guard polar icebreakers perform a variety of missions supporting U.S. interests in polar regions. The Coast Guard’s two heavy polar icebreakers—Polar Star and Polar Sea—have exceeded their intended 30-year service lives, and neither is currently in operational condition. The Polar Star was placed in caretaker status on July 1, 2006. Congress in FY2009 and FY2010 provided funding to repair Polar Star and return it to service for 7 to 10 years; the Coast Guard expects the reactivation project to be completed in December 2012. On June 25, 2010, the Coast Guard announced that Polar Sea had suffered an unexpected engine casualty; the ship has been unavailable for operation since then. The Coast Guard placed Polar Sea in commissioned, inactive status on October 14, 2011.

The Coast Guard’s third polar icebreaker—Healy—entered service in 2000. Compared to Polar Star and Polar Sea, Healy has less icebreaking capability (it is considered a medium polar icebreaker), but more capability for supporting scientific research. The ship is used primarily for supporting scientific research in the Arctic.

The Coast Guard’s FY2012 budget proposes decommissioning Polar Sea in FY2011 and transitioning its crew to the reactivated Polar Star. The resulting U.S. polar icebreaking fleet would consist of one heavy polar icebreaker (Polar Star) and one medium polar icebreaker (Healy). The Coast Guard is transferring certain major equipment from Polar Sea to Polar Star to facilitate Polar Star’s return to service.

In July 2011, the Coast Guard provided to Congress a study on the Coast Guard’s missions and capabilities for operations in high-latitude (i.e., polar) areas. The study, commonly known as the High Latitude Study and dated July 2010 on its cover, concluded the following: “The Coast Guard requires three heavy and three medium icebreakers to fulfill its statutory missions. The Coast Guard requires six heavy and four medium icebreakers to fulfill its statutory missions and maintain the continuous presence requirements of the [2010] Naval Operations Concept. Applying non-material alternatives for crewing and homeporting reduces the overall requirement to four heavy and two medium icebreakers.”

Following any decision to design and build one or more new polar icebreakers, the first replacement polar icebreaker might enter service in 8 to 10 years. The Coast Guard estimated in February 2008 that new replacement ships might cost $800 million to $925 million each in 2008 dollars, and that the alternative of extending the service lives of Polar Sea and Polar Star for 25 years might cost about $400 million per ship. In August 2010, the Commandant of the Coast Guard, Admiral Robert Papp, reportedly estimated the cost of extending their lives at about $500 million per ship.

Potential issues for Congress regarding Coast Guard polar icebreaker modernization include the potential impact on U.S. polar missions of the United States currently having no operational heavy polar icebreakers; the absence of an announced firm acquisition plan for replacing Polar Star upon completion of its 7- to 10-year post-reactivation service life; the disposition of Polar Sea; the numbers and capabilities of polar icebreakers the Coast Guard will need in the future; whether to provide these icebreakers through construction of new ships or service life extensions of existing polar icebreakers; and whether new ships should be funded entirely in the Coast Guard budget, or partly or entirely in some other part of the federal budget, such as the Department of Defense (DOD) budget, the National Science Foundation (NSF) budget, or both.



Date of Report: October
19, 2011
Number of Pages:
59
Order Number: R
L34391
Price: $29.95

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Reauthorizing the Office of National Drug Control Policy: Issues for Consideration


Lisa N. Sacco
Analyst in Illicit Drugs/Crime Policy

Kristin M. Finklea
Analyst in Domestic Security


The Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) is located in the Executive Office of the President and has the responsibility for creating policies, priorities, and objectives for the federal Drug Control Program. This national program is aimed at reducing the use, manufacturing, and trafficking of illicit drugs and the reduction of drug-related crime and violence and of drugrelated health consequences. The director of ONDCP has primary responsibilities of developing a comprehensive National Drug Control Strategy (Strategy) to direct the nation’s anti-drug efforts; developing a National Drug Control Budget (Budget) to implement the National Drug Control Strategy, including determining the adequacy of the drug control budgets submitted by contributing federal Drug Control Program agencies; and evaluating the effectiveness of the National Drug Control Strategy implementation by the various agencies contributing to the Drug Control Program. Authorization for ONDCP expired at the end of FY2010, but it has continued to receive appropriations. Congress, while continuously charged with ONDCP’s oversight, is now faced with its possible reauthorization.

In May 2009, Director R. Gil Kerlikowske called for an end to use of the term “war on drugs.” This is in part because while drug use was previously considered a law enforcement or criminal justice problem, it has transitioned to being viewed more as a public health problem. Indeed, the Obama Administration has indicated that a comprehensive strategy should include a range of prevention, treatment, and law enforcement elements. The 2011 National Drug Control Strategy outlines seven specific objectives—ranging from reducing the prevalence of youth engaged in illegal drug use to reducing the number of drug-related deaths—aimed at reducing both illicit drug use and its consequences.

In creating the National Drug Control Strategy, ONDCP consults with the various federal Drug Control Program agencies. ONDCP then reviews their respective drug budgets and incorporates them into the National Drug Control Budget, which is submitted to Congress as part of the annual appropriations process. As requested by Congress in the ONDCP Reauthorization Act of 2006 (P.L. 109-469), the FY2012 budget has been restructured, incorporating the activities and budgets of 19 additional federal agencies/programs, to reflect a more complete range of federal drug control spending. In the FY2012 Budget, there are five priorities for which resources are requested across agencies: substance abuse prevention and substance abuse treatment (both of which are considered demand-reduction areas), and drug interdiction, domestic law enforcement, and international partnerships (the three of which are considered supply-reduction areas). The FY2012 Budget proposes to use 59.3% of the funds ($15.545 billion) for supply-side functions and 40.7% of the funds ($10.665 billion) for demand-side functions. Federal drug control activities were funded at $25.732 billion for FY2011 (P.L. 112-10).

In considering ONDCP’s reauthorization, there are several issues on which policymakers may deliberate. Congress may consider whether to authorize specific supply-reduction or demandreduction programs. Congress may also exercise oversight regarding ONDCP’s implementation of evidenced-based activities. Another issue that might be debated is whether the revised FY2012 Budget captures the full scope of the nation’s anti-drug activities. Further, ONDCP has created a new Performance Reporting System (PRS) to evaluate annual progress toward each of the Drug Control Program’s strategic goals. Congress may exercise oversight regarding the new PRS.



Date of Report: October 2
0, 2011
Number of Pages:
15
Order Number: R4
1535
Price: $29.95

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Navy Ohio Replacement (SSBN[X]) Ballistic Missile Submarine Program: Background and Issues for Congress


Ronald O'Rourke
Specialist in Naval Affairs

The Navy is conducting development and design work on a planned class of 12 next-generation ballistic missile submarines, or SSBN(X)s, which the service wants to procure as replacements for the 14 Ohio-class boats. The SSBN(X) program is also known as the Ohio replacement program (ORP). The Navy’s proposed FY2012 budget requests $1,067 million in research and development funding for the program. Navy plans call for procuring the first SSBN(X) in FY2019, with advance procurement funding for the boat beginning in FY2015.

The Navy estimates the average procurement cost of boats 2 through 12 in the program at $5.6 billion each in FY2010 dollars, and is now working to reduce that figure to a target of $4.9 billion each in FY2010 dollars. Even with this cost-reduction effort, some observers are concerned that procuring 12 SSBN(X)s during the 15-year period FY2019-FY2033, as called for in Navy plans, could lead to reductions in procurement rates for other types of Navy ships during those years.

Potential oversight issues for Congress for the SSBN(X) program include the following:

         the plan to design the SSBN(X) with 16 SLBM tubes rather than 20; 
         the plan to procure 12 SSBN(X)s rather than 13 or 14; 
         the likelihood that the Navy will be able to reduce the average procurement cost of boats 2-12 in the program to the target figure of $4.9 billion each in FY2010 dollars; 
         the accuracy of the Navy’s estimate of the procurement cost of each SSBN(X); 
         the prospective affordability of the SSBN(X) program and its potential impact on other Navy shipbuilding programs; 
         where in the budget to fund the program’s detailed design/nonrecurring engineering (DD/NRE costs); and 
         the question of which shipyard or shipyards will build SSBN(X)s.
Options for reducing the cost of the SSBN(X) program or its potential impact on other Navy shipbuilding programs (other than the Navy’s current cost-reduction effort) include procuring fewer than 12 SSBN(X)s; reducing the number of submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs) to be carried by each SSBN(X) from 16 to a lower number, such as 12; stretching out the schedule for procuring SSBN(X)s and making greater use of split funding (i.e., two-year incremental funding) in procuring them; and funding the procurement of SSBN(X)s in a part of the Department of Defense (DOD) budget that is outside the Navy’s budget.

On September 1, 2011, it was reported that the Navy, in response to anticipated reductions in planned levels of defense spending, is considering the option of reducing the planned number of SSBN(X)s from 12 to 10 and deferring the start of SSBN(X) procurement.

This report focuses on the SSBN(X) as a Navy shipbuilding program. CRS Report RL33640, U.S. Strategic Nuclear Forces: Background, Developments, and Issues, by Amy F. Woolf, discusses the SSBN(X) as an element of future U.S. strategic nuclear forces in the context of strategic nuclear arms control agreements.



Date of Report: October 21, 2011
Number of Pages: 45
Order Number: R41129
Price: $29.95

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