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Monday, July 30, 2012

Defense: FY2013 Authorization and Appropriations

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

President Obama’s $613.9 billion FY2013 budget request for the Department of Defense (DOD) is $31.8 billion less than was appropriated for the agency in FY2012. The end of U.S. combat in Iraq and the declining tempo of operations in Afghanistan account for the bulk of the overall reduction: The budget request for Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO)—DOD activities in those two countries—is $88.5 billion, which is $26.6 billion less than was provided for those operations in FY2012.

However, the Administration’s $525.4 billion request for DOD’s so-called “base budget”—funds for all DOD activities other than OCO—is $5.2 billion less than was provided for FY2012 and $45.3 billion less than the FY2013 base budget the Administration had projected a year earlier, in February of 2011. The proposed reduction in the base budget—and planned reductions of more than $50 billion per year through FY2021, compared with the FY2011 projection—reflects the Administration’ s effort to reduce federal spending as required by the Budget Control Act (BCA) of 2011, enacted on August 2, 2011 (P.L. 112-25). All told, the Obama Administration’s current projection would reduce DOD budgets by $486.9 billion over a 10-year period (FY2012- FY2021), compared with its February 2011 plan. (See “FY2013 Defense Budget Overview,” pp. 1-4.)

According to the Administration, the FY2013 DOD budget request is consistent with the initial spending caps set by the BCA. Both H.R. 4310, the version of the FY2013 National Defense Authorization passed by the House on May 18, 2012, and H.R. 5856, the companion DOD appropriations bill for FY2013, reported by the House Appropriations Committee on May 25, 2012, would exceed the Administration request—by $3.7 billion in the case of the authorization bill and by $3.1 billion in the case of the appropriation bill.

On the other hand, S. 3254, the version of the authorization bill reported June 4, 2012, by the Senate Armed Services Committee, would keep FY2013 DOD funding within the initial BCA caps, exceeding the budget request by $197.0 million.

Each version of the authorization bill would add to the request several billion dollars to overturn several cost-cutting initiatives incorporated in the Administration’s budget, including proposed reductions in the Air Force Reserve and the Air National Guard. However, the House version would go further in rejecting the proposed savings. Similarly, while both versions of the authorization bill would add to the request funds for programs Congress historically has favored (such as missile defense and equipment for reserve and National Guard forces), the Senate bill is more generous in this regard. (See “NDAA: The Broad Outlines,” p.13-15, and “DOD Appropriations Overview” pp. 34-38.)

The House committee-reported appropriation bill generally parallels the House-passed authorization.

Date of Report: July 13, 2012
Number of Pages: 70
Order Number: R42607
Price: $29.95

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