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Friday, June 7, 2013

Defense: FY2013 Authorization and Appropriations

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

Daniel H. Else
Specialist in National Defense

President Obama requested $613.9 billion in discretionary budget authority for the Department of Defense in Fiscal Year 2013, which is $31.8 billion less than had been appropriated for the agency in FY2012. The end of U.S. combat in Iraq and the declining tempo of operations in Afghanistan accounted for the bulk of the overall reduction: The budget request for Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO)—DOD activities in those two countries—was $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—was $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—reflected 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 February 2012 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.”)

According to the Administration, the FY2013 DOD budget request was consistent with the initial spending caps set by the BCA. However, both H.R. 4310, the version of the FY2013 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) 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, exceeded the Administration request for those bills —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 NDAA reported June 4, 2012, by the Senate Armed Services Committee, and the version of the DOD appropriations bill (H.R. 5856) reported by the Senate Appropriations Committee on August 2, 2012, kept FY2013 DOD funding within the initial BCA caps.

Neither the House nor the Senate considered either an NDAA or a DOD appropriations bill for FY2013 that conformed to the lowered BCA caps on defense spending.

The compromise version of the authorization bill (H.R. 4310), enacted on January 2, 2013 as P.L. 112-239, would authorize $544.9 billion for DOD’s base budget—roughly splitting the difference between the House and Senate bills—and would authorize $88.5 billion for war costs.

In general terms, the House-passed and Senate committee-reported versions of the first DOD appropriations bill for FY2013 (H.R. 5856) paralleled the House and Senate versions of the FY2013 NDAA, respectively. However, the Senate did not act on that bill. For nearly the first six months of FY2013, DOD and other federal agencies had been funded by a continuing resolution (H.J.Res. 117; P.L. 112-175). On March 21, 2013, Congress sent to the White House H.R. 933, the Consolidated and Continuing Appropriations Act, which the President signed into law (P.L. 113-6) on March 26, 2013. Division C of that legislation is the Department of Defense Appropriations bill for FY2013 (See “DOD Appropriations Overview”). Although the amount provided by that section of the bill was $287.4 million more than the Administration’s request for programs covered by that division of H.R. 933, the overall level of DOD funding provided by H.R. 933 (including funds provided for military construction in Division E) exceeded the request by $323.8 million.

Since the total DOD funding level for FY2013 of $607.7 billion exceeds the BCA spending cap, that law requires that DOD funds be reduced (or “sequestered) by $35.0 billion before the end of the fiscal year. As of May 15, 2013, the Administration has not allocated the required reduction among specific DOD programs. All FY2013 appropriations amounts cited in this report reflect the amounts appropriated by H.R. 933 prior to sequestration.

Date of Report: May 17, 2013
Number of Pages: 86
Order Number: R42607
Price: $29.95

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