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FY11 budget clears Congress, signed by president

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

At last I can report that legislation to fund the government for the remainder of Fiscal Year 2011 cleared Congress and was signed by President Obama on April 15.

Although Defense Secretary Robert Gates had repeatedly said that cutting any more from the defense budget would affect troop readiness and force modernization, Congress and the White House agreed to provide $513 billion in base defense spending – about $18 billion less than the president requested for Fiscal Year 2011. 

They also provided $157.8 billion for overseas contingency operations.

In a March 2 hearing before the House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, Gates said, "I recognize that given the current fiscal and political environment, it is unlikely that the Department of Defense will receive the full amount requested for FY ‘11.  However, it is my judgment that the Department of Defense needs an appropriation of at least $540 billion for FY ‘11 for the U.S. military to properly carry out its mission, maintain readiness, and prepare for the future." 

He already had proposed reducing defense spending by about $78 billion and reallocated $100 billion in so-called efficiencies found by the services for more important priorities, all of which would occur over the next five years.

The funding legislation does the following:

  • Provides funding for a 1.4 percent pay raise for military personnel;

  • Funds active duty end strength of 1,432,400 and reserve component end strength of 846,200;

  • Adds $670 million above the budget request to cover shortfalls in the military personnel accounts identified by the services;

  • Provides $32.8 billion for the Defense Health Program to provide medical services for military personnel and their families, to continue advancements in medical research, modernize and maintain medical infrastructure, and develop the next generation of electronic health records;

  • Provides an additional $250 million for peer-reviewed breast, prostate, and ovarian cancer research programs;

  • Provides $100 million for peer-review psychological health and traumatic brain injury programs;

  • Increases funding for the National Guard and reserve by about $850 million to address shortfalls in equipment;

  • Provides money to replace helicopters and fixed wing aircraft lost in battle;

  • Provides $2.5 billion for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance programs identified by Secretary Gates as a high priority for troops overseas;

  • Includes $3.4 billion to fully fund Mine Resistant Ambush Protection-All Terrain Vehicles;

  • Adds money to test and procure "double-V" hull modification for the Stryker vehicle, for added protection from improvised explosive devices; and

  • Provides $11.6 billion for the Afghanistan Security Forces fund, $1.5 billion for the Iraq Security Forces fund, $500 million for the Commander’s Emergency Response Program, and $400 million for the new Afghanistan Infrastructure fund.  It also provides $800 million for the Pakistan counterinsurgency fund.

A summary of the bill released by the Senate Defense Appropriations Subcommittee stated, "The defense bill is not exempt from budget reductions: the bill proposes 759 reductions to programs requested in the budget.  These cuts are made as a result of program terminations or delays, changes to policies or programs since submission of the budget in February 2010."

Some of the major reductions include:

  • $9 billion across all operations and maintenance accounts "due to programmatic adjustments, historic under-execution and unsupported requests for civilian personnel increases;

  • $2.2 billion resulting from the civilian pay freeze and economic assumptions;

  • $2.16 billion from the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program because of production and testing delays;

  • $2 billion from about 50 programs due to under-performance, terminations and schedule delays;

  • $672 million from the Joint Improvised Explosive Device Defeat Organization because of revised requirements;

  • $500 million from the Iraq security forces fund;

  • $473 million from the Army manned ground vehicle, resulting from pricing adjustments; and

  • $457 million from the termination of the Non-Line of Sight Launch System.

While last year’s budget bill is finally complete that just means that the battle will shift as Congress starts work on the Fiscal Year 2012 budget when they return from recess on May 2. 

However, despite Gates’ pleas, it is expected defense funding will also be reduced in the 2012 budget.