House Appropriations Committee Releases Fiscal Year 2017 Defense Bill
The House Appropriations Committee today released the subcommittee draft of the fiscal year 2017 Defense Appropriations bill, which will be considered in subcommittee tomorrow. The legislation funds critical national security needs, including military operations and readiness programs, as well as health and quality-of-life programs for our troops and military families.
The legislation meets the overall defense spending limits set by law for fiscal year 2017, providing $517.1 billion in discretionary funding – an increase of $3 billion above the fiscal year 2016 enacted level and $587 million below the President’s budget request. The bill also provides $58.6 billion in Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO)/Global War on Terrorism (GWOT) funding – the level allowed under current law. Following the lead of the House Armed Services Committee-approved National Defense Authorization Act of 2017, the legislation targets approximately $16 billion of this OCO/GWOT funding to meet needs within the base Pentagon budget.
“Protecting our nation from threats to our freedom, democracy, and way of life is the most important responsibility of Congress. The U.S. and our allies continue to face attacks and threats from terrorist organizations like ISIL, and our troops must be ready to fight at all times, against any enemy,” Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers said. “This bill provides the resources needed to keep our military trained and well equipped, to ensure success in our missions now and in the future, and to care for those who put their lives on the line for us every day.”
“In an increasingly dangerous and rapidly changing world, we must guarantee that our military and intelligence community have the capability to defeat barbaric Islamic terror groups and deter aggressor-nations, like Russia, Iran, China, and North Korea,” said Defense Subcommittee Chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen. “This bill recognizes the critical need for increased funding for more training, readiness and equipment and provides for military families. And our heightened oversight ensures that every dollar counts.”
Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO)/Global War on Terrorism (GWOT) – The legislation includes $58.6 billion in OCO/GWOT funding. This will provide the needed resources for preparation and operations in the field to fight ongoing threats, including funding for personnel requirements, operational needs, the purchase of new aircraft to replace combat losses, combat vehicle safety modifications, additional Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) assets, and maintenance of facilities and equipment. It also provides critical support to our key allies, such as Israel, Ukraine and Jordan, to resist aggression.
Within this funding, $43 billion is included to support the requirements of OCO/GWOT operations through the end of April 2017, as authorized by the House National Defense Authorization Act of 2017. These funds will sustain current troop levels in Afghanistan, rather than the drawdown requested by the Administration.
An additional $15.7 billion is dedicated to unmet needs within the base Pentagon budget, as directed in the National Defense Authorization Act of 2017. These funds are targeted to requirements identified by the Services – readiness efforts, infrastructure, and equipment recapitalization and modernization, such as additional flying and steaming hours, training time, and facilities and aircraft repairs. As a result of this funding – as well as responsible reductions made to the request – the bill is able to support higher troop levels, additional training ($9.4 billion), facilities repairs and improvements ($1.6 billion), equipment repairs and maintenance ($753 million), and equipment modernization and replacement ($9.6 billion). Further detail is included in the following sections.
Military Personnel and Pay – The legislation includes $132.6 billion – $130.4 billion for base requirements and $2.2 billion for OCO/GWOT requirements – to provide for 1,310,615 active-duty troops and 826,200 Guard and reserve troops. Funding for base requirements is $1.5 billion above the request and $1.1 billion above fiscal year 2016. The recommendation includes $3 billion above the request for end strength – denying the troop reductions proposed by the White House and adding 28,715 active forces and 25,000 selected reserve forces above the requested levels. The bill fully funds the authorized 2.1 percent pay raise for the military, instead of 1.6 percent as requested by the President.
Operation and Maintenance – Included in the legislation is $209.2 billion – $179.3 billion for base requirements and $30 billion for OCO/GWOT requirements – for operation and maintenance. Funding for base requirements is $8 billion above the request and $11.8 billion above fiscal year 2016. This funding supports key readiness programs to prepare our troops for combat and peacetime missions, including flight time and battle training, equipment and facility maintenance, and base operations.
Within this amount, the bill includes an additional $6.4 billion above the request to fill readiness shortfalls, $1.6 billion to invest in facility sustainment, restoration, and modernization programs, and $753 million for additional depot maintenance. This funding will help rebuild our forces to ensure our troops have the training and equipment they need to sustain our military superiority.
Research and Development – The bill contains $70.8 billion – $70.5 billion for base requirements and $334 million for OCO/GWOT requirements – for research, development, testing, and evaluation of new defense technologies. Funding for base requirements is $664 million above the fiscal year 2016 level, and will help to advance the safety and success of current and future military operations and prepare our nation to meet a broad range of future security threats.
Specifically, this funding will support research and development of: the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter; the GPS III operational control and space segments; the new Air Force bomber program; a next-generation JSTARS aircraft; the RQ-4 Triton Unmanned Aerial Vehicle; the Ohio-class submarine replacement; Stryker lethality; the Israeli Cooperative Programs; and other important research and development activities.
Equipment Procurement – The legislation provides a total of $120.8 billion – $111.5 billion for base requirements and $9.4 billion for OCO/GWOT requirements – for equipment and upgrades. Funding for base requirements is $9.6 billion above the request and $644 million above fiscal year 2016. These funds support our nation’s military readiness by providing the necessary platforms, weapons, and other equipment our military needs to train, maintain the force, and conduct successful operations.
For example, the bill includes: $21.6 billion to procure 15 Navy ships, including two DDG-51 guided missile destroyers and three Littoral Combat Ships; $8.3 billion for 74 F-35 aircraft; $1.35 billion for 16 F/A-18E/F Super Hornet aircraft; $1.2 billion for 72 UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters; $881 million for 52 remanufactured AH-64 helicopters and $374 million for 10 new aircraft; $689 million for 27 CH-47 Chinook helicopters; $1.8 billion for 11 P-8A Poseidon aircraft; $2.8 billion for 15 KC-46 tanker aircraft; $440 million for 123 Stryker Double V-Hull upgrades; and $332 million for the Israeli Cooperative Programs.
Defense Health and Military Family Programs – The bill contains $34 billion for base requirements – $1.7 billion above the fiscal year 2016 enacted level and $559 million above the request – for the Defense Health Program to provide care for our troops, military families, and retirees.
Specifically, the bill provides $282 million for cancer research, $450 million for medical facility upgrades, $125 million for traumatic brain injury and psychological health research, and $296 million for sexual assault prevention and response. All of these funding levels represent increases above the President’s request. In addition, the legislation provides authority for funding to be used to address the growing Zika epidemic to protect the health of service-members, Defense Department civilians, and their families. This includes research and development for vaccines as well as response requirements.
Force Structure – The bill largely rejects the Administration’s proposed troop reductions. Instead, the bill provides increases above fiscal year 2016, including funds for: 5,000 Active Army, 8,000 Army National Guard, 7,000 Army Reserve, and 1,000 Marine Corps, Active.
Additionally, to maintain four Apache battalions in the Army National Guard, the bill provides $374 million for 10 new Apaches and $46 million to support the annual operating costs of the four battalions. Also included is $131 million for 20 Lakotas for increased flight training requirements, and $242 million for an additional 36 Blackhawks to accelerate modernization of the fleet. The bill also provides funds to maintain a Combat Aviation Brigade in Korea.
Savings and Reductions to the President’s Request – The bill reflects commonsense decisions to save taxpayer dollars where possible in areas that will not affect the safety or success of our troops and missions. Some of these savings include: $1.5 billion from lower–than-expected fuel costs, $573 million due to favorable economic conditions, and $1.95 billion in savings from rescissions of unused prior-year funding.
For text of the legislation, please visit: /UploadedFiles/BILLS-114HR-SC-AP-FY2017-Defense-SubcommitteeDraft.pdf