Defense Bill Becomes Law

President Bush on Oct. 14 signed into law S. 3001, the defense authorization act for Fiscal 2009. The legislation includes $542.5 billion for DOD’s baseline budget as well as an additional $68 billion representing the first iteration of supplemental war spending for the new fiscal year. Among the highlights of the act are: a 3.9 percent pay raise for uniformed personnel (one half percent more than the Administration requested), funds to cover an active duty end strength of 317,050 for the Air Force (USAF’s end strength will rise to 330,000 in Fiscal 2010), and a mandate that the Air Force assemble a plan to improve nuclear security. The act funds the production of seven Air Force F-35s and 20 F-22s. It also includes $523 million to keep the F-22’s production line active in case the next Administration wants to keep buying them beyond the current program of record. The act adds $96.9 million to resolve the Air Force’s top unfunded priority and allow the service to maintain 76 B-52 bombers in a common configuration. It includes $520 million to keep alive the GE-Rolls Royce F136 engine program, the alternate engine for the F-35. In the supplemental is a $2.1 billion earmark to buy six C-17 aircraft, bringing the Air Force’s C-17 total to 211. Bush signed into law the Fiscal 2009 defense appropriation legislation on Sept. 30 as part of a larger consolidated spending act.