House Appropriators Approve Fiscal 2013 Defense Spending Bill

The House Appropriations Committee approved their version of the Fiscal 2013 defense appropriations bill on May 17. It provides $519.2 billion in base funding—$3.1 billion more than the Pentagon’s request—and $88.5 billion for sustaining overseas operations like the war in Afghanistan, matching the Defense Department’s proposal, according to a committee release. HAC Chairman Hal Rogers (R-Ky.) said the bill “shores up critical national security needs and provides the necessary resources to continue the nation’s military efforts abroad, while finding efficiencies to trim unnecessary spending wherever possible.” Of note, the bill prohibits the Air Force from reducing “any Air National Guard or Air Force Reserve units” until Congress passes additional legislation authorizing such acts. “The committee does not concur with the Air Force’s proposed force structure plan,” states the report (caution, large-sized file) accompanying the bill. Accordingly, the committee prohibits “the use of funds for the retirement, divestiture, realignment, or transfer of any aircraft and associated missions.” This means, for example, no elimination of C-27J or Global Hawk Block 30 aircraft next fiscal year. Noting Air Force concerns about having to sustain excess assets and personnel over its proposed force levels, the committee said it added funds to preserve USAF’s existing force structure next fiscal year. (See also HAC-D release)