Senate Authorizers Complete Markup

Among the highlights of the Senate Armed Services Committee’s changes to the Fiscal 2011 defense authorization bill are a $102.5 million plus-up to continue E-8C Joint STARS re-engining and the inclusion of $337 million to fully fund the Air Force’s unfunded requirements for sustainment. While the panel supported USAF’s request for 22 F-35s in the baseline budget, it denied the service’s proposal to acquire one additional F-35 to replace an F-15E lost in combat. Unlike the House Armed Services Committee, the SASC did not add funding for the F-35’s F-136 engine (see Still Swinging above). It stuck to the Administrations 1.4 percent pay raise request (the HASC approved a 1.9 percent increase). And like the full House voted on May 27, the SASC included a provision that clears the way for the Pentagon to repeal the ban on homosexuals serving openly in the military. (SASC markup summary)