Congress Continues Push Back on Defense Spending Proposals

by: Matthew Potter
May 2, 2012

Category: Business Line, Companies, Congress, Department of Defense, development program, Events, Federal Budget Process, logistics, Military Aviation, Northrop Grumman Corp., production program, Proposal, Services, U.S. Air Force | RSS 2.0

The House Armed Services Committee (HASC) continues their mark up of the 2013 defense budget proposed by the Obama administration and continues their push back on proposed cuts to programs. As part of a plan to reduce defense spending by almost $500 billion over the next 5 year defense plan certain programs were ended or reduced. Congress as it often is does not like some of these reductions and is adding them back into the budget.

The HASC is just one of four different committees in both parts of Congress that can rewrite the budget. After the markups are complete the House and Senate vote their own versions of the bill and a Conference Committee irons out the final version that goes to the President. There is no guarantee that any changes made by any of the committees will stick but it is clear that there are a lot in Congress not willing to reduce spending the way that is being proposed.

Earlier we wrote of how they added back in a submarine the Navy had delayed until 2018. Now the committee is changing some proposals with other systems.

These include the retirement of several Northrop Grumman (NOC) Global Hawk strategic Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV). The Air Force had proposed mothballing the Block 30 version of the system and continuing to use the manned U-2/TR-1 aircraft instead. They also would not buy more of that block. The bill the HASC is writing would prevent the retirement before 2014.

The committee has also reduced or eliminated some of the troop cuts and increased co-pays and fee for TRICARE, the military medical plan. Another area they are exploring is increasing funding for some of the Army’s vehicle programs which was cut.

These reductions and the troop cuts are based on the fact that the U.S. is withdrawing from Afghanistan and the Obama administration is predicting less deployments and action in the near future.

This is just the first round of mark ups and the ending bill will be some sort of compromise where some cuts are kept and others aren’t. It does show though that there are many in Congress not ready for large reductions in defense spending and investment.

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