25 July 2007

The 2008 Defense Budget

The House Appropriations Committee passed a Defense Appropriations bill (which has several legislative steps that will likely produce changes before it becomes law). The highlights:

* Kills the armed reconnaissance helicopter program
* Significant cuts in missile defense spending (about 10% less than last year)
* A 13% cut in the R&D budget for the "Future Combat System" of the Army

All three programs have promised more than they have delivered.

* More oversight of military contractors
* More rules for U.S. funded mercenaries (i.e. "security function" contractors) in Iraq and Afghanistan
* Ban on permanent bases in Iraq
* Ban on torture
* Ban on transfers of DOD funds for new purposes without Congressional appproval

This is closing loopholes which might otherwise permit backdoor implementation of war and terrorism policies Congress doesn't like.

* Grows active duty Army by 7,000 soldiers
* Grows active duty Marines by 5,000 soldiers

* Full funding for continued development of the Marine Expedititionary Fighting Vehicle
* 20 new F-22s
* A new Stryker Brigade
* More than full funding for the F-35 program, including a buy of 6 F-35As and 6 F-35Bs
* 21 MV-22 Ospreys for the Marines
* 5 CV-22s for the Air Force.
* 52 new Blackhawk helicopters
* The President requested $460 million for 4 new sealift ships; Congress wants to spend $1.87 billion on sealift
* 2 LPD-17 amphibious transport docks
* 1 new SSN-774 attack submarine
* 1 CBN-78 aircraft carrier
* 1 Littoral Combat ship
* Continued funding of 2 DDG-1000 destroyers
* Continued funding of 1 LHA-6 amphibious assault ship

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