House and Senate Appropriations Committee Conferees on September 13, 2018 approved a fiscal year 2019 “minibus” spending bill that includes $675 billion for defense.  The following summary was put forward by House Appropriations Committee Chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen:

The second Appropriations “mini-bus” package contains funding for the Department of Defense (DoD) – including operations, readiness, equipment modernization, and health and quality-of-life programs for our troops and military families.

The legislation provides a total of $674.4 billion for DoD. This includes $606.5 billion in base discretionary funding – an increase of $17.0 billion above the fiscal year 2018 enacted level. The bill also provides $67.9 billion in Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO)/Global War on Terrorism (GWOT) funding. This funding level is consistent with the National Defense Authorization Act.

With the changing global dynamics and ever-growing threats, it is absolutely imperative that our military is properly trained, equipped, and fully supported. It is also critically important to provide our men and women in uniform with the funding and resources they need to execute their missions, assist and protect our allies around the world, provide for their families, and ensure the current and future security of our nation. This legislation does all of this by including robust funding for our troops, the defense programs and activities necessary to accomplish our national goals and ideals, and to continue to rebuild our military.

Bill highlights include:

Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO)/Global War on Terrorism (GWOT) – The legislation includes $67.9 billion in OCO/GWOT funding. This will provide the needed resources for preparation and operations in the field to fight ongoing threats, including funding for personnel requirements, operational needs, the purchase of new aircraft to replace combat losses, combat vehicle modifications, additional Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) assets, and maintenance of facilities and equipment. It also provides critical support to our key allies, such as Israel, Ukraine and Jordan, to resist aggression.

Military Personnel and Pay – The legislation includes $143.2 billion – $138.5 billion for base requirements and $4.7 billion for OCO/GWOT requirements – to provide for 1,338,100 active-duty troops and 817,700 Guard and Reserve troops. The bill fully funds the requested 16,400 end-strength increase and the 2.6 percent pay raise for the military.

Operation and Maintenance – Included in the legislation is $243.2 billion – $193.7 billion for base requirements and $49.5 billion for OCO/GWOT requirements – for operation and maintenance. Funding for base requirements is $5.4 billion above fiscal year 2018. This funding supports key readiness programs to prepare our troops for combat and peacetime missions, including flight time and battle training, equipment and facility maintenance, and base operations.

Within this amount, the bill includes $290 million above the request to invest in facility sustainment, restoration, and modernization programs, and $20.6 billion total for depot maintenance. This funding will help rebuild our forces to ensure our troops have the training and equipment they need.

Research and Development – The bill contains $96.1 billion – $94.9 billion for base requirements and $1.2 billion for OCO/GWOT requirements – for research, development, testing, and evaluation of new defense systems and technologies. Funding for base requirements is $6.6 billion above the fiscal year 2018 level, and will help to support current military operations and to prepare our nation to meet a broad range of future security threats.

Specifically, this funding will support research and development of: the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter; space security programs; nuclear force modernization; the Ohio-class submarine replacement; Future Vertical Lift; the Israeli Cooperative Programs; and other important research and development activities, including those within the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).

Equipment Procurement – The legislation provides a total of $148 billion – $135.4 billion for base requirements and $12.6 billion for OCO/GWOT requirements – for equipment and upgrades. Funding for base requirements is $4.8 billion above the request. These funds support our nation’s military readiness by providing the necessary platforms, weapons, and other equipment our military needs to train and operate both for both the current fight and future fights.  For example, the bill includes the following big-ticket items:

  • $24.2 billion to procure 13 Navy ships, including:
    • Three DDG-51 guided missile destroyers
    • Two Virginia-class submarines
    • Three Littoral Combat Ships
    • One expeditionary sea base
    • One expeditionary fast transport
    • Two TAO fleet oilers, and one towing, salvage, and rescue ship
  • $9.3 billion for 93 F-35 aircraft
  • $1.9 billion for 24 F/A-18E/F Super Hornet aircraft
  • $1.6 billion for 18 C-130J aircraft
  • $1.2 billion for 58 UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters
  • $1.2 billion for 66 AH-64 Apache helicopters
  • $1.1 billion for 13 V-22 aircraft
  • $163 million for 10 MQ-1 Gray Eagle unmanned aerial vehicles
  • $402 million for 24 MQ-9 unmanned aerial vehicles
  • $1.8 billion for 10 P-8A Poseidon aircraft
  • $2.3 billion for 15 KC-46 tanker aircraft
  • $660 million for 10 Combat Rescue Helicopters
  • $1.6 billion for 5 space launch and capability services
  • $1.5 billion for the upgrade of 135 Abrams tanks
  • $200 million for the Israeli Cooperative Programs
  • $220 million for National Guard High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV) recapitalization and procurement of HMMWV ambulances
  • $1.3 billion for the National Guard and Reserve Equipment Account

Defense Health and Military Family Programs – The bill contains a total of $34.4 billion – $34 billion for base requirements and $352 million for OCO/GWOT requirements – $278 million above the request – for the Defense Health Program to provide care for our troops, military families, and retirees.

Specifically, the bill provides $374 million for cancer research, $125 million for traumatic brain injury and psychological health research, and $318 million for sexual assault prevention and response. All of these funding levels represent increases above the President’s request.

Reductions and Rescissions to Save Tax Dollars – The bill reflects commonsense decisions to save taxpayer dollars where possible in areas that will not affect the safety or success of our troops and missions, such as $3.8 billion in savings from rescissions of unused prior-year funding.

A one-page summary is provided here – https://appropriations.house.gov/uploadedfiles/minibus_2_-_fy_2019_defense_appropriations_bill_-_one-pager.pdf

The marked-up Appropriations Conference Report text is here – https://docs.house.gov/billsthisweek/20180910/CRPT-115hrpt952.pdf