Senate Panel Marks Up Defense Spending Bill
Senate Appropriations Committee's defense panel provided $516.4
billion in base funding and $77.8 billion for overseas contingency operations
in Tuesday's mark-up of the Pentagon's Fiscal 2014 budget request. "With
increasingly limited funds, this bill cuts waste, prioritizes department
spending, and puts a premium on readiness," said Sen. Dick Durbin
(D-Ill.), panel chairman, in the SAC's July 30 release. The mark-up provides
"substantial increases for readiness, depot maintenance, and facilities
sustainment, restoration, and modernization," states the release. This
includes adding $2.9 billion to restore shortfalls in areas like aircraft
flying hours, and $1.5 billion to address issues like shortfalls in depot
maintenance. The mark-up fully funds next fiscal year's F-35 strike fighter
procurement and development of the Air Force's future Long Range Strike Bomber
and KC-46A tanker. The senators approved a one percent pay raise for uniformed
military personnel and Defense Department civilians. The mark-up also provides
a $297 million increase in Tricare "to ensure service members aren't
paying more out-of-pocket costs for their health care," states the
release. The House last week passed its version of the spending
bill, appropriating $512.5 billion in base funding and $85.8 billion for OCO.
In More Depth
|Gates Versus the Air Force
In his book, “Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War,” former Defense Secretary Robert Gates describes the Air Force as “one of my biggest headaches”—a perception USAF leaders were never able to turn around during his tenure.
A Systemic Problem
Air Force Secretary Deborah James acknowledged the Air Force does “have a systemic problem” within its nuclear forces, though she said she is confident the mission itself remains strong.
The A-12, Settled At Last
After a 23-year seesaw legal battle in which both sides were at some point “up” by more than a billion dollars, the Navy and its A-12 contractors have put the A-12 controversy to rest with a settlement.