The draft copy of the Fiscal 2012 defense appropriations bill, released by the House Appropriations Committee’s defense panel, includes some $530.5 billion in baseline funding (excluding military construction) and $118.6 billion for operations in Afghanistan and Iraq. According to the committee, the baseline mark is about $9 billion less than President Obama’s request, while the overseas contingency funding is nearly $1 billion more. The draft legislation, issued Tuesday, fully funds the Air Force’s KC-46A tanker replacement program and provides $5.9 billion for 32 F-35 strike fighters, including 19 F-35A variants for the Air Force. The draft also includes $1.1 billion for 11 C-130J aircraft and $699 million for 48 MQ-9 Reaper remotely piloted aircraft. It does not provide funds to continue development of the F136, the F-35’s second engine. The HAC-D met on Wednesday to mark-up the legislation in a closed-door session. (HAC release)
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.