Senate Appropriations Bill Would Cut End Strength

The Senate Appropriations Defense Subcommittee approved its version of the defense appropriations bill on Tuesday, which recommends more than 450 budget cuts worth $15.1 billion. The bill uses that money to pay for unfunded requirements, instead of using overseas contingency operations funds as outlined in the House Appropriations Committee’s version. Included in the legislation is funding for a total Active Duty end strength of 1,281,900, a decrease from the current total Active Duty end strength, which the Pentagon reported as 1,304,946 as of March 31. The “unfunded requirements” paid for by the budget reductions include two C-130Js, Compass Call aircraft replacement and UH-1N replacement helicopters, as well as $100 million for the Air Force to buy more F-35s than allowed for in the requested budget. The bill also includes $100 million more than requested for the development of space launch vehicles or rocket engines. In total, the subcommittee’s bill recommends $515.9 billion in base funding and $58.6 billion in OCO funds; the President’s Budget request included $517.7 billion in base funding and $58.6 billion for OCO.