The Senate Appropriations Committee’s defense panel on Tuesday approved $513 billion for the Pentagon’s base budget (minus military construction) in Fiscal 2012, freezing next year’s spending at the Fiscal 2011 level. That mark is nearly $26 billion less than President Obama requested. These Senators, however, recommended $117.8 billion for next year’s overseas contingency operations, matching the President’s request. The Senate’s draft bill “fully funds” the requested military end strength and 1.6 percent pay raise for military personnel, wrote SAC Chairman Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii) in a statement on the panel’s mark-up. It “increases funding in critical technology areas,” such as cyber security, nanotechnology, and space situational awareness, he said. He noted that the Senators took “extra caution to protect readiness funding.” The House’s version of the spending bill, passed in July, allocates some $530 billion in base funding (excluding Milcon) and $119 billion for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. The two chambers will hash out the final version of the legislation in conference.
U.S. Air Force F-35s and F-22s regularly deploy deep into the Pacific region from Alaska, Utah, and Hawaii. In the future, though, the head of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command would like to see the Air Force permanently station fifth-generation aircraft west of the international date line—closer to China.