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Congress Keeps Adding Billions to Pentagon Budget

by John Reed on May 8, 2012

As the clock ticks ever closer to the triggering of the sequestration time bomb — you know, the massive cuts to government spending that are set to take effect next January unless Congress moves to eliminate them — lawmakers are still forcing more cash on the Pentagon than it says it needs during this time of belt-tightening.

Yup, the House Armed Services Committee (HASC) is set to add nearly $3 billion to the Pentagon’s weapons buying accounts in its version — called a markup — of the fiscal year 2013 defense authorization bill that’s set to be unveiled tomorrow. And yes, the HASC’s bill along with a similar effort by the House Appropriations defense subcommittee, is meant to bar the Air Force from retiring its fleet of C-27J Spartan airlifters. The appropriators also moved to keep the service flying its Block 30 Global Hawk spy drones that Air Force brass want to retire in favor of keeping U-2 spylanes.

From Defense News:

Overall, the committee’s bill provides $554 billion in defense spending with another $88 billion for overseas contingency funds.

That’s $29 billion over the Pentagon’s request for $525.4 billion in base defense spending, but on par with the contingency request.

Here are the changes from the Pentagon’s budget request that House lawmakers inserted into the bill:

AIR FORCE

• Aircraft procurement rose $389 million, largely on the strength of plus-ups to the RQ-4 Global Hawk and MQ-9 Reaper UAV programs and $138 million to keep its C-27Js. Advance procurement funds deemed excessive for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter were cut by $64 million, along with another $23 million in “premature” spares for the aircraft, which has not yet entered service.

• Ammunition spending rose $163 million due to increases in Joint Direct Attack Munitions, general bombs, rockets and fuses.

• Missile procurement rose $95 million from increases to the Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile, Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missile and Predator Hellfire missile.

ARMY

• Missile procurement jumped $100 million, split between increases for the Hellfire and Patriot PAC-3 missiles.

• Weapons and combat vehicle procurement jumped $383 million, due chiefly to increases in Abrams tank upgrades, the Bradley Fighting Vehicle program and the M88A2 Hercules improved recovery vehicle.

• Ammunition procurement was reduced by $108 million, primarily because of cuts to 5.56 mm and 30mm ammunition and Excalibur 155 mm rounds.

• Funds under “other procurement” dropped $80 million, spread over several programs.

NAVY

• Shipbuilding and conversion funds rose nearly $900 million, primarily for advance procurement of an additional submarine and destroyer to the 2014 shipbuilding program.

• Aircraft procurement rose overall about $100 million, and included an additional $170 million to restore five previously-cut MH-60R Seahawk helicopters.

• Weapons procurement rose $113 million, spread over a number of programs.

• Total Marine Corps procurement funding dropped by $140 million due to a decrease requested by the Corps for the light armored vehicle product improvement program.

Across the Defense Department, the HASC recommends a rise of $2.141 billion in procurement spending, from $97.432 billion to $99.573 billion.

Procurement spending for overseas operations rose by $620 million, from $9.687 billion to $10.308 billion.

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{ 33 comments… read them below or add one }

DGR May 8, 2012 at 11:07 am

I almost think this was a tactic by the Air Force. Cut as many politically hot programs citing money, therby forcing congress to cut them or reinstate the budget. Heck, looks like it worked if that was they tried to do.

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DGR May 8, 2012 at 11:09 am

Or really a tactic used by all 3 branches.

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passingby May 8, 2012 at 11:18 am

LOL! further proof of the american "Government" turning against itself! No wonder they can never win a war!

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TGR May 9, 2012 at 4:42 am

What are you saying, the US is starting to look like France?

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passingby May 9, 2012 at 6:53 am

Actually I didn't write that. Someone else in the room decided to have some fun using my handle.

My view of officials in the US government (the White House, the Pentagon, the Supreme Court, and Congress) is simply this – they got there because of the money and influence from special interests, and they are there to serve the special interests, not the American sheeple. Over the past 10-15 years, their acts have gotten more blatant and audacious, partly because the American sheeple have gotten dumber and more ignorant, thanks in part to the media controlled by special interests.

I find French voters to be a little smarter than American voters and better in making informed decisions, despite having a similarly special interests-controlled propaganda apparatus in the country.

Americans, as a group, are just plain dumb, ill-informed, lazy, and stupid. That Mitt Romney, a stinking liar and special interest front man can get so popular after some pathetic propaganda operations says a lot about Americans' ability to learn from experience.

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Pharsalus May 9, 2012 at 7:21 am

'If you use the rationale "People aren't THAT stupid" to prove why something can't happen, you've already lost the argument.'

While I agree with passingby I must state that any group is inherently stupid. Not dumb -that's something different – but misinformed, badly educated, mislead and subject to their own, personal id.

Mitt Romney, well, that's another case. The stockade is too good for that man.

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passingby May 9, 2012 at 10:50 pm

That's a good quote for believers of government's conspiracy theory about 9-11 as put forward by the 9-11 Commission.

EJ257 May 8, 2012 at 11:35 am

Next time Congress demand the DoD to cut spending the Pentagon could just say we tried, you wouldn’t let us.

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Pat May 8, 2012 at 11:36 am

Question: In this situation is the USCG considered Law Enforcement, or are they just not in the picture?

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Vaporhead May 8, 2012 at 11:58 am

They are part of Homeland Security, not the DoD.

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Josh May 9, 2012 at 1:11 am

Yes we are DHS, however we recieve a large portion of our funding throught the Navy, overseas funding and weapons/ammunition come primarily from funding we recieve through the DoD.

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Joe May 8, 2012 at 11:37 am

The military needs the C-27 much more than it needs a new manned bomber. Odds are the manned bomber would be used on two occasions over the next 40 years. The C-27 would be in constant use.

The Air Force…where square airplanes are bought for round wars.

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Pat May 8, 2012 at 11:44 am

I think they do need either of them…

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Pat May 8, 2012 at 11:44 am

Don't*

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Rohan May 8, 2012 at 1:01 pm

AIR FORCE
• Aircraft procurement rose $389 million, largely on the strength of plus-ups to the RQ-4 Global Hawk and MQ-9 Reaper UAV programs and $138 million to keep its C-27Js. Advance procurement funds deemed excessive for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter were cut by $64 million, along with another $23 million in “premature” spares for the aircraft, which has not yet entered service.
• Ammunition spending rose $163 million due to increases in Joint Direct Attack Munitions, general bombs, rockets and fuses.
• Missile procurement rose $95 million from increases to the Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile, Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missile and Predator Hellfire missile.

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blight_ May 8, 2012 at 1:09 pm

When is procurement never a good thing for your future employer's bottom line?

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jamesb May 8, 2012 at 1:41 pm

exnuke you wanna bet the air force NEVER takes hold of the C-27J's?

The Congress…..
Instead of sending the C-27J back to the Army for their driver's like the original plan was will probably ship the slow movers off to Iraq or Afgahnaistan……

And the Army…..
Who could use the light transports to take the load off of C-47's is gonna get juked again ….

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Michael Mihalyi May 30, 2012 at 1:04 pm

C-47s? Those have not been used in the US military since Vietnam.

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jamesb May 8, 2012 at 2:01 pm

ok…
Update…
This is EVEN BETTER!
It seems the Air Force ALREADY HAS C-27J's!
The piece above makes it seems like the Congress is FORCING the Air Force to hold on to what they have and add more?
Yo….
If they don't want the a/c….
Send them to where they where supposed to be!
The Army……

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Sgt_Buffy May 8, 2012 at 2:34 pm

Quote " lawmakers are still forcing more cash on the Pentagon than it says it needs"

What is so hard about listening to the Pentagon? It seems, seems just stupid to tell the Pentagon what the Pentagon needs, when they are the ones running the war.

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Lance May 8, 2012 at 4:18 pm

This House bill is DOA in the Senate and the W.H. will VETO it. SO this is more politics to make the pork spenders in the industry happy and give money to reelection campaigns. Overall sequestration will happen there is NO way those idiots in both chambers of congress will agree. One wont let there pork spending end for weapon the military doesn't want. The other wants to gut DoD, its a lose lose for men in uniform.

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Mihalyi May 30, 2012 at 12:55 pm

Democrats are all for keeping military equipment and bases in their districts as well. They are just as guilty of adding stuff to the military budget when it brings money into their districts.

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bobbymike May 8, 2012 at 6:33 pm

I say new ICBM's and nukes they are the cheapest form of deterrence, that is if you are willing to use them :)

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d. kellogg May 8, 2012 at 8:34 pm

Unless Raytheon, ATK, and Thiokol build it,
I don't know that I'd trust other defense giants (LM, Boeing) to build new ICBMs (or even a D-5 SLBM replacement). These latter two seem consistent in NOT meeting systems development timelines with an end product that has minimal problems.

I certainly wouldn't want to put my faith in someone who'd take a decade or more to even get a reliable and functional missile, let alone a new generation of warheads for them (especially since so much live nuke testing has been banned).
If we're desperate for a new ICBM, just design a longer primary boost section for Trident II upper stage/delivery vehicles.

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d. kellogg May 8, 2012 at 8:23 pm

It's been argued that older C-130s still flyable in Air Guard units negate any need for new C-27Js.
It would make for an interesting cost analysis,
to compare the remaining life of those C-130s (what's it cost to SLEP one, anyway?),
look at just what exact payloads the Air Guard predominantly moves with them,
and compare those figures to the C-27J on a plane-for-plane basis.

Two more engines per airframe will obviously burn more fuel, and if the aged Air Guard C-130s aren't routinely flying payloads nearing or exceeding the C-27J's ~25,000 pounds, then what's the cost savings in holding onto the older C-130s?
Aren't most such tactical in-theater airlift flights actually moving palletized loads and personnel?
Are the C-130s even flying missions that routinely
maximize their payload-per-flight capabilities?
Or is there a specific cargo the C-130 often carries that C-27J's just can't?

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robert abbott May 9, 2012 at 8:38 am

Somewhere in the mix is the potential for "cost overruns". I'm paying taxes but what am I buying?

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ken adams May 9, 2012 at 11:43 am

i work with c-27s in meridian ms, they've already delivered 4 of them to the base! it would be pretty pointless to cut them now.

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CharlieP May 9, 2012 at 3:40 pm

Congress can't even cut the USPS. Why would they cut DoD?

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anon.de.harold June 8, 2012 at 8:28 pm

when you sacrafice freedom for security you diserve niether

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Pat May 8, 2012 at 12:58 pm

C-130 and we already have manned bombers…

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exnuke May 8, 2012 at 1:21 pm

The C-130 has higher operating expenses and landing field requirements than the C-27. This means it will cost more to carry the supplies small units require and can't land near them. To correct this means those uits will either need to be equiped with trucks or their bases will require longer runways thus increasing construction costs. And none of this takes into account the storage and reactivation costs should the Air Force ever to decide it needs the C-27 after they mothball them. Beleive it or not, it costs money to have those aircraft sitting in the desert.

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Joe May 8, 2012 at 4:09 pm

They are using contractor aircraft in afghanistan t operform the C-27 mission due to a lack of available airframes. In addition we will CERTAINLY be looking at continued conflicts in in accessible areas where bush planes are ideal.

and 5 billion a copy manned bombers are not.

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Guest May 8, 2012 at 4:37 pm

What's new? "contractor aircraft" flew many missions in Indochina using bush planes.

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