House committee passes $416 billion DOD bill

The House Appropriations Committee yesterday approved a $416 billion fiscal 2005 Defense spending bill that gives "measured adjustments" to programs that support military transformation.

In the spending plan proposal, legislators also set aside $25 billion in emergency defense spending to pay for operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The proposal provides "increases in support of military transformation while making measured adjustments to ensure that future costs, as well as development, testing and production profiles, are efficiently managed," according to a release on the plan. In some cases, the committee slashed program budgets to address scheduling delays.

This is in line with an admonition last month by both the House and Senate Armed Services committees for managers to better justify their IT spending proposals.

"The committee is deeply concerned about the pace at which new technology moves from the laboratory to the battlefield and the ability to respond to emerging, critical operational needs," the Armed Services committees said in their markups of the bill.

The House Appropriations Committee's proposal includes a 3.5 percent across-the-board pay raise for military personnel.

Other highlights include:

  • $2.9 billion for the Army's Future Combat Systems, a project to develop networked combat vehicles and weapons systems. The proposal represents a $1.2 billion increase over fiscal 2004.1

  • $4.4 billion to the Navy and Air Force for development of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, a high-tech combat aircraft program that received $4.3 billion this year. The proposal represents a net decrease of $204 million from the budget request for 2005. The project, led by Lockheed Martin Corp., has experienced scheduling slips.

  • $1.2 billion for the Navy's DD(X) networked warships program, a reduction of $248 million from the request "owing to a decision to defer construction of the first DD(X) ship," according to the committee.

  • $409 million for the Navy's high-tech Littoral Combat Ship, an addition of $107 million over the request.

The Senate is considering its version of the fiscal 2005 spending bill.

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