House follows committee's lead on DOD, cuts FCS

The House has signed off on a $408 billion Defense budget that makes significant cuts to key transformational programs across the department.

The appropriations bill, approved by a 398-19 vote, proposed slashing nearly $450 million from the Army's Future Combat Systems program, designed to link 18 manned and unmanned weapons systems via a common computer network known as the Warfighter Information Network-Tactical. The Army had requested $3.4 billion.

The Senate has not concluded its markup of the appropriations bill.

House lawmakers, in a report attached to the spending proposal, said FCS suffered 'significant development and contracting delays.'

Legislators also voted to reduce funding for DOD space programs and cut $1 billion from the Navy's $1.6 billion request to continue development of the high-tech DD(X) surface combatant ships.

Still, HR 2863 would give troops equipment and new technologies, according to Rep. C.W. Bill Young (R-Fla.), chairman of the House Defense Appropriations subcommittee.

The funding includes:

' $5 billion for the Joint Strike Fighter, a high-tech combat aircraft program

' $440 million for two Littoral Combat Ships. LCS, a smaller, faster and more agile version of the Navy's planned DD(X) warships, will offer high-speed transit, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities, and will share tactical information with manned and unmanned Navy aircraft, ships, submarines and units. It will also use advanced systems for weapons, sensors, data fusion, command, control, communications, computing and self-defense.

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