$447b Defense budget OK'd

A Senate and House appropriations conference committee has approved a $447 billion Defense budget, including $70 billion for military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Funding for several IT programs took a significant hit in the conference report, while other programs were funded at the requested amount or higher.

The bill has also passed the full House and is awaiting Senate approval, which is expected later today or tomorrow. The report will then be sent to President Bush for signature.

The budget request for the Transformational Satellite Communications program was slashed by $130 million "due to concerns over the amount of program growth" and the Space Radar program was decreased by $80 million "due to uncertainties with the program," according to the conference report.

Other highlights of the spending plan include:
  • $2.6 billion for the DD(X) destroyers, the high-tech combatant ships featuring sophisticated automation systems that will allow them to operate with smaller crews than older destroyers
  • $521 million for two Littoral Combat Ships
  • Funding for two F-35 Joint Strike Fighter aircraft while also putting aside funds for 12 additional F-35s in fiscal 2008
  • $3.5 billion for the Army's Future Combat Systems, a $300 million increase over fiscal 2006 budget funding
  • $1.5 billion for various command-and-control equipment for Marine Corps vehicles
  • $40 million reduction to the Navy-Marine Corps Intranet program due to 'unjustified growth.'

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