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House and Senate Defense Appropriations Comparison October 29, 2009

Posted by Trice Kabundi in Analysis.
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Both the House and Senate have passed their respective versions of the Defense Appropriations Bill for FY 2010 and are expected to conference the bill sometime next month. Both bills are guided by the revised 302 (b) discretionary spending limits which incorporates Overseas Contingency Operations into the defense allocation. This sets a new standard, as past funding for Iraq and Afghanistan has been provided for through emergency supplemental appropriations bills and not the “regular” budget cycle.

The following is a comparison of key provisions between the House and Senate bills with regard to the growing number of DOD authorities, programs, and funding for foreign and security assistance, as proposed by the administration in its FY 2010 request.

  • Overall Funding

The House version provides $625.84 billion, $200 million more than the Senate version, which would appropriate $625.82 billion.  Both the House and Senate bills provide less than the President’s request of $629.7 billion, a difference of $3.86 billion and $3.88 billion respectively

  • Commanders Emergency Response Program (CERP)

The House bill provides $1.3 billion for CERP, while the Senate bill provides $1.2 billion. Both were less than the President’s request of $1.5 billion.  Concerned about oversight, both bills require the Army to submit monthly reports to congressional defense committees from the Army no later than 30 days after each month.

FYI: CERP provides regional Combatant Commanders with flexible funding that lets them respond to urgent, small-scale humanitarian relief and reconstruction needs in Iraq and Afghanistan.

  • Coalition Support Funds (CSF)

The Senate bill provides $1.6 billion for CSF, fully funding the President’s full request. The House bill, however, provides $1.54 billion. Both the House and Senate require the Secretary of Defense to provide quarterly reports to the congressional defense committees on the purpose and status of the use of funds provided for CSF.

FYI: CSF allows DOD to reimburse cooperating countries for expenses incurred while supporting US military operations in Iraq, Afghanistan and other overseas contingency operations.  Pakistan is the main recipient of such funds.

  • Lift and Sustain

Both the House and Senate Appropriations Bills stipulate that the Secretary of Defense shall provide quarterly reports to congressional defense committees regarding support provided under this section.

FYI: Similar in principal to CSF, DOD uses Lift and Sustain funds to provide airlift and sustainment support to coalition partners participating in U.S. military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

  • Afghanistan Security Forces Fund/ Iraq Security Forces Fund (ASFF/ISFF)

The Senate bill provides $6.6 billion for ASFF, $900 million below the request, while the House provides the full $7.46 billion requested by the administration. The Senate bill also recommends the transfer of $900 million from ASFF to the Mine Resistant Ambush Protected Vehicle Fund.  There is no mention of this in the House bill.

The administration did not request additional funding for ISFF, and none was included in the House or Senate appropriations bills.

FYI: ISFF and ASFF give DOD the authority to train and equip Iraq and Afghanistan security forces in order to eventually transition ecurity responsibilities from the US military to indigenous military forces.

  • Cooperative Threat Reduction (CTR)

The Senate bill appropriates $424 million for CTR, which is $20 million above the administration’s request. Conversely, the House provides $404.1 million for CTR, matching the request.

FYI: The CTR supports DOD programs to partner with willing countries in order to reduce the threat from weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and related materials, technologies and expertise.

  • Overseas Humanitarian, Disaster, and Civic Aid (OHDACA)

President Obama requested $109 million for ODHACA. Both the House and Senate provide the full amount requested in their respective bills.  Funding for OHDACA has historically been in the $50-60 million range, with supplemental appropriations passed to fund emergency operations.  However, since FY 2008 ODHACA funding has increased significantly ($103 million in FY 2008 and $83.3 million in FY 2009).

FYI: OHDACA is a relatively small account at DOD and is dedicated to providing humanitarian and civic assistance to foreign countries.

  • Combatant Commander Initiative Fund (CCIF)

Both the House and Senate bills stipulate that no more than $50 million may be used for the CCIF out of Defense-Wide O&M. CCIF has permanent authority established by Title 10 Section 166a, which is generally a $25 million a year program, but in recent years CCIF has received supplemental appropriations which have roughly doubled this amount. Both bills also stipulate that no more than 12.5 million can be used in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom.

FYI: Through the CCIF, regional combatant commanders support unforeseen contingency requirements critical to the combatant commanders’ joint war-fighting readiness and national security interests.

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