Specialist in U.S. Defense Policy and Budget
President Obama’s FY2012 budget request, sent to Congress on February 14, 2011, included $670.9 billion in discretionary budget authority for the Department of Defense (DOD), of which $553.1 billion was for the so-called “base budget” of the department, that is the cost of routine, peacetime operations not counting the cost of ongoing operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. The remaining $117.8 billion in the DOD budget request was to cover the cost of so-called “overseas contingency operations (OCO),” including operations in those two countries.
However, the Budget Control Act (BCA) enacted in early August set ceilings on FY2012 discretionary budget authority that would require a reduction of $35.7 billion from the total amount the Administration had requested for so-called “security agencies” – a category that includes the DOD base budget, the Departments of Veterans Affairs and Homeland Security, and the Energy Department’s Nuclear National Security Agency, as well as the Department of State and various international activities funded by other federal agencies. The DOD base budget accounts for 76.9 percent of the security agencies’ funding. So, if the base budget were to absorb that share of the security agencies’ reduction (which is not required by the BCA), appropriations for the FY2012 DOD base budget would be at least $27.2 billion below the amount requested.
Before the BCA was enacted, however, the House had passed its version of the FY2012 National Defense Authorization Act (H.R. 1540), which would authorize $1.8 billion more than was requested for DOD in February. The bill was passed on May 26, 2011, by a vote of 322-96 after a floor debate highlighted by a relatively narrow vote (204-215) to reject an amendment by Representative McGovern that would have required the President to send Congress an accelerated plan for handing over security operations in Afghanistan to the government of that country. The Senate Armed Services Committee reported on June 22, 2011 its version of the authorization act (S. 1253) which would authorize $6.4 billion less that the Administration requested for FY2012, of which $5.9 billion would be cut from the base budget.
The version of the FY2012 DOD appropriations act (H.R. 2219) passed by the House on June 14, 2011, would reduce the President’s requested base budget by $8.9 billion. However, the bill would provide $842 million more than the President’s $117.8 billion OCO request. Thus the net reduction to the President’s request for H.R. 2219 as passed by the House would be $8.1 billion.
The Administration’s $14.8 billion request for FY2012 military construction appropriations is funded in a companion bill, H.R. 2025. See CRS Report R41939, Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies: FY2012 Appropriations, coordinated by Daniel H. Else.
The Senate Appropriations Committee reported on September 15, 2011, an amended version of H.R. 2219, the FY2012 DOD bill, which would provide $620.2 billion for DOD in FY2012, $29.39 billion less than the President requested for programs funded by this bill. Of the $29.13 billion by which the bill would reduce funding for the base budget, $9.9 billion was shifted into the part of the bill that funds OCO, where it would fund the activities for which it had been requested in the first place, principally operation and maintenance activities and a few procurement programs, notably including the purchase of three types of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). Those funds shifted by the committee from the base budget into the OCO budget would offset funds the committee had cut from the OCO budget request, including $5.0 billion that was cut because of President Obama’s announcement on June 22, 2011 that the number of U.S. troops in Afghanistan would be reduced by 33,000 by the end of FY2012.
Date of Report: October 19, 2011
Number of Pages: 83
Order Number: R41861
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