The Senate Armed Forces Committee filed his version of the Defense Authorization Bill for FY22 last week, providing further insight into the details of the $ 25 billion defense increase recommended by the panel. The committee initially passed its version of the bill in July by a 23-3 vote, and the recent tabling of the bill paves the way for the amendment process and a possible vote on the legislation.
The committee recommends adding $ 11.8 billion for procurement programs and $ 4.1 billion for research, development, testing and evaluation. If approved, these increases would give the Pentagon $ 144.1 billion for procurement and $ 116.1 billion for RTD & E in fiscal year 22.
Funding for Navy purchases would increase by $ 6.7 billion, the largest increase of all major services. Most of this funding is for airplanes ($ 2.7 billion) and warships ($ 2.5 billion). The Navy is also seeing the largest increase in research and development, earning $ 1.1 billion. The Navy would receive additional funding for five F-35Cs, one E-2D, two C-130Js and one KC-130J, two CH-53K helicopters and two MQ-4C Triton unmanned aerial vehicles. The committee recommends adding $ 1.7 billion for a second destroyer, as well as advance funding for the purchase of a third FY23 destroyer. The service would also receive an additional $ 250 million in advance supply for the LDP 17 Flight II program, $ 350 million to expedite construction of LHA 9, and $ 270 million for expeditionary rapid transport. However, the bill would reduce $ 299.9 million for used marine shipping vessels because funds from the previous year were not committed.
The Air Force would see its supply coffers increase by $ 3.4 billion in FY22, with $ 2.9 billion of that total allocated to planes. The service would also earn $ 915.7 billion for research and development, not including an additional $ 524.1 million for Space Force RDT & E. The bill adds one F-35A, five F-15EX and $ 75 million to purchase a Valkyrie aircraft under the Skyborg program. The legislation would prohibit the Air Force from withdrawing any A-10 aircraft and would also prevent the service from reducing the C-130 fleet to fewer than 292 aircraft. The Air Force would also be prevented from withdrawing any B-1 bomber until the new B-21 is deployed. The bill allows for the surrender of up to 18 KC-135s and 12 KC-10s, but the Air Force would be prevented from pursuing a tracking refueller until the KC-46’s remote vision system is fully operational.
The Senate panel wants to give the military an additional $ 1.4 billion for supplies. Almost $ 658 million of that figure is for weapons and combat vehicles. An additional $ 328 million is added for aircraft, as well as $ 281.1 million for ammunition. The committee recommends strengthening funding for Army research and development, particularly for systems that support multi-domain operations. The bill also adds funding for the UH-60L and CH-47F Block II helicopters. An additional $ 746 million is added to support sustainable combat vehicles. Funding for the development of sustainable combat vehicles is also increased, including $ 64 million for Abrams tank upgrades and $ 21 million for Stryker and Bradley active protection systems.
The House has already passed its version of the FY22 defense authorization bill, which also included about $ 25 billion in additional defense funding. The two bills would authorize about $ 740 billion for the Pentagon in FY22, compared to about $ 715 requested. However, the House bill devotes more of this funding to procurement programs, recommending an additional $ 14.9 billion for procurement and $ 6.1 billion for RTD & E. It’s also important to remember that authorization bills don’t actually dictate the amount of funding the Pentagon will ultimately receive. It is a job for the appropriators of Congress. However, the defense increases in clearance bills show that there is bipartisan support to increase the top line of defense in Exercise 22.
The House appropriations committee did not recommend an increase in its margin of defense earlier this year, and the Senate appropriations committee did not mark its version of the bill. If Senate officials follow suit with the armed forces committees, it will be up to conference negotiators to determine the scope of any increases in the final defense spending bill for the year.
The end result won’t be known for some time, as Congress won’t be able to pass a full budget by the start of the fiscal year on October 1. Lawmakers are now working out the details of an ongoing resolution that will keep the government current until December.