House appropriators are taking a far less aggressive stance on national missile defense programs than their colleagues in the House Armed Services Committee, either matching the Pentagon’s funding requests or providing smaller spending increases.
For example, last week, the House Armed Services Committee voted to boost spending for the Ground-Based Midcourse Defense (GMD) system by $460 million above the $903 million requested by the Pentagon.
The funding provided in the House Armed Services Committee’s bill includes $100 million for the Defense Department to evaluate possible locations for a new covered missile defense site on the East Coast of the United States.
While the funding is included within the GMD budget line, the legislation would not require the new site to use GMD interceptors.
Meanwhile, members of the House Appropriations subcommittee on defense are recommending a much smaller $75 million increase for the same program.
There is no indication in the appropriators’ mark-up of the defense appropriations bill that the additional $75 million is intended for a third interceptor site on the East Coast.
The House authorizers have also added $374 million to Advanced Submarine System Development, an account that includes R&D funding for the Ohio-class ballistic-missile submarine replacement.
While House appropriators fully funded the Pentagon’s $555 million request, they did not recommend additional funding for the same account.
Within the Energy Department’s budget, the House Armed Services Committee recommended adding $99 million to the Obama administration’s $1.1 billion request for naval nuclear reactors.
“This increase will support continued development of an advanced ‘life-of-the-boat’ nuclear reactor for the Ohio-class replacement submarine program,” the committee’s report said.
In January, the Pentagon announced its decision to delay procurement of the Ohio-class ballistic missile submarine replacement by two years.
The legislation passed by the House Armed Services Committee last week would add funding for the submarine program that would keep it on its original schedule.
House appropriators have not approved similar funding increases. In the energy and water appropriations bill, passed by the House Appropriations Committee April 25, there was no additional funding provided for the naval reactors.
The full House is expected to debate the defense authorization bill later this week, while the House Appropriations Committee is scheduled to review its defense subcommittee’s recommendations May 17.
As noted above, the committee already passed the 2013 energy and water appropriations bill, which includes funding for the National Nuclear Security Administration, which is housed within the Department of Energy.