The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Barry launches a Tomahawk cruise missile. Under a House committee plan to shift defense budget monies, 96 Tomahawk cruise missiles would be purchased. (Lt.j.g. Monika Hess/US Navy)
WASHINGTON — The US House Armed Services Committee wants to shift billions of dollars from things such as service contracts and museums to Pentagon weapon programs.
In its version of the 2015 Pentagon authorization legislation unveiled Monday, the panel proposes a slew of funding transfers that would give the services billions to refuel the USS George Washington aircraft carrier, develop missile defenses with Israel, buy EA-18G aircraft and upgrade Abrams tanks.
The legislation is Chairman Rep. Buck McKeon’s mark of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). This will be the starting point for the California Republican’s committee on Wednesday when it debates and votes on an expected large number of amendments. The bill authorizes $521.3 billion in base Pentagon spending, and $79.4 billion for its overseas contingency operations budget, an amount that, if enacted, would be $30.7 billion smaller than the amount authorized for 2014.
The HASC bill proposes shifting $796.2 million to refuel the CVN-76 aircraft carrier, $450 million for five EA-18Gs, $348 million for the “Israeli Cooperative Missile Defense” program, $800 million for the LPD-8 amphibious ship program and $120 million for the Abrams upgrades.
It also proposes $82 million for 96 Tomahawk missiles, $80 million for body armor and over $240 million for three combat vehicle programs.
Notably, the legislation proposes shifting $1 billion into military readiness accounts. That would address lawmakers’ worries that across-the-board cuts have disproportionately hit areas such as training and maintenance, leaving the US military less ready to perform potential missions.
Programs taking hits would include the Pentagon’s Joint IED Defeat Organization ($49.5 million), Littoral Combat Ship program ($350 million), Energy Department uranium enrichment fund ($100 million), and $817.5 million from accounts used to pay for service contracts.
The Marine Corps Museum would lose $9 million from its requested budget. ■