Monday, January 04, 2010

Obama Approves $636bn Defense-Spending Bill (Better Than Expected)

President Barack Obama has signed into law a USD636 billion Fiscal Year 2010 defense spending bill. The bill funds the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan at USD128 billion.

In terms of specific funding for ground forces, the legislation provides USD6.3 billion - about USD825 million above the request - for the mine-resistant ambush-protected (MRAP) vehicle fund "in order to complete procurement" of over 6,600 new MRAP all-terrain vehicles (M-ATVs) to be used in Afghanistan.

The spending measure also includes USD5 billion for the 'Overseas Contingency Operations Transfer Fund' that is intended to help "rebalance US forces between Iraq and Afghanistan".

The US Army and US Marine Corps (USMC) are to receive an overall USD3.34 billion "to increase and improve the military's fleet of helicopters".

US Air Force (USAF) programs that avoided the fate of total cancellation, such as the Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor, also fared relatively well in congressional debates over the spending legislation.

Lawmakers matched the president's request for 30 Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter aircraft budgeted at USD6.8 billion.

Aircraft procurement was the top-line item for the navy, amounting to a total of USD18 billion. That total included USD1.5 billion for 18 Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet fighters. An additional USD1.6 billion was set aside for 22 Boeing EA-18G Growlers.

The navy and the marines also secured funds for 20 F-35 Lightning IIs as part of the total USD6.8 billion DoD F-35 buy of 30 aircraft.

Lawmakers provided USD15 billion for shipbuilding programs - USD120 million over the service's request - for seven ships.