JSF Is Fine, Says LockMart Consultant — F35 Lightning II-Fighter of The Future Video — Israel sticks to its guns on F-35 — SUMMARY: FY2010 DEFENSE APPROPRIATIONS — Chicago projects funded in Defense bill: Columbia, Northwestern, Rehabilitation Institute, Rush, Loyola — F-22 Necessary For Continued Dominance — U.S. Fighter Gap: Myth or Reality? — SUMMARY: FY 2010 MILITARY CONSTRUCTION AND VETERANS AFFAIRS AND RELATED AGENCIES CONSOLIDATED APPROPRIATIONS BILL — F 35 Distributed Aperture System EO DAS Video
Taxpayers for Common Sense
The four top Congressional appropriators are responsible for 15 percent of the take: Senate Defense Appropriations Chairman Daniel Inouye (D-HI) sponsored 37 earmarks worth $198.2 million, and Ranking Member Thad Cochran 45 worth $167 million.
Over in the House, Defense Appropriations Chairman John Murtha (D-PA) sponsored 23 earmarks worth $76.5 million, while Ranking Member C.W. Bill Young (R-FL) got behind 36 worth $83.7 million.
… Senate Appropriations Chairman Daniel Inoyue (D-HI) was behind several big-ticket items, such as a $2.5 million earmark for the Hawaii Federal Health Care Network and $25 million for two space programs—the Maui Space Surveillance System and the High Accuracy Network Determination System—located on Hawaii.
Inouye also teamed with John Kerry (D-MA) on a $20 million earmark to establish the Edward M. Kennedy Institute, a program at the University of Boston-Massachusetts intended to further civic education.
Committee ranking member Thad Cochran (R-MS) was no slouch in the earmarking department, having requested 103 earmarks worth $775 million. Cochran’s district also benefitted from $1.7 billion added to the bill for an additional DDG-51 Destroyer ship, though that was not disclosed as an earmark…
Economic Club of Chicago
As Delivered by Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates, Chicago, IL, Thursday, July 16, 2009
“Air superiority and missile defense – two areas where the budget has attracted the most criticism – provide case studies. Let me start with the controversy over the F-22 fighter jet. We had to consider, when preparing for a future potential conventional state-on-state conflict, what is the right mix of the most advanced fighter aircraft and other weapons to deal with the known and projected threats to U.S. air supremacy?
For example, we now have unmanned aerial vehicles that can simultaneously perform intelligence, reconnaissance, and surveillance missions as well as deliver precision-guided bombs and missiles. The president’s budget request would buy 48 of the most advanced UAVs – aircraft that have a greater range than some of our manned fighters, in addition to the ability to loiter for hours over a target. And we will buy many more in the future.
We also took into consideration the capabilities of the newest manned combat aircraft program, the stealth F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. The F-35 is 10 to 15 years newer than the F-22, carries a much larger suite of weapons, and is superior in a number of areas – most importantly, air-to-ground missions such as destroying sophisticated enemy air defenses.
It is a versatile aircraft, less than half the total cost of the F-22, and can be produced in quantity with all the advantages produced by economies of scale – some 500 will be bought over the next five years, more than 2,400 over the life of the program. And we already have eight foreign development partners. It has had development problems to be sure, as has every advanced military aircraft ever fielded. But if properly supported, the F-35 will be the backbone of America’s tactical aviation fleet for decades to come if – and it is a big if – money is not drained away to spend on other aircraft that our military leadership considers of lower priority or excess to our needs.
Having said that, the F-22 is clearly a capability we do need – a niche, silver-bullet solution for one or two potential scenarios – specifically the defeat of a highly advanced enemy fighter fleet. The F-22, to be blunt, does not make much sense anyplace else in the spectrum of conflict. Nonetheless, supporters of the F-22 lately have promoted its use for an ever expanding list of potential missions.
These range from protecting the homeland from seaborne cruise missiles to, as one retired general recommended on TV, using F-22s to go after Somali pirates who in many cases are teenagers with AK-47s – a job we already know is better done at much less cost by three Navy SEALs. These are examples of how far-fetched some of the arguments have become for a program that has cost $65 billion – and counting – to produce 187 aircraft, not to mention the thousands of uniformed Air Force positions that were sacrificed to help pay for it.
In light of all these factors, and with the support of the Air Force leadership, I concluded that 183 – the program of record since 2005, plus four more added in the FY 09 supplemental – was a sufficient number of F-22s and recommended as such to the president.
The reaction from parts of Washington has been predictable for many of the reasons I described before. The most substantive criticism is that completing the F-22 program means we are risking the future of U.S. air supremacy. To assess this risk, it is worth looking at real-world potential threat and assessing the capabilities that other countries have now or in the pipeline.
Consider that by 2020, the United States is projected to have nearly 2,500 manned combat aircraft of all kinds. Of those, nearly 1,100 will be the most advanced fifth generation F-35s and F-22s. China, by contrast, is projected to have no fifth generation aircraft by 2020. And by 2025, the gap only widens. The U.S. will have approximately 1,700 of the most advanced fifth generation fighters versus a handful of comparable aircraft for the Chinese. Nonetheless, some portray this scenario as a dire threat to America’s national security..
…All of these decisions involved considering trade-offs, balancing risks, and setting priorities – separating nice-to-haves from have-to-haves, requirements from appetites. We cannot expect to eliminate risk and danger by simply spending more – especially if we’re spending on the wrong things. But more to the point, we all – the military, the Congress, and industry – have to face some iron fiscal realities.
The last defense budget submitted by President George W. Bush for Fiscal Year 2009 was $515 billion. In that budget the Bush administration proposed – at my recommendation – a Fiscal Year 2010 defense budget of $524 billion. The budget just submitted by President Obama for FY 2010 was $534 billion.
Even after factoring inflation, and some of the war costs that were moved from supplemental appropriations, President Obama’s defense request represents a modest but real increase over the last Bush budget. I know. I submitted them both. In total, by one estimate, our budget adds up to about what the entire rest of the world combined spends on defense. Only in the parallel universe that is Washington, D.C., would that be considered “gutting” defense…
… So where do we go from here? Authorization for more F-22s is in both versions of the defense bill working its way through the Congress. The president has indicated that he has real red lines in this budget, including the F-22. Some might ask: Why threaten a veto and risk a confrontation over a couple billion dollars for a dozen or so planes?
The grim reality is that with regard to the budget we have entered a zero-sum game. Every defense dollar diverted to fund excess or unneeded capacity – whether for more F-22s or anything else – is a dollar that will be unavailable to take care of our people, to win the wars we are in, to deter potential adversaries, and to improve capabilities in areas where America is underinvested and potentially vulnerable. That is a risk I cannot accept and I will not take.
And, with regard to something like the F-22, irrespective of whether the number of aircraft at issue is 12 planes or 200, if we can’t bring ourselves to make this tough but straightforward decision – reflecting the judgment of two very different presidents, two different secretaries of defense, two chairmen of the joint chiefs of staff, and the current Air Force Secretary and Chief of Staff, where do we draw the line? And if not now, when? If we can’t get this right – what on earth can we get right? It is time to draw the line on doing Defense business as usual.”
Pelosi (CA) Earmarks
||Intended Recipient or Location
||Hunters Point Naval Shipyard Remediation
||City and County of San Francisco
||Neuroimaging and Neuropsychiatric Trauma in US Warfighters
||Northern California Institute for Research and Education (NCIRE)
||The Presidio Heritage Center
||Military Intelligence Service Historic Learning Center
||Advanced Development of Antiviral Prophylactics and Therapeutics
||Prosetta Bioconformatics, Inc
||Drydock #1 Remediation and Disposal
||City and County of San Francisco
||HIV Prevention and Reducing Risk to US Military Personnel
||J. David Gladstone Institutes
||School of Nursing Advancement
||University of San Francisco
||Lifestyle Modifications to Reduce Chronic Disease in Military Personnel
||Preventive Medicine Research Institute
||Military Intelligence Service Historic Learning Center
||Military Intelligence Service Historic Learning Center
|Source: Taxpayers Org Earmark Database: earmark database.
Murtha (PA) Earmarks
||Intended Recipient or Location
||Inventory for Defense Applications
||Latrobe Specialty Steel
||Armor and Structures Transformation Initiative-Steel to Titanium
||AELED IED/WMD Electronic Signature Detection
||Army Vehicle Condition Based Maintenance
||MTS Technologies, Inc.
||GAPS/AWS Horizontal Integration
||Submarine Navigation Decision Aids
||Advanced Acoustic Concepts
||Military Lens System Fabrication and Assembly
||Optical Systems Technology Inc.
||Turbo Fuel Cell Engine
||Pittsburgh Electric Engines Inc.
||Titanium Powder Advanced Forged Parts Program
||Feather Lite Breaks, LLC.
||Affordable Miniature TOPEN Radar for Special Operations Craft—Riverine (SOC-R)
||Hand-Held Apparatus for Mobile Mapping and Expedited Reporting
||Remote Bio-Medical Detector
||UFR/QTL Chem Bio Defense Systems
||Engine Health Management Plus Data Repository Center
||RJ Lee Group
||FirstLink Technology Transfer Program
||Pittsburgh Gateways Corporation
||Framework for Electronic Health Record-Linked Predictive Models
||University of Pittsburgh
||Non-Lethal Defense Technologies
||The Pennsylvania State University
||Joint Precision AirDrop Systems-Wind Profiling Portable Radar
||Planning Systems Inc.
||Body Armor Improved Ballistic Protection, Research and Development
||KDH Defense Systems, Inc.
||Rapid Forensic Evaluation of Microbes in Biodefense
||Indiana University of Pennsylvania
||Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund for De-Mining Activities
||Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund
||Exceptional Family Transitional Training Program for US Military Soldiers, Sailors, Marines and Airmen
||Marshall Legacy Institute Demining Program
||Marshall Legacy Institute
|Source: Taxpayers Org Earmark Database: earmark database.
Aviation Week – Posted by Bill Sweetman
“If you don’t follow the defense business closely, then you can be excused for believing that the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter is in trouble.” So says Washington defense uber-source Dr Loren Thompson, of the Lexington Institute, in a new issue brief on the JSF. “But the F-35 program isn’t really all that troubled,” he reassures us.
That settles it. I feel much better now. Both the Washington Post and the New York Times have tagged Dr Thompson as a Lockheed Martin consultant in the past few months, but we know that he would never allow such considerations to color his views.
The more serious concern is that the issue brief makes no sense.
The first of four points in the brief is that “there is no alternative” to the JSF. Even if that’s true (Boeing would disagree in the case of the Navy, and lots of people in the case of export customers) it does not mean that the program is going well. At best, the trashing of alternatives implies that JSF will be continued no matter what, at any cost and on any timescale. But that’s not success: with flat budgets, such an outcome will gut US and allied air power.
The good doctor’s second point is that other programs (like the A400M) are doing worse than the F-35, which is “months behind schedule”.
What schedule exactly?
The F-35 is months, in some respects almost a year, behind the schedule established in May 2008, which was a year later than the 2005 schedule, which in turn was 18 months behind the original schedule that was set in 2001.
Next: “The design concept is sound”. This statement is broad enough to sound good without meaning a lot. Thompson appears to be suggesting that the F-35 is a low-risk project – but if so, why is it taking so long? And it’s exactly where he cites advantages – in building a family of aircraft in large numbers – where the program faces challenges.
Finally, “the development strategy is refined”. The development team, Thompson says, has learned lessons from the F-22, spent money to reduce risks and used new tools to manage the program. But look at the results.
The F-35 has been in full-scale development for just over eight years. At its own eight-year point, by mid-1999, the F-22 had logged 275 flight hours, over twice the F-35′s total, supercruised at Mach 1.5, and was preparing for tests at 70 degrees angle of attack – compared to which, the F-35 hasn’t made it to baby steps.
Neither is there much argument that the F-22 was a bigger step forward in aircraft design than the F-35 – a supercruiser, the pioneer of the F-35′s avionics integration, more agile, probably stealthier, and with all-new engines. So I’m a little unclear about what beneficial lessons have been learned.
Israel is sticking to its guns on a demand the United States allow it to integrate its own electronic warfare suite in Lockheed Martin’s F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, even though the Americans have given the green light to install other Israeli systems in the jet.
Israel wants to buy an initial batch of 25 F-35s, enough for one squadron, in fiscal 2012 and would like to acquire another 50.
The U.S. Department of Defense and Maryland-based Lockheed Martin, the prime contractor in the program, want to finalize a contract with Israel as soon as possible.
The main holdup has been the Israelis’ insistence on installing their own systems — including communications and radar — as well as weapons aboard the F-35, as they were allowed to do with the Boeing F-15 and Lockheed Martin F-16 aircraft they have bought from the United States over the last two decades.
The Americans have been reluctant to allow that because it would compromise ultra-sensitive software codes. But a senior Pentagon official disclosed last Wednesday that the Israelis could install most of the systems they want provided they finalize a deal in the next few months.
But the official, Jon Schreiber, who heads the F-35 international program, insisted that the Israelis’ electronic warfare suite, the core of their demand, could not be included — not now, at any rate.
“Some time in the future, if policy changes, or things change, that could change as well,” he said.
Other partner countries in the JSF program, such as Britain, have requested the software codes for operational sovereignty and have also been turned down.
In 2006 the United Kingdom threatened to scrap plans to buy 138 of the radar-evading aircraft if it was not able to maintain and upgrade its fleet without U.S. involvement.
That dispute was settled later that year, with the United Kingdom given operational sovereignty. Britain committed $2.7 billion to develop the F-35. That was more than any other of the United States’ partners in the project, which include Turkey, Canada, the Netherlands and Norway.
Another partner, Australia, last week approved the acquisition of 14 F-25s at an estimated cost of $2.96 billion. The first squadron should be operational by 2018, with two more squadrons — 72 aircraft all told — ready by 2021.
Lockheed Martin expects to sell up to 4,500 F-35s worldwide, with the United States spending around $410 billion over the next quarter-century to buy 2,443 F-35 variants, its costliest arms acquisitions ever.
The Jerusalem Post has reported that the Israelis will continue to demand their electronic warfare system must be integrated into the stealth aircraft, a fifth-generation fighter.
The F-35 would be the ideal platform for a pre-emptive strike Israel has threatened to launch against Iran’s nuclear program if Tehran does not abandon its alleged drive to acquire nuclear weapons.
But the way things are going on the F-35 purchase, the Israelis are not likely to have any of the strike jets operational until 2015 at the earliest.
These would be worth their weight in gold if Iran ever got its hands on the S-300PMU air-defense system that Russia has contracted to supply.
This state-of-the-art system, capable of intercepting six missiles or aircraft at a range of 120 miles up to altitudes of 90,000 feet, would be a formidable defense against Israel’s high-tech air force.
Right now, the Iranians have nothing remotely as effective as the S-300. Moscow has failed to deliver any of the missiles to Iran, largely because of U.S. and Israeli objections.
In January, the Pentagon is expected to submit to Israel an offer and a price per aircraft — likely to be around $130 million.
Israel, which has indicated that it’s prepared to pay $100 million per plane, must respond by no later than March and conclude a deal by June or July, with 2015 the earliest delivery date.
David Cenciotti’s Blog: F-35 JSF: not an open source platform
The Fiscal Year 2010 Defense Appropriations Bill continues to put troops first, preparing them for whatever emergencies may arise, providing them with first class weapons and equipment, and ensuring that they and their families are well taken care of.
The bill makes critical investments in the health, well-being and readiness of our armed forces; addressing issues raised by servicemembers, their families, and Department of Defense officials in testimony before the Congress, and discovered through visits to military bases across the United States and overseas. At the same time, the bill begins to rein in the use of contractors and return inherently governmental functions to Department of Defense personnel.
The bill does not address the President’s new Afghanistan security strategy because the Administration has yet to request any funding for that initiative.
The bill also includes a number of other provisions that are necessary to meet our obligations and prevent crucial programs from lapsing.
Bill Total for Defense
FY2009 Enacted: $625.3 billion
President’s Request: $640.1 billion
House Passed: $636.3 billion
Senate Passed: $636.3 billion
2010 Total Bill: $636.3 billion
KEY INVESTMENTS KEEPING OUR COMMITMENTS TO OUR TROOPS AND THEIR FAMILIES
Military Pay: The bill provides a 3.4% military pay increase, 0.5% above the request.
First Class Medical Care: $29.2 billion, $3 billion above 2009 and $1 billion above the request, for the Defense Health Program to provide quality medical care for servicemembers and their families and funding to address the serious financial challenges facing the Defense Health Program; including fully funding the Department of Defense request of $372 million for military medical research; in addition $120 million is included for Traumatic Brain Injury and Psychological Health Research.
Supporting Military Families: $472.4 million for Family Advocacy programs and full funding for Family Support and Yellow Ribbon to provide support to military families, including quality child care, job training for spouses, and expanded counseling and outreach to families experiencing the separation and stress of war.
Readiness and Training: $154 billion, $1.3 billion above 2009, for the Defense Operation and Maintenance Account to increase readiness and training of our troops. The bill rebalances funding from preparing for Cold War-era type conflicts to the highest priority readiness requirements for the hybrid operations that our military will be facing for the foreseeable future.
INCREASING OVERSIGHT TO IDENTIFY WASTE, FRAUD, AND ABUSE
Recognizing that the Department of Defense has the largest share of the federal budget, the bill includes a dramatic increase in funding to increase oversight to rein in waste, fraud, and abuse, and makes a concerted effort to in-source inherently government functions.
Reining in Outsourcing: $5 billion, greater than the previous year, to allow defense personnel, not contractors, to perform critical department functions. The Department estimates that every position that is converted from contract to federal civilian saves on average $44,000 per year. Additionally, the bill reduces contracted advisory and assistance services by $51 million, and includes general provisions to stop further conversions by the Department of Defense from government functions to contractors.
The bill also directs DoD to in-source the task of vetting and issuing Common Access Cards and report on planned improvements of access control because the Committee found that about 212,000 contractors had been mistakenly been given Common Access Cards, causing a potential security risk.
Inspector General Oversight: $288 million, $16 million above the request, for the Inspector General to hire additional investigators to ensure proper oversight of DoD acquisition and contracting.
Undefinitized Contracts: The bill contains a provision restricting the use of funds in certain aircraft programs until prior year contracts are fully negotiated and definitized so that we know what exactly we are buying; this restores much needed discipline to the contracting process and providing leverage for the department to achieve the best possible pricing for the taxpayer.
IMPROVING MILITARY EQUIPMENT
The bill includes $104.4 billion for procurement, $3.46 billion above 2009 and $816 million below the request, and $80.5 billion for research and development, $17 million above 2009 and $1.9 billion above the request, to develop and field the weapons and equipment our troops need.
Bradley Fighting Vehicles: $526 million as requested for Situational Awareness upgrades to 353 vehicles.
Stryker Combat Vehicles: $364 million in the base bill, $25 million below the request due to excessive program management costs.
E-2D Hawkeye: $649 million, $142 million above the request, for 3 E-2D Hawkeye aircraft, one above the request; and $362.5 million for the continued development of the E-2D Advanced Hawkeye aircraft.
F-18 Super Hornet: $1.5 billion for 18 F/A-18E/F Super Hornet Tactical aircraft, nine above the request; and $1.6 billion for 22 EA-18G Growler electronic attack aircraft.
F-35 Lightning: $6.8 billion, matching the requested, for the procurement of 30 F-35 Lightning Aircraft, including 16 Short Take-off and Vertical Landing (STOVL) variants for the Marine Corps, 4 Carrier variants for the Navy, and 10 conventional variants for the Air Force. The bill also includes $465 million, not requested, to continue development and initial procurement of the Alternative Engine for the Joint Strike Fighter.
V-22 Osprey: $2.7 billion for the procurement of 30 MV-22 and five CV-22 Osprey aircraft, equal to the President’s request.
E-8 JSTARS: $62 million, $46 million above the request, for JSTARS re-engining research and development and $54 million for continued procurement.
Air Force Cargo Aircraft: $2.5 billion for 10 additional C-17s above the budget request; $905 million for five C/HC/MC-130Js and advance procurement for 20 C/HC/MC-130s; $319 million, matching the request, for eight C-27J Joint Cargo Aircraft; and $202 million, $49 million above the request, for Infrared Missile Countermeasures for the C-17 and C-130 aircraft.
Multi-mission Maritime Aircraft: $1.2 billion for the continued development of the Multi-mission Maritime Aircraft.
Next Generation Aerial Refueling Aircraft: $306 million for the development of the Next Generation Aerial Refueling Aircraft.
Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs): $554 million, matching the request, to procure RQ-4 Global Hawk UAVs; and $489 million for 24 MQ-9 Reapers.
Military Helicopters: $3.34 billion to increase and improve the military’s fleet of helicopters, including $326 million, as requested, for 54 Light Utility Helicopters; $1.26 billion as requested for 79 UH-60 Blackhawk Helicopters; $882 million for 27 CH-47 Chinook Helicopters; $584.8 million for 24 UH-1Y Huey/AH-1Z Cobra Helicopters; and $145 million above the request for five HH-60M helicopters and modifications to the existing HH-60G fleet.
Presidential Helicopter: $130 million, of which $100 million is for technology capture to recoup investments in research and development of the VH-71, an increase of $44.8 million above the request.
Tactical Wheeled Vehicles: $498 million for the procurement of Medium Tactical Vehicles, and $613 million for the procurement of Heavy Tactical Vehicles. The Overseas Contingency Operations portion of the bill includes additional funding for tactical vehicles.
Targeting pods: $68 million, $18.5 million above the request, for targeting pods to increase the combat effectiveness and precision strike ability of U.S. military aircraft.
Guided MLRS Rockets: $293.6 million, as requested, for 2,628 Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System Rockets, to enhance the precision strike ability for U.S. artillery.
Shipbuilding: $15 billion, $120 million above the request, for the procurement of 7 Navy ships, including: one DDG-51 Guided Missile Destroyer; one SSN-774 Attack Submarine; two Littoral Combat Ships; one Intra-theater Connector Ship; and two T-AKE Auxiliary Dry Cargo/Ammunition Ships.
Enhanced Radar Technology: $32 million, $30 million above the request, for advanced radar technology.
Electronic Warfare: $248.5 million, as requested, for continued development of electronic warfare devices to protect our troops.
Advanced Communications: $880 million, as requested, for continued development of the Joint Tactical Radio System; and $50 million for Digital Communications, $50 million above the request. The recommendation provides $1.8 billion, matching the request, for a fourth Advanced Extremely High Frequency communications satellites.
Missile Defense: $589 million, matching the request, for the Theater High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system and the Standard Missile 3 (SM-3); $569 million, matching the request, for the continued development of the Patriot/MEADS Combined Aggregate Program; $638.8 million, matching the request, for Ballistic Missile Defense Sensors Capability; $50.5 million, matching the request, for Ballistic Missile Defense European Capability; $202 million, $82.8 million above the request, for the Israeli Cooperative Program; and $80 million, not requested, for the Early Interceptor Program.
Future Combat Systems: $2.29 billion for continued development of the restructured Future Combat Systems Program. The recommendation is $330 million below the request due to excessive termination liability and $1.1 billion below 2009.
SPACE: $292 million, $97.4 million below the request, for the Global Positioning System III, operational control segment (OCX), plus $50 million for next generation military satellite communications system.
Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA): $3 billion, $246 million below the request for research and development programs because of chronic under-execution.
OVERSEAS CONTINGENCY OPERATIONS
The bill does not contain any portion of the Administration’s expected request for additional funds for operations in Afghanistan. The bill does include funding for existing operations and maintenance.
Ongoing Military Operations: $101.1 billion, $2.3 billion below the request, for operations and maintenance, and military personnel requirements for ongoing military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, and to support preparations to continue withdrawal from Iraq, including:
- $15 billion for military personnel.
- $5 billion for the Overseas Contingency Operations Transfer Fund, to respond to the highly variable nature of the costs to rebalance US forces between Iraq and Afghanistan, and to begin the redeployment from Iraq. This account carries protections so that the Congressional defense committees have the opportunity to review and approve any funding actions in this account.
- $1.2 billion for defense health programs to provide medical care to active forces as well as mobilized Reserve Components, and their family members. This funding also provides care for combat injuries and other additional support requirements including communications, telemedicine, public health support, and post deployment health assessments.
Equipment and Force Structure: $23.36 billion, $1.71 billion above the request, for equipment used by our service members in Iraq and Afghanistan, including:
- $6.3 billion, $825 million above the request, for the Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) Vehicle Fund to procure over 6,600 new MRAP all-terrain vehicles to protect our troops.
- $80 million for the procurement of MQ-1 Predator Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, a reduction of $170 million due to request in excess of capacity.
- $1.1 billion, $187 above the request, for the procurement of High Mobility Multi-Purpose Wheeled Vehicles (HMMWVs).
- $863 million, $577 million above the request, for the procurement of Family of Medium Tactical Vehicles.
- $803 million, $180 million above the request, for the procurement of Family of Heavy Tactical Vehicles.
IMPORTANT POLICY PROVISIONS
No Permanent Bases: Continues a general provision prohibiting the establishment of permanent bases in Iraq or Afghanistan.
Torture: Continues a general provision prohibiting the torture of detainees held in US custody.
CERP: Provides $1.2 billion, a reduction of $300 million from the request, for the Commanders Emergency Response Program (CERP), and withholds $500 million in funding until the department develops and submits a comprehensive spending plan.
Guantanamo Bay Detention Facility: Provides no funds for the closure of the detention facility at Guantanamo Naval base.
Small Business Loans: Allows the Small Business Administration (SBA) to continue two temporary enhancements to its loan guarantee program through February 28, 2010 to make loans more attractive to borrowers and lenders and to free up capital, with one raising the percentage of loan amounts that the SBA can guarantee to 90% and the other allowing SBA to waive or reduce loan fees. Small businesses represent a major engine for the U.S. economy, but many small business owners have had a difficult time securing needed loans in these tight economic times. The extension is fully offset.
Patriot Act: Extends authorizations through February 28, 2010.
Flood Insurance: Extends the National Flood Insurance Program through February 28, 2010.
Medicare Physician Payments Extension: Delays, through February 28, 2010, a scheduled 21.2% cut in Medicare physician payments. The delay is fully offset.
Surface Transportation Authorization Extension: Extends the authorization for the highway, transit, highway safety and motor carrier safety programs of the Department of Transportation until February 28, 2010.
Unemployment Insurance: Extends expanded unemployment benefits, including increased payouts and longer duration of benefits, through February 28, 2010.
Help with Health Insurance for Unemployed Workers (COBRA): Extends from nine to 15 months the 65% COBRA health insurance subsidy for individuals who have lost their jobs. The job lost eligibility date is extended in the provision to February 28, 2010. Approximately seven million people benefited from the premium subsidy provided in the Recovery Act.
Satellite Television Extension and Localism: Extends the compulsory copyright license used by satellite television providers, which expires on December 31, 2009, through February 28, 2010. The extension is fully offset.
Nutrition Assistance: Includes language ensuring the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) will have sufficient funding to meet the growing demand for nutrition assistance from modest-income families and provides $400 million in additional funding for state administrative expenses, to speed up processing of applications. SNAP participation increased 18% in the last year to over 37 million people.
Assistance Eligibility: Maintains Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) poverty guidelines at 2009 levels through February 28, 2010 in order to prevent a reduction in eligibility for certain means-tested programs, including Medicaid, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), and child nutrition.
Chicago Sun-Times: By Lynn Sweet
WASHINGTON–The Senate, in an unusual Saturday morning session, sent President Obama the massive Pentagon funding bill. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) breaks down the projects in it for Illinois. Though Chicagoans may not think of the city as a center for Defense Department contracts–a variety of academic and medical research activities in the Chicago area get funded through the Defense Department. Below, release from Durbin….
DURBIN: CONGRESS APPROVES $45.4 MILLION IN
DEFENSE FUNDING FOR PROJECTS IN ILLINOIS
[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – Assistant Senate Majority Leader Dick Durbin (D-IL) today announced that the United States Senate has approved $45,400,000 in federal funding to assist defense related facilities and projects across Illinois. Durbin is a member of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense. The legislation will now go to President Obama for his signature.
The Fiscal Year (FY) 2010 defense spending bill includes funding for the following projects:
· Columbia College Chicago, Chicago. $1,600,000 in funding for the Construct Program at Columbia College Chicago, which will develop interactive simulations for military training that provide soldiers with the ability to train in computerized real world environments. The program requires users to complete training tasks as a team and allows for the tracking and recording of motions and other characteristics of each participant during each training session. This capability, along with Construct’s ability to review session data in multiple visual formats, will allow the Army to better train soldiers for military conflicts at the unit level.
· Electric Vehicle Technology, Fairbury. $1,600,000 in funding to allow the military to test a new kind of electric engine that is designed without a transmission and can produce sufficient amounts of torque to power military vehicles. Electric Vehicle Technology in Fairbury, IL would compete to take part in this initiative.
· EPIR Technologies, Bolingbrook. $7,200,000 in funding to construct a research and manufacturing facility that will fabricate millions of cells using single-crystal cadmium telluride technology that requires less semiconductor material and eliminates the costs associated with using large glass panels to fabricate traditional materials. The project builds on earlier successes in the development and manufacturing of domestically produced substrates for infrared focal plane array sensors. Such substrates are an essential component in mission critical night-vision instruments and equipment. The material also has been found to improve solar panel manufacturing capabilities. EPIR, in Bolingbrook, would compete for this initiative.
· Hadron Particle Therapy, Batavia: $1,600,000 in funding to continue to develop a proton therapy center for patients undergoing cancer radiation therapy. At least 30 percent of patients undergoing such therapy would have a better prognosis with hadron therapy (using either neutrons or protons). Hadron therapy uses excess beam capacity from Fermilab’s proton linear accelerator to generate a neutron beam that treats advanced radio-resistant malignant tumors. Once established, Northern Illinois University will be the only institution in the United States to offer patients access to both proton and neutron cancer therapy. Durbin worked with Congressman Bill Foster (D-IL) on this project.
· Hamilton Sundstrand, Rockford. $3,200,000 in funding to support up to five different energy efficiency and thermal management programs for Defense Department aircraft. The technologies would improve performance and range for aircraft while moving toward national environmental and domestic energy goals. Hamilton Sundstrand in Rockford, Illinois would compete for this initiative. Durbin worked with Congressman Don Manzullo (R-IL) on this project.
· Illinois Army National Guard, Springfield. $6,400,000 in funding for the MRAP Vehicle Virtual Trainers program will provide training equipment to the Illinois Army National Guard, allowing it to train soldiers in operating MRAP vehicles over the streets and terrain they may encounter during deployment. MRAP Vehicle Virtual Trainers allow Illinois Army National Guard soldiers to learn to operate MRAP vehicles on “Virtual Battlefields” that are geo-specifically accurate for major areas of Iraq and Afghanistan.
· Illinois Army National Guard, Springfield. $2,400,000 in funding for the procurement of Virtual Convoy Operations Trainers (VCOT) allows soldiers to simulate convoys to identify and avoid improvised explosive devices (IEDs) in a virtual environment. The Illinois National Guard has one VCOT and must continually move it throughout the state for training. VCOTs allow combat training on virtual terrain that includes Baghdad, Tikrit, Samarra, Kabul, and Kosovo, and these trainers can network with MRAP Vehicle Virtual Trainers to allow full spectrum ground vehicle movement training.
· Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago. $2,000,000 in funding to continue the partnership between the Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT) and the Army Research Lab, with IIT developing materials that will assist the Army in advanced armor development. The project will support the analysis and virtual design of a novel class of impact-resistant materials to be employed in vehicle armor and explosives protective gear for personnel.
· Loyola University Medical Center, Maywood. $1,600,000 in funding to advance the Institute’s research into burn trauma and infections, injuries commonly encountered in battlefield and military settings. The Burn and Shock Trauma Institute at Loyola University Medical Center is a nationally recognized leader in basic and clinical research designed to improve the treatment and outcomes of patients suffering from burn injury and other trauma.
· Northwestern University, Evanston. $2,400,000 in funding to develop ultra-high-density, three-dimensional memory chips for the fabrication of flash memory devices, to be deployed for surveillance activities and communication on the battlefield. The program will pursue specific goals, including flash memory production that can be written with low voltage and memory materials made from new molecular structures, with potential in several key military and civilian applications. The project would build on Northwestern’s existing International Institute of Nanotechnology and the recently established Center for Integrated NanoSystems.
· Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, Chicago. $2,000,000 in funding to support the development of technology used for bionic limbs, focusing specifically on the development of lightweight artificial joints and magnetic technologies to control the rotation of an artificial arm. The Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago has been a leader in this type of medical technology and will provide members of the Armed Forces and others who have lost a limb or the use of a limb with more responsive artificial limbs.
· Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, Chicago. $800,000 in funding for a study of acute pain at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago. The study will investigate pain as it evolves in three different rehabilitation-based pain syndromes: post-amputation pain (e.g. phantom limb pain), spinal cord injury pain, and traumatic brain injury pain. The prevalence of pain in these populations is greater than 70% in each diagnosis and is often the principal impediment to optimal rehabilitation. The project would use leading edge methods to explore the biological, psychological, and genetic aspects of each type of pain.
· Rock Island Arsenal, Rock Island. $7,600,000 in funding for the Arsenal Support Program Initiative (ASPI) which renovates unused office and manufacturing space at Rock Island Arsenal to lease to commercial firms. ASPI was enacted by Congress in FY 2001 to encourage commercial firms to use the arsenal’s facilities. ASPI allows the arsenal to modernize and maintain infrastructure while creating jobs.
· Rock Island Arsenal, Rock Island. $800,000 in funding to demonstrate a new firetube boiler technology at Rock Island that provides higher efficiency, lower emissions, water savings, and multi-fuel capabilities to the arsenal. It will help the Arsenal save money and meet energy efficiency requirements.
· Rush University Medical Center, Chicago. $4,000,000 in funding to further develop the Center for Advanced Emergency Response and for a cooperative program between the Department of Defense and Rush University Medical Center. It would provide technical expertise to develop a disease-based biosurveillance system able to identify biological threat agents with further development to include chemical and radiological agents as well as naturally occurring disasters. These funds will help provide clinical expertise in defending against biological and chemical terrorism and in treating first responders and citizens in the case of natural disasters or acts of terrorism resulting in mass casualty incidents.
By JOHN TSUCALAS, For The Bulletin
This column is the third in this series on the best fighter ever put in service by any country at any time in history, the F-22 Raptor.
To briefly summarize the first two columns: The F-22 Raptor is the most superior fighter in the world. Its key feature is its stealth quality, which allows it to run undetected by enemy radar. Its primary purpose is to gain control of the sky above a battlefield and hold it. It can opportunistically attack ground targets, although that mission is the main role of the currently planned multi-service, multi-purpose stealth F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter (JSF). When the F-22 Raptor and the F-35 JSF are joined by the stealth B-2, they constitute a Stealth Triad that may very well be the answer to the continued extension of American airpower in world military dominance. We’re No. 1 and should want to remain so.
I’m bothered that the numbers issue of the Raptor at 186 maximum is not front-and-center in our military and budget debate. Because our national security and world primacy militarily are involved, it should be. This is more than an incidental matter, considering what is at stake. It is, in fact, a significantly critical issue.
In my last column, I wrote that a resurging, revanchist Russia, possibly joined by China, would simultaneously open up major battles for us in two theaters. China is a good prospect for conflict with us. They want the island nation of Taiwan, which we are committed to defend. To expand on this here, we aren’t ready to take on the two relative behemoths operating in concert and will not be until the planned stealth F-35 JSF is in operation in sufficient numbers.
One opinion is that the F-22 is doomed to failure because it needs forward air bases in order to operate. According to this thinking, medium range missiles would destroy these forward bases, probably fact also, to a point. We would be firing back with our B-2 long range missiles and the stealth F-35 JSF, once in service, and would be obliterating enemy firing sites through air to ground attacks. Additionally, Air Force theory holds that aerial bombing has its highest value in roughly the first two weeks of battle. That bombing softens the enemy militarily and its resolve, especially when it can’t find the stealth B-2 to shoot it. It’s demoralizing to the enemy. The B-2 would be put in play immediately to ferociously bomb missile firing locations.
Because the B-2 is the long-range strategic arm of the Stealth Triad, it needs no forward bases. It does its bombing runs and then returns home to Whiteman Air Force Base in Missouri. On schedule, the two pilots are home for dinner. Since there are 20 of this aircraft, we can repeat this process again and again. Indeed, the onslaught by these bombers can be continuous. Imagine the combinations possible here. For example, two can attack simultaneously, with another two replacing them when the first two depart for home and so on to whatever combination the command may decide. In this way, there is no rest for the enemy, just dismay.
While all of this is going on, the F-22 can help its own cause by attacking ground missile firing targets. It then has to climb high to refuel and then on to destroy enemy defensive fighters, assuring dominance of the sky above the battlefield. Additionally, the F-22 Raptors will have to provide protective cover not only for KC-135 Sratotankers – refueling Tankers – but also the long line of aircraft needing gas.
In the Stealth Triad, the first two aircraft over the battlefield are the F-22 and the B-2, in that order, with the former to grab air control and the latter to devastate key enemy targets, airfields, anti-aircraft batteries and ground forces at the outset of the battle. Then, the B-2 moves to bombing military production plants, factories in general – in China, toy factories – oil production facilities and depots and even civilian infrastructure but not civilians themselves. The F-22 Raptor and the B-2 Spirit are then joined by the F-35 JSF in a total clean up of anything militarily lethal or economically valuable on the ground – call them secondary targets for destruction.
Against Russia and China, I don’t see us winning by introducing our own ground forces, which would be vastly outnumbered at that, especially by Chinese forces. In fact, in Korea, the Chinese conducted battle with stealth ground forces. We couldn’t find them, although we knew they were there, even with air spotters searching for them. As soon as they attacked, we hit them hard from the air and with artillery, but did so without the advantage of any planning. I wouldn’t advise placing American ground forces on Chinese soil. Moreover, combat among somewhat sophisticated nations technologically and militarily is not measured in victory by ground conquered, but rather damage inflicted. In this regard, the American homeland must be fully defended, thus necessitating the retention of F-22s in air defense of skies over the U. S. This is another clear reason to manufacture more of them. The five areas in which they would be committed would be: Two are accounted for by the dual simultaneous conflicts; the third is in our homeland for defensive purposes; the fourth is to protectively cover refueling Tankers and the aircraft they’re feeding; and, the fifth are the F-22s in essential maintenance, most likely 30 to 40 percent of them.
Raptors numbering 186 are currently not enough and it takes no special insight to so conclude. Why, then, do President Barack Obama and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates staunchly oppose more? There is something wrong here. It is politics as influenced by the left wing of the Democratic Party…]
Global Security – Posted by Mackenzie Eaglen
Many senior members of the U.S. military, defense officials, members of Congress, and analysts have long-warned of the growing fighter gap facing the U.S. Air Force, Navy, and Marine Corps and its implications for U.S. national security. A fighter gap is essentially a deficit between the services’ fighter aircraft inventories and their operational requirements based on emerging and possible air threats to U.S. security.
At a hearing just last year, defense officials testified projecting a “most-optimistic” deficit of 125 strike fighters for the Department of the Navy, including 69 aircraft for the U.S. Navy and 56 for the Marine Corps. This projected gap, set to peak around 2017, was considered optimistic because it assumed that the service life of F/A-18 Hornets could be extended from 8,000 flight hours to 10,000. The original service life was 6,000 flight hours. At the same hearing, the Air Force was projected to also have a requirement gap of over 800 fighters by 2024.
A Congressional Research Service report in April 2009 unveiled a potentially larger gap, citing a briefing in which the Navy projected that its strike fighter shortfall could grow to 50 aircraft by FY 2010 and 243 by 2018 (129 Navy and 114 Marine Corps fighters).
Yet, at a recent conference hosted by the Air Force Association, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates dismissed talk of the fighter gap as “nonsense.”
Military Requirements and Current Inventory
The U.S. achieves and maintains air superiority and supremacy with fighters from the Air Force, the Navy’s aircraft carriers, and the Marines’ carrier-based and land-based air wings. Typically, a fighter force is superior to any potential opponent if it has at least the following three elements:
- Technically superior aircraft, including flight performance (speed, range, and maneuverability), avionics (sensors, navigation systems, computers, sensor fusion, data displays, communications, electronic support measures), and armament.
- Numerical sufficiency.
- Exceptionally trained pilots and crews and an adequate pool of replacements and well-trained new pilots.
The modern battlefield demands that multi-mission combat aircraft perform air-to-air combat; air-to-ground strike missions with precision-guided bombs and autonomous cruise missiles; and intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) missions.
Fifth-generation fighters are also highly effective in irregular warfare and counterinsurgency operations. In addition to carrying large payloads and operating over vast areas, such as Afghanistan, fifth-generation fighters can better coordinate attacks against insurgent forces by sharing the same tactical picture through data links and tracking moving ground targets with their active electronically scanned array radar. Using sensor fusion capability to integrate targeting information from their own sensors and other sources into a single tactical picture, the F-22 and F-35 can more accurately identify and target enemy forces. This also helps to reduce casualties from friendly fire and collateral damage.
To fully assess the implications of the widening U.S. fighter gap, Congress must consider the future capabilities of states that may potentially challenge U.S. fighter aircraft in the coming decades as fifth-generation fighters become the mainstay of the future force and legacy aircraft retire. These capabilities include foreign advanced attack aircraft, jammers, infrared search and tracking sensors, ultra long-range missiles, surface-to-air missiles, radar detection, anti-stealth technologies, and electronic warfare.
Twenty years after the Cold War, new regional military powers and former peer competitors are expanding their military capabilities. Regional powers, such as China and possibly Iran, are acquiring Russian air superiority and multirole fighters based on the Sukhoi Su-30 Flanker family. Closer to home, Venezuela is aggressively expanding its air force.
Russia and China
Russia is fielding the Su-34 Fullback strike aircraft, which is based on the Su-27 Flanker and can carry supersonic anti-ship cruise missiles and short-range air-to-air missiles for self-defense. The Russian Air Force plans to field 58 by 2015 and 300 by 2022. The Russian Air Force also has a requirement of about 300 Sukhoi PAK FA fifth-generation fighters. However, Russia appears to be planning for a production run of 500 to 600, which most likely includes planned exports. Russia also appears to be in the early stages of developing a sixth-generation fighter.
China has ordered an estimated 76 Su-30MKK Flanker-Gs and can produce an additional 250 under license, including at least 100 “knock-down kits.” It has also received at least 24 Su-30MK2 naval strike fighters. If China modernizes its 171 Su-27SK/UBs to the Su-27SKM standard and assembles another 105 Su-27SKMs under license, it will have roughly 626 multirole fighters available for air superiority missions. This would place China in the same league as the U.S., which has 522 F-15A/B/C/Ds, 217 F-15Es and a planned fleet of 187 F-22s. China is also developing a stealth fifth-generation fighter, variously identified the J-X. It may also benefit from information allegedly stolen on the “design and electronics systems” of the F-35 Lightning II.
Future of the U.S. Fighter Force
The President’s proposed FY 2010 budget would diminish U.S. fighter capability. The President has proposed reducing acquisitions of fifth-generation fighters and limiting their upgrades. If Congress complies, the U.S. will risk falling behind internationally and in the technological race for air power. Congress and the President would do well to remember how France, despite having pioneered the use of military aircraft, tanks, and motor transport in World War I, had fallen behind Germany by the beginning of World War II.
Large production runs of air superiority fourth-plus-generation fighters equipped with fifth-generation technology, such as the Su-35BM in Russia and China, could put the U.S. Air Force with its fewer numbers of F-22s and an aging F-15C fleet at a serious disadvantage. History and the ongoing technological arms race suggest that it would be dangerous for the U.S. to assume that the F-22 will have no equal and thus have a decisive advantage over any other fighter aircraft for the next 20 years.
The President’s 2010 defense budget request would eliminate one of the two remaining fifth-generation fighter production lines. This would severely limit the options available to Congress if it wants to restart production at some later date. The cost to the taxpayer would also be much higher than if production continues. Finally, the nation would permanently lose many highly skilled aerospace designers and engineers if they are laid off.
Specifically, the U.S. should:
Purchase additional F-22s in 2010. Russia’s state-run military industrial base is focusing on producing advanced fifth-generation fighters with some nearly sixth-generation capabilities. Given the U.S. military’s global commitments, the 187 F-22s will likely operate in the different theaters, all but ensuring that they will be outnumbered in any potential engagement. Congress should appropriate funds to buy at least the full initial order of 286 F-22s to ensure air superiority over the next two decades, beginning with a purchase of 20 F-22s in FY 2010.
Encourage sales of F-22 allied variant to Japan and Australia. It would provide U.S. allies with the most advanced fighter on the market, increase their interoperability with U.S. forces, reinforce America’s hedging strategy in the Pacific, and keep the production line open while reducing the unit cost.
Research viability of building a strike variant of F-22. The FB-22 has a greater bomb load capacity than the F-35, could replace the F-15E, and carry out many missions currently performed by the B-1 and B-2 strategic bombers. The FB-22 could also then become a platform to introduce operational sixth-generation fighter technology. Congress should direct a Pentagon study on the viability of pursuing the FB-22 this year.
Immediately begin research and development of a sixth-generation fighter. Sixth-generation technologies may include a flying wing with morphic wings that deflect and minimize its radar signature and a visual stealth structure that would use micro cameras to take on the appearance of the sky and the ground to make it invisible.
Congress needs to examine carefully whether the planned numbers of new and modernized fighters in the Air Force, Navy, and Marine Corps inventories will meet service and operational requirements. Careful scrutiny is required given the reported structural problems caused by the stress of combat operations, the current and planned numbers of fifth-generation fighters, and the scheduled phase out of legacy fighters. In the ongoing Quadrennial Defense Review process, Congress and the Pentagon should carefully examine the inherent capabilities and qualities of each model of fighter to verify that it can fulfill these requirements and defeat the technological challenges that may be posed by future challengers. Congress must ensure that the U.S. military maintains both its technological edge and adequate numbers of aircraft to maintain U.S. air superiority well into the 21st century.
The fiscal year 2010 Military Construction and Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies Appropriations bill provides $134.6 billion for projects and programs of critical importance to America’s veterans and military troops and their families, including veterans benefits and healthcare, and military family housing, barracks and mission critical facilities.
The bill provides $53 billion in discretionary funding for the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and $56.6 billion for mandatory VA programs, $23.3 billion for military construction and family housing, and $1.4 billion for military construction projects in support of the war in Afghanistan.
In a major victory for America’s veterans, the bill for the first time includes advance appropriations for the VA to ensure a stable and uninterrupted source of funding for medical care for veterans. For fiscal year 2011, the bill includes $48.2 billion for VA medical programs.
The bill provides funding to address several significant priorities, including:
• Renovating surplus building on VA medical campuses to use as housing for homeless veterans;
• Increasing the number of VA outpatient clinics in rural communities where veterans do not have ready access to VA hospitals;
• Accelerating the Army’s program to modernize troop housing for trainees;
• Addressing critical unfunded construction requirements of the Guard and reserve;
• Providing mortgage relief to military families required to relocate during the current mortgage crisis;
• Expediting environmental cleanup on closed military bases; and
• Investing in renewable and alternative energy initiatives on military installations.
2009 Enacted: $72.9 billion
President’s Request: $77.7 billion
House Passed: $77.9 billion
Senate Passed: $78.1 billion
Final Bill: $78.0 billion
Military Construction and Family Housing: $23.3 billion to support American’s military forces and their families at home and overseas, $333.9 million above the request.
• Active Components: $11.8 billion for such items as barracks, child care centers, installation chapels, and mission critical operational facilities. Includes $350 million to accelerate the Army’s program to modernize troop housing facilities for trainees. The Army has a need for $2.2 billion to bring all 115,413 trainee barracks spaces up to standard and the program currently is not scheduled to finish until 2017. Also includes $174 million for the Energy Conservation Investment Program (ECIP), $84 million above the request, to increase the level of investment in renewable and alternative energy resources and to promote energy conservation, green building initiatives, and energy security programs on U.S. military installations.
• Guard and reserve: $1.6 billion, $601.7 million above the request, to provide readiness centers and operational facilities for the Army National Guard, Air Guard, and Army, Navy, Marine Corps, and Air Force reserve forces. Includes $200 million in additional construction funding to address critical unfunded requirements.
• Military Family Housing: $2.59 billion for family housing, $300 million above the request, to further eliminate inadequate military housing, including $323 million for the Homeowners Assistance Program, $300 million above the request, to provide additional funding for the expanded mortgage relief program for military families who are required to relocate during the current mortgage crisis and must sell their home at a loss, as well as to wounded warriors who must relocate for medical reasons and to the spouses of fallen warriors similarly affected by the mortgage crisis.
• Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC): $496.8 million for the 1990 BRAC round, $100 million above the request, to address the large unfunded backlog of environmental cleanup for bases that were closed during the four previous BRAC rounds, and $7.5 billion for the 2005 BRAC program, the full authorized amount.
• Overseas Contingency Operations: $1.4 billion, matching the request, to support additional military construction requirements to support operations and previously scheduled troop deployments to Afghanistan.
• Department of Veterans Affairs: $109.6 billion, $15.3 billion above 2009 and $747 million above the request. The funding includes $56.6 billion for mandatory veterans benefit programs and $53 billion for discretionary funding. Total discretionary funding is $5.4 billion above 2009. In addition, the bill provides $48.2 billion in advance appropriations for veterans medical care programs for fiscal year 2011.
• Veterans Health Administration (VHA): $45.1 billion, matching the request and $4.1billion above 2009, for veterans medical care. The Veterans Health Administration estimates that it will treat more than 6.1 million patients in 2010, including more than 419,000 veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan (56,000 more than 2009).
• Rural Health: $250 million as requested to continue the Rural Health Initiative and an additional $30 million to increase the number of Community Based Outpatient Clinics (CBOCs) in rural areas for veterans who do not have ready access to VA hospitals. More than 3.2 million (41%) of enrolled veterans live in rural or highly rural areas.
• Mental Health: $4.6 billion, matching the request and $300 million above 2009, for mental health care to treat the psychological wounds of returning combat veterans, including post-traumatic stress disorder. Includes an additional $1 million to provide education debt relief as a hiring incentive for mental health professionals.
• Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom (OEF/OIF) Veterans: $2.1 billion, matching the request and $463 million above 2009, to meet the healthcare needs of veterans who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan. The VA estimates that the number of OEF/OIF veterans in the VA healthcare system in 2010 will have increased by 61 percent since 2008.
• Women Veterans Programs: $183 million, matching the request, to meet the unique needs of women veterans.
• Long Term Care: $5.9 billion, matching the request, for both institutional and home-based programs for aging veterans as well as severely wounded OEF/OIF veterans. o Assistance for Homeless Vets: $3.2 billion, matching the request and $421 million above 2009, for healthcare and support services for homeless veterans; including $26 million for a Presidential Initiative to combat homelessness, $150 million for the homeless grants and per diem program, $20 million for supportive services for low income veterans and families, and $21 million to hire additional personnel for the HUD-Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing Program.
• Medical and Prosthetic Research: $581 million, $71 million above 2009, for research in a number of areas including mental health, traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury, burn injury, polytrauma injuries, and sensory loss; including a $48 million increase for research to address the critical needs of Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom veterans
• Medical Facilities: $4.9 billion, $166 million above the President’s Request and $170 million below 2009. Includes a $130 million increase for non-recurring maintenance at existing facilities, $30 million for additional Community Based Outpatient Clinics in rural areas, and $5 million for additional contracting personnel.
• VA Construction Programs: $1.9 billion, $103 million above the request and $232 million above 2009, including:
• Major Construction: $1.2 billion for VA facilities, including hospitals and clinics, to enable the Department to implement the recommendations made by the Capitol Asset Realignment for Enhanced Services (CARES) Commission, which was established to look at facilities and determine their construction needs.
• Minor Construction: $703 million, $39 million below 2009, $103 million above the President’s budget request, including $50 million for the renovation of vacant buildings on VA campuses to be used as housing with supportive services for homeless veterans. The VA estimates that on any given night, 131,000 veterans are homeless. This program will strengthen the VA’s goal of eliminating homelessness among veterans by providing housing and counseling services in settings that are in close proximity for VA hospitals.
• State Extended Care Facilities: $100 million, $15 million above the request and $75 million below 2009, for grants to states for construction and renovation of extended care veterans’ facilities. States must provide 35% of the cost, while the Department pays the other 65%.
• Information Technology: $3.3 billion, matching the request, to develop the next generation of electronic healthcare records, paperless claims systems, and seamless integration of medical and service records with the Department of Defense.
• VA Benefits Claims Processors: $1.7 billion, $223 million above 2009, in general operating expenses to enable the Department to hire roughly 1,200 additional claims processors to continue to address the backlog of benefits claims and to reduce the time to process new claims. The most recent VA quarterly status report estimates that nearly 397,000 claims are pending.
• Inspector General: $109 million, $2 million above the request and $21.2 million above 2009, to provide additional oversight personnel for initiatives regarding financial audit and information technology program reviews and to expand oversight of Veterans Benefits Administration regional offices, to prevent waste, fraud, and abuse.
• American Battle Monuments Commission: $62.7 million, $2.4 million above the request and $3.2 million above 2009, to provide for the care and operation of military monuments and cemeteries around the world.
• United States Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims: $27.1 million, matching the request and $3.9 million below 2009, which included $7 million in one-time cost for the planning and design of a new facility.
• Cemeterial Expenses: $39.9 million, $2.7 million above the request and $3.1 million above 2009, for Arlington National Cemetery. The additional funding will enable relocation of power and telephone lines to make ground available for over 8,000 additional gravesites.
• Armed Forces Retirement Home: $134 million, the same as the President’s request and $71 million above 2009, for the Armed Forces Retirement Home, including $72 million for capital expenditures
Another F-35 flies – finally
Related Previous Post:
America’s Two Air Forces
Aviation Week: China Close To Testing Next-Gen Fighter
Strategy Page: Japan Seeks An F-22 Substitute
Space War: Australia gives green light for F-35s