U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL)WASHINGTON—The Department of Defense (DoD) Appropriations Act, 2017 provides $577.9 billion in base and Overseas Contingency Operation (OCO) funding, compared to $572.8 billion enacted in fiscal year 2016 and $576.5 billion in the President’s budget request. The base budget appropriation is $516 billion, with $61.8 billion for Overseas Contingency Operations of the Department of Defense.

U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL), Vice Chairman of the Department of Defense Subcommittee, said:

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“This bill shows that we can make smart reductions to underperforming programs at the Department of Defense, and invest the savings in what really matters: support for the women and men in the Armed Forces and their families, new equipment for our troops, and investments in future technologies, including medical research, which will benefit all Americans, including those in uniform. I look forward to this bill being the beginning of a process to fund the entire federal government in a responsible and fair manner.”

Key Points & Highlights

In compliance with the earmark moratorium, the bill contains no congressionally directed spending items.

The Department of Defense Appropriations Act, 2017 emphasizes the following priorities:

(1)   Responsibly Meets the Nation’s National Security Needs

(2)   Fully Funds Contingency Operations and Other OCO Priorities

(3)   Supports our Troops, Veterans, and their Families

(4)   Invests in Medical Research and Technological Innovation

Responsibly Meets the Nation’s National Security Needs

The Department of Defense Appropriations Act ensures our Armed Forces are equipped with the necessary tools to keep our troops and our nation safe. The bill provides critical funding for the following equipment:

F/A-18 Super Hornets – $979 million for 12 additional aircraft. 

F-35 Joint Strike Fighter – Adds over $1 billion for 11 total aircraft, 5 for the Air Force, 4 for the Marine Corps and 2 for the Navy.   

Marine Corps Aviation Readiness – After a review of Marine Corps aviation programs, the bill adds four F-35s to accelerate retirement of Harriers.  The bill also adds two V-22s, both to stabilize the production and lessen dependence on aging CH-53 helicopters.  Finally, the bill adds $205.5 million to increase spare parts purchases for Marine Corps aviation maintenance programs.

Icebreaker – A new Polar-class icebreaker for the Coast Guard is an integral part of the U.S. national security policy toward the Arctic.  The bill adds $150 million for advanced procurement in FY 2017, in advance of a full procurement decision in FY 2019.

Shipbuilding – The bill provides $1.78 billion to accelerate production of an additional LPD-17 amphibious ship, adds $433 million to fully fund an additional DDG-51 Flight IIA destroyer, adds $475 million for an additional Littoral Combat Ship, and adds $85 million in advance procurement to continue efficient production of the Virginia-class submarine.

National Guard and Reserve Equipment – Provides $750 million in addition to addressing two key shortfalls: two C-40 cargo aircraft for the Navy Reserve and two C-130Js for the Air National Guard. 

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Black Hawk helicopters – Adds $339.9 million for 25 UH-60 helicopters for the Army and the Army National Guard.

UH-1N Replacement – The bill adds $75 million accelerate new helicopters for security at Air Force missile sites, to respond to an urgent need to replace Vietnam-era helicopters.

Fully Funds Contingency Operations and Other OCO Priorities

The bill promotes military readiness by providing full funding for Overseas Contingency Operations, including key national security priorities:

Train and Equip Authorities – The bill follows an effort initiated by the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017 to consolidate the various funding streams used by the Department to train and equip foreign forces.  The Department of Defense ppropriations bill provides $980 million to the new Counter-ISIL Train and Equip Fund and transfers an additional $750 million to the Defense Security Cooperation Agency for other capacity-building programs.

European Reassurance Initiative – Along with the Security Assistance Act, 2017, passed by Congress in December 2016, the defense appropriations bill fully funds the budget request of $3.4 billion for the European Reassurance Initiative. 

Ukraine – The bill provides $150 million for lethal and non-lethal aid to Ukraine to counter Russian aggression.

Supports our Troops, Veterans, and their Families

The men and women and their families that serve our country on active duty, in the reserves and as civilians are the backbone of our Armed Forces.  The bill contains many provisions to support them:

Pay Raise – Fully funds a 2.1% percent pay raise for military and civilian employees.  

Special Victims’ Counsel - Provides an additional $25 million to the President’s request for continuation and expansion of the Special Victims’ Counsel Program that provides victims of sexual assault with legal assistance and support.

Beyond Yellow Ribbon - Provides an additional $20 million to the President’s request for the Beyond Yellow Ribbon program, which supports National Guard members, Reservists and their families throughout their deployments.

Impact Aid – Adds $30 million for Impact Aid, which provides educational resources for the children of military families. Also includes an additional $5 million for Impact Aid for children with disabilities.

DOD/VA Electronic Health Record - Continues efforts to improve medical record transfer between DoD and the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Invests in Medical Research and Technological Innovation

Continued investment in research and development is essential to maintaining our technological edge and saving lives on the battlefield. The bill contains provisions to support these efforts:

Medical Research –Adds $1.38 billion for medical research that helps our warfighters and veterans as well as their families and all Americans.   This is a five percent real increase in medical research funding compared to last year’s defense appropriations act.

Basic Research – The bill provides $2.28 billion for basic research initiatives of the Department of Defense, an increase of $174.5 million over the requested level for 2017.

Israeli Missile Defense – The bill fully funds U.S.-Israeli missile defense programs, with an increase of $454.9 million over the budget request of $145.8 million.  The total of $600.7 million is an increase of $113.1 million over last year’s enacted level.  Of the FY 2017 total, $266.5 million is for David’s Sling, $204.9 million for Arrow Upper Tier, $67.3 million for Arrow and $62 million for Iron Dome.

Read More:

May 24, 2016 | Department of Defense showcases appropriations bill for 2017 fiscal year May 24, 2016

Jul 1, 2015 | Sen. Kirk strong supporter of St. Louis Regional Airport, passage of 2016 Transportation Bill Jul 1, 2015

Feb 24, 2016 | Durbin meets with Army leadership prior to hearing on Army 2017 budget request Feb 24, 2016

Mar 6, 2017 | Durbin: Defense appropriations bill provides critical funding for Illinois installations and projects Mar 6, 2017

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