Analysis of the House Appropriations Committee’s Fiscal Year 2016 Defense Appropriations Bill

On June 2, the House Appropriations Committee approved $578.6 billion in discretionary defense spending – $490.2 billion in the base budget and $88.4 billion for the Overseas Contingency Operations fund (called “Global War on Terrorism” in the House Appropriations Committee version of the bill).

The $490.2 billion approved for the base budget is $36.7 billion below the President’s base budget request, and the $88.4 billion for OCO is $37.5 billion more than the President’s request for war funding.

Committee recommendations for FY 2016 by title

Title Committee Rec. for FY 2016 President’s request FY2015 enacted level
Title I – Military Personnel $122.7 billion -$7.8 billion -$5.3 billion
Title II – Operation and maintenance $162.3 billion -$14.2 billion +630.8 million
Title III – Procurement $98.6 billion -$8.3 billion +$2.1 billion
Title IV – Research, development, test and evaluation $66.2 billion -$3.6 billion +$2.4 billion
Title V – Revolving and management funds $2.1 billion +$322 million – $25.7 million
Title VI – Other Department of Defense programs $33.3 billion -$885.3 million -$799.4 million
Title VII – Related agencies $1.0 billion -$22.1 million +$323 million
Title VIII – General provisions (net) $-2.1 billion $-2.1 billion $-1.3 billion
Title IX – Overseas Contingency Operations $88.4 billion +$37.5 billion +$24.5 billion



Representative Pete Visclosky (D-Ind.) offered an amendment to move the $38 billion in OCO over the President’s request to the base budget; the amendment was rejected in a party-line vote of 21-30.

AUMF against ISIL

Representative Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) offered three amendments on the outdated Authorizations to Use Military Force (AUMF): one to repeal the 2001 AUMF eight months after the enactment of the bill, one to repeal the 2002 AUMF, and one that recognizes that Congress has a necessary role to play in the efforts to degrade and defeat ISIL. Both amendments to repeal the AUMFs failed 19-32; the last amendment passed 29-22.

Star Creep

A recent GAO report found that since 2001, the General Flag Officer population in the U.S. military has experienced higher growth than the enlisted population. The GAO recommended that the Pentagon improve and define the costs associated with General Flag Officers; the bill directs the Department od Defense to carry out these recommendations.


The F-35, also known as the most expensive weapons program ever, isn’t performing all that well. “Despite actions taken by the Department of Defense to improve the management of ALIS development, the system is not proceeding at a pace that will ensure capability to support demands for data and information required for rapid air-craft turn-around and efficient maintenance operations.” Basically, a critical component of the multi-billion dollar project, the Automatic Logistics Information System (ALIS), does not work. Consequently, the committee only funds up to 36 F-35As – that’s 21 less than the 57 requested by the Administration.

Long Range Strike-Bomber

The Committee recommends $786.2 million for the LRS-B program — $460 million less than the president’s request. The nearly one third reduction aligns funds with the program’s current schedule and was recommended by the Air Force.


On numerous occasions, the Pentagon has requested to retire the A-10; however, the Committee recommends $452.7 million to be added to OCO “to preserve the present A-10 force structure.” It also prohibits divestment or disestablishment of the A-10 in FY 2016. 

Space Procurement

The Committee authorizes $1.9 billion for Space Procurement, a decrease of $649 million from the President’s request. Around two thirds of the reduction comes from the Space-Based Infrared System, a program that the Administration requested $452.7 million for which the Committee did not provide any funding.