Just before Thanksgiving the Senate Appropriations Committee released the “Chairman’s Mark” of the Fiscal Year 2018 Defense Appropriations bill. It’s almost like they were hoping we wouldn’t notice!
But we did notice and we read the bill. Because, that’s what we do here at Taxpayers.
For your reading pleasure we pulled out all the Procurement and R&D programs where the Pentagon asked for $0 and the Senate appropriators decided they knew best.
Each of the programs in this table — available online and at the end of this post — had zero dollars requested by the Pentagon. Which means they didn’t think any of these programs was a high enough priority to make it into a $565 billion request from the Administration.
From a highwater mark of cramming an additional $1.5 billion into the “National Guard and Reserve Equipment Fund” which is basically a slush fund for the Guard and Reserve, to a mere $2 million for the opaquely named “Software enhancement for ingestion of PAI data” this Chairman’s mark adds more than $6.8 billion for programs the Administration didn’t request.
The shipbuilding lobbyists should be especially thankful this year because another $1.5 billion is added for four separate shipbuilding programs that weren’t requested. The list goes on and on for $6.8 billion. The Pentagon doesn’t know everything but when they don’t request a dime for a program you can be sure that it is as low on the military’s priority list as it is high on some lawmakers parochial one.
We’ll be back after the holiday with more insights about this draft of the Defense Appropriations bill.