On June 25, 2009, the full House passed its version of the fiscal year (FY) 2010 national defense authorization act. The Senate passed its version of the bill on July 23, 2009. This Update provides a brief assessment of how these two bills compare, both to each other and to the administration’s request, and what issues remain to be resolved during conference. The administration’s defense budget request is still working its way through the House and Senate appropriations process.
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This backgrounder offers some preliminary observations on the likely characteristics of the new program, and raises several questions that the Army will have to address as it goes forward.
Classified or “black” programs appear to account for about $35.8 billion, or 17 percent, of the acquisition funding included in the fiscal year (FY) 2010 Department of Defense (DoD) budget request (see Table, page 3). This total includes $18.1 billion in procurement funding and $17.7 billion in research and development (R&D) funding. These figures represent 14 percent and 22 percent, respectively, of the total funding requested for procurement and R&D in FY 2010. Among other things, this analysis finds that:
It now appears likely that F-22 production will end with a procurement of 187 Raptors, of which 179 will be operational aircraft. The crucial moment came on July 21st, 2009, when the full Senate voted fifty-eight to forty to strip the $1.75 billion Senate defense authorizers had added to the Fiscal Year (FY) 2010 defense bill to keep F-22 in production. This vote came in the wake of intense lobbying by defense secretary Robert Gates and a veto threat from the White House should Congress continue F-22 production beyond FY 2009. In light of these developments, now seems as good a time as any to look back and try to take stock of the F-22 program. Are there any lessons to be learned, and where, if anywhere, is the program likely to go from here?
Secretary Gates termed the FY 2010 defense budget a “reform budget.” With today’s release of the detailed budget request, we begin to see what shape that reform will take and where he intends to lead the Department. This budget is a departure from the previous administration’s budgets in several ways:
The hijacking of the 17,000 ton container ship Maersk Alabama off the Indian Ocean coast of Somalia on April 8th, 2009 was the first occasion when a US-flagged ship with a US crew had been captured by Somali pirates. If this had been an ordinary ship the expectation would have been that the ship and its crew would have been held for months beyond hope of rescue or retaliation waiting for a substantial ransom to be paid. Thanks to the effort that Maersk Lines had put into planning for such an eventuality, the courage and determination of the American crew in recapturing their ship, and the accuracy of the sharpshooters firing from the moving deck of the USS Bainbridge who killed three of the pirates holding the ship’s captain, Richard Phillips, in a lifeboat, this was not an ordinary hijacking. Instead, it was one of the shortest ever recorded.