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Statement of Administration Policy: H.R. 2561 - Department of Defense Appropriations Bill, FY 2000

July 21, 1999



(Sponsor: Young (R), Florida; Lewis (R), California)

This Statement of Administration Policy provides the Administration's views on the Department of Defense Appropriations Bill, FY 2000, as reported by the House Appropriations Committee. The House Committee has developed a bill providing requested funding for many of the Administration's priorities, including readiness and modernization efforts. We strongly urge the House to keep the bill free from extraneous provisions. The Committee bill, however, raises several budgetary and policy concerns.

The bill deletes funding for procurement of the first six F-22 fighter aircraft. The Administration strongly opposes this reduction. The F-22 is optimized to perform a crucial role -- achieving air superiority early in any future conflict, even against adversaries equipped with the advanced weapons that will be deployed in the first part of the next century. No other aircraft, including the F-15 or the proposed Joint Strike Fighter, will be able to fulfill that role. In addition to severely damaging the Air Force's future ability to achieve one of its fundamental missions, the Committee action, by forcing the Air Force to break agreements with the contractors who would then require compensation, would waste valuable resources. The Administration strongly urges the House to provide the full funding requested for F-22 procurement.

The Committee bill provides an overall increase for defense programs of more than $5 billion above the President's request. This increase would drain critical resources from other programs. The Administration believes that the President's budget request correctly addresses our most important FY 2000 military needs and that additional funding is not required. These increases, coupled with funds reallocated from the F-22 request, have been applied to programs that are of lower priority -- none of the programs receiving additional, unrequested funding is as important as fully funding the F-22. The Administration strongly urges the House to sustain the balance between defense modernization and readiness within the funding levels proposed in the President's budget request, eliminate funding for lower priority programs, and restore full funding for the F-22. The Administration strongly opposes a Defense appropriations bill that does not address these concerns.

Unrequested Program Increases

The bill funds many unrequested programs, some of which are not in the Department's future years defense program. These increases, which would come at the expense of more urgent needs, include: $564 million for eight KC-130J tanker aircraft for the Marines; $130 million for Guard and Reserve equipment; and, $197 million for procurement, ahead of need, of 15 additional H-60 helicopters for the Army and Navy.

Chemical Demilitarization Program

The Administration is strongly opposed to the Committee's reduction of $392 million to the request for the Chemical Demilitarization Program because it would cause a breach in the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) deadline of April 29, 2007, for the destruction of chemical weapons at four chemical demilitarization sites. The reduction also would necessitate personnel layoffs of one thousand people for at least one year and increase life cycle costs by $400 million. In order for the United States to meet its treaty obligations, to reduce the growth in program life-cycle costs, and to protect the citizens living near these chemical weapons storage facilities, the Administration urges the Committee to provide the funding requested in the President's budget for this program.

Reduction to Overseas Contingency Operations Transfer Fund

The Administration strongly objects to the $575 million reduction to the Overseas Contingency Operations Transfer Fund (OCOTF). The Committee erroneously asserts that the cessation of the air campaign in Kosovo and the reduction in operating tempo in Southwest Asia permit this reduction. The FY 2000 request for OCOTF did not anticipate the operations in Kosovo and included no funding for those efforts; therefore, the account should not be reduced as the result of changes in Kosovo operations. In fact, additional FY 2000 OCOTF funding will be required to support the U.S. forces participating in the NATO-led Kosovo Force. Further, the request assumes a robust operating tempo level in Southwest Asia that we will almost certainly sustain as long as Iraqi forces continue to target U.S. aircraft. In total, this reduction would require the Services to absorb significant operational costs that would either hurt readiness or cause further migration from investment accounts.

Allocation of Wye River Supplemental Funding

The Committee bill would reallocate a total of $407 million in offsets proposed in the Wye River Supplemental request to fund missile defense and other programs. The bill would reduce the FY 2000 request for missile defense programs by $230 million. The Wye River supplemental is a key component of ensuring the implementation of the Wye River Middle East peace accords. The Committee's reallocation of the Administration's proposed offset could undermine implementation of this agreement.

Medium Extended Air Defense System

The Administration opposes section 8119 of the bill, which would prohibit DoD from spending FY 2000 Defense funding for the Medium Extended Air Defense System (MEADS). In addition, we urge the Committee to restore the $48.6 million requested for this effort. MEADS remains a critical component of NATO transatlantic armaments cooperation.

Global Positioning System

The bill would reduce procurement funding for the Global Positioning System (GPS) by $67 million. The Administration strongly believes that GPS must be modernized in order to meet the needs of both civil and military users well into the next century. The total GPS funding level proposed by the Committee would be detrimental to our military modernization initiative and would prematurely eliminate options for deploying enhanced GPS capabilities.

Reduction to Advanced Concept Technology Demonstrations Funds

The Administration objects to the reduction of $29.4 million from the President's request of $118 million for this critical program. Advanced Concept Technology Demonstrations (ACTD) have been extremely successful since their 1995 inception in rapidly getting important new systems into the field and the fleet. During recent Kosovo operations, nearly 20 percent of all ACTDs saw action or were en route to that theater at cessation of hostilities. ACTDs are sponsored by our combatant commanders. ACTDs normally require two to four years to complete. A minimum of $108 million is required to conduct ongoing programs. The remaining $10 million in the President's request would support a small number of new initiatives. Funding at the level proposed by the House would preclude new initiatives and severely curtail ongoing ACTDs.

Other Program Reductions

The Committee bill would reduce funding for several important programs below the President's request, including a cut of $19.4 million for the Cooperative Threat Reduction Program and a cut of $40 million for the DoD Extensible Information Systems/Deeply Networked Systems Program. In addition, the $40 million reduction to the National Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite System (NPOESS), particularly if combined with a reduction in the Commerce/Justice/State appropriations bill, would likely significantly delay the program and would result in a gap in satellite coverage.

Objectionable General Provisions

Section 8074 of the Committee-reported bill would prohibit the use of funds to transfer defense articles or services to another nation or to an organization in connection with international peacekeeping or humanitarian operations, unless the President gives 15 days advance notice to Congress. The provision includes no waiver for national security emergencies such as providing weapons to troops supporting U.S. forces engaged in hostilities. Because the provision intrudes on the President's authority as Commander-in-Chief, the Administration would construe it as permitting such expenditure, with the notification occurring as soon thereafter as possible.

The Administration is concerned about the burdensome reporting requirements imposed by section 8128, which provides for the acceleration of certain spectrum sales, and will seek changes to remove the most serious problems. In addition, we understand that a floor amendment may be offered that could increase both the reporting burden and the uncertainty surrounding the Federal Communication Commission's auction process. The Administration would oppose such an amendment.

William J. Clinton, Statement of Administration Policy: H.R. 2561 - Department of Defense Appropriations Bill, FY 2000 Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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