2-year deal gives big boost to defense spending, Wright-Patterson


A two-year congressional budget deal boosts military spending by tens of billions of dollars and would eliminate the “biggest uncertainty” of automatic cuts imposed under sequestration to defense spending, a defense analyst said.

Reached in the early hours Friday after a temporary stopgap funding measure expired at midnight Thursday, sending the government into an hours-long shutdown, the bipartisan budget deal increased lifted spending caps by about $300 billion on defense and non-defense discretionary budgets through 2019.

“The agreement takes away the most important and contentious budget decisions and gives planners a go-ahead to work on more detailed directions for today’s military spending over the two-year period,” said Michael Gessel, Dayton Development Coalition vice president of federal programs. “It eliminates the threat of unexpected budget cuts through a sequester and significantly reduces the possibility of funding interruptions like government shutdowns and worker furloughs.”

RELATED: AF museum opens, Wright-Patt workers head to work as shutdown ends

That could be good news for Wright-Patterson, which could see higher increases in its major missions of acquisitions, research, intelligence analysis and perhaps military construction, he said.

The bipartisan budget deal laid out an additional $165 billion for defense appropriations and $131 billion for non-defense spending over the next two years above spending caps.

Top-line defense spending would reach $700 billion this fiscal year and $716 billion in 2019. Last year’s total reached $634 billion. On the domestic side, lawmakers agreed to top line nondefense discretionary spending of $591 billion this fiscal year and $605 billion in fiscal year 2019, federal data shows. In 2017, the total was $539 billion.

The domestic boost over two years captured $6 billion for opioid and mental health treatment, $5.8 billion for child care, $4 billion to reduce a VA maintenance backlog, and $20 billion in infrastructure spending. It also raises the national debt limit.

RELATED: Threat of government shutdown wearing on workers

But while the deal adds predictability by lifting spending caps – which would resume in fiscal years 2020 and 2021 — final details on the fiscal 2018 budget remain in negotiations, while the fiscal year 2019 defense budget proposal was due to be rolled out next week.

“In a complex budgeting system like the federal government, which is controlled by a political process, there is no such thing as budget certainty,” Gessel said in an email. “The budget agreement resolved the big picture issues, but there are many more details to be worked out.”

RELATED: Trump calls for end of military budget sequester

Congress must still pass in the coming weeks a defense appropriations budget for each service branch and activities, noted Todd Harrison, director of defense budget analysis with the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D.C.

“What we do know is that this budget deal overall was a big win for defense,” he said in an email Friday. “This is the highest level of spending anyone had proposed or talked about.”

As part of the deal, legislators passed a short-term spending gap measure that expires March 23 to allow more time to pass an appropriations bill.

During Thursday night’s debate, U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., delayed a final vote beyond the midnight deadline to avoid a

shutdown when he took to the Senate floor to decry the spending plan expected to push annual federal deficit spending to $1 trillion a year. Many Democrats were angered the issue of immigration was not resolved as part of the deal.



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Military

WPAFB Monday Weather: Today is expected to be hot, muggy
WPAFB Monday Weather: Today is expected to be hot, muggy

Another hot and muggy day is expected today. We'll see highs in the upper 80s to near 90 degrees. When you factor in the humidity, it'll feel more like the middle, maybe even upper 90s. Stay cool if you have any plans to be out. Aside from a few daytime clouds, it looks like we'll see a lot of sunshine once again. Just like Sunday, the chance for rain...
Air Force Materiel Command commander retiring at Wright-Patt
Air Force Materiel Command commander retiring at Wright-Patt

Gen. Ellen Pawlikowski, commander of Air Force Materiel Command at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, will retire in September, the U.S. Air Force announced. Pawlikowski — the third female Air Force general to reach a four-star rank — became AFMC’s commander in June 2015 following her predecessor, Gen. Janet Wolfenbarger, who was the...
Air Force rolls out new enlisted personnel handbook: Here’s what changed
Air Force rolls out new enlisted personnel handbook: Here’s what changed

The U.S. Air Force just rolled out its new enlisted personnel handbook, and it’s changing up the way enlisted airmen will address senior master sergeants. Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force Kaleth O. Wright announced the changes on Facebook. The Air Force no longer requires an associate’s degree from the Community College of the Air Force...
Dayton VA loses $90K in equipment. Why that’s ‘as close to zero as we can reasonably get.’
Dayton VA loses $90K in equipment. Why that’s ‘as close to zero as we can reasonably get.’

The Dayton Veterans Affairs Medical Center lost more than $90,000 in equipment between 2014 and 2017, according to a new investigation. Dayton VA Public Affairs Officer Ted Froats said the number, which equates to about $22,500 a year, represents a fraction of the Dayton VA’s yearly inventory — around .0002 percent. “The reality of...
Thunderbirds celebrate milestone year representing US Air Force
Thunderbirds celebrate milestone year representing US Air Force

The U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds have been roaring through the skies for 65 years. The Thunderbirds are celebrating its 65th year of representing the U.S. Air Force. On May 25, 1953, the Air Force’s official air demonstration team, designated the 3600th Air Demonstration Unit, was activated at Luke Air Force Base in Arizona. The unit was named...
More Stories