Summary: Defense Portion of FY15 Omnibus

[WASHINGTON, D.C.] — The Defense portion of the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, 2015 (Omnibus, or Cromnibus in some circles) provides $554.2 billion in base and overseas contingency operation funding, compared to $572 billion enacted in fiscal year 2014 and $554.3 billion in the President’s budget request.  The base budget appropriation is $490.2 billion with $64 billion for Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) of the Departments of Defense and State, compared to $85.2 billion for DoD OCO enacted in 2014.  The bill also contains $112 million in emergency funds to respond to the Ebola crisis. 

In compliance with the earmark moratorium, the bill contains no congressionally directed spending items.

The Defense portion of the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, 2015 emphasizes the following priorities:

(1)   Supporting our Troops, Veterans, and their Families

(2)   Investing in Innovation to Maintain our Technological Edge

(3)   Restoring Readiness and Supporting High Priority Programs

(4)   Instituting Reforms


Supporting our Troops, Veterans and their Families

The three million active duty, reserve, and civilian employees are the Department of Defense’s most valuable resource.  The bill protects investments in, and makes targeted increases for, the members of the Armed Forces, their families, and the civilian employees of the Department of Defense.  Major initiatives include:

  • Funding the 1% pay raise for military and civilian personnel, as requested by the Department and authorized by the Senate Armed Services Committee. 
  • Provides $88 million for 1% out-of-pocket costs for the Basic Allowance for Housing.
  • Providing an additional $25 million for continuation and expansion of the Special Victims’ Counsel Program to provide victims of sexual assault with legal assistance and support.  Congress is committed to addressing this epidemic in the military.  With this additional funding, sexual assault prevention funding will have nearly tripled over the past three years.
  • Transferring $24.1 million to fully fund the National Guard’s Military Burial Honors program in order to fulfill our nation’s commitment to those who served. 
  • $3.6 million for Health Artifacts and Imaging Management Systems to support ongoing efforts between DoD and the Department of Veterans Affairs to better manage veterans’ health information and improve care. 
  • $3 million for the Healthy Base Initiative, which promotes wellness practices for troops and their families living on base. 
  • Adding $190 million to maintain operations at commissaries, pending the commission on compensation report due next year. 
  • $13 million for an initiative to provide pre-kindergarten through 12th grade Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) education activities for military children.

Investing in Innovation to Maintain our Technological Edge

Investing in basic and advanced research has been a critical factor in the strength of the U.S. economy and our dominance on the battlefield.  There are numerous examples of DoD-initiated research efforts that have had significant impacts across society.  It is imperative that we continue to invest in medical breakthroughs and technological advancements that keep us at the forefront of innovation, improve the health and safety of our troops and contribute to our overall national security.  The bill does this by making significant investments in research.  Major initiatives include:

  • Increasing DoD’s core medical research budget as well as Congressionally-directed medical research funding by $1.26 billion, an 11% increase from fiscal year 2014, including the emergency Ebola funding.  These increases will be focused in the competitively awarded Peer-Reviewed Medical Research Program and Peer-Reviewed Cancer Research Program. 
  • Adding $257 million to basic (non-medical) research for the Army, Navy, Air Force, and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), equating to a 5% increase over fiscal year 2014 levels.
  • $220 million to fund a competition to develop a new rocket propulsion system: the Competitive Rocket Innovation – Motor/Engine Arrangement.

Restoring Readiness and Supporting High Priority Programs

Sequestration in fiscal year 2013 had a major impact on the operations of the Department of Defense.  Restoring readiness remains a top priority of all the service chiefs, particularly regarding depot and facility maintenance.  The bill eliminates billions in wasteful, unnecessary and duplicative funding across all branches.  Instead of indiscriminate across-the-board sequestration cuts, the bill proposes 745 specific cuts to programs and redirects some of those funds to higher priorities. The targeted reductions break down as follows:

  • Improving Funds Management: Updated cost estimates and excess carryover of prior year funds result in billions of dollars that are not needed for defense programs this year.
  • Restoring Acquisition Accountability: Detailed oversight of acquisition programs and practices show savings that are due to schedule delays, unit cost growth, troubled acquisition strategies, or concurrency in test and production.
  • Maintaining Program Affordability: Re-evaluation of defense strategies reveal unjustified growth in lower priority defense programs.
  • Reducing Duplication: Cuts are proposed due to redundant programs, disparities found in budget justifications, or programs that have been terminated since the budget submission.

The bill provides a balanced approach to limit further risk to our forces in targeted areas.  Significant items include:

  • Increase of $2.3 billion for readiness shortfalls, including $900 million for facility sustainment, a top service priority, and an additional $202.5 million for depot maintenance.  The bill also includes an additional $1 billion readiness transfer fund to address other readiness shortfalls.
  • $848.5 million for the modernization of CVN 73, the USS George Washington.
  • Full funding for 3 Littoral Combat Ships, plus an additional $80 million for long-lead parts to purchase the final ship of the block buy next year, at this year’s pricing.   
  • $337.1 million to maintain the A-10 fleet.  The bill also contains $90.5 million to continue operations of the full fleet of 31 E-3 Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACs) radar aircraft.
  • $1.46 billion to purchase 15 EA-18G Growlers.
  • $224 million for 2 additional F-35 Joint Strike Fighters for the Air Force and $255 million for 2 additional F-35 Joint Strike Fighters for the Navy.  In all, 38 F-35 aircraft are funded in the bill – an increase of 9 aircraft over fiscal year 2014.
  • $125 million for an additional competitive space launch.
  • Stabilizing the ground vehicle industrial base by adding $72 million for the Improved Recovery Vehicle, $28.5 million for the Bradley Fighting Vehicle, $120 million for the Abrams tank and $79 million for Stryker vehicle development and production. 
  • Supporting the Israeli Government request for $347 million for Israeli missile defense programs, including $175 million for Iron Dome.  In all, $619.8 million for Israeli programs. 
  • Adds $341 million to modernize up to 12 Apache helicopters and 9 Black Hawk helicopters, and includes a bill provision limiting the transfer of Apache helicopters out of the National Guard in 2015 until enactment of the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal year 2015. 

Instituting Reforms

In addition, reforms aimed at improving efficiency, saving money, and improving resource management are made across the Department.  Major initiatives include:

  • Directing a $15 million reduction to management headquarters for the Office of the Secretary of Defense.  This is a reduction in personnel funding to ensure that the Office of the Secretary of Defense be included in the targeted savings goal of 20% of management headquarters funding by 2019. 
  • Eliminating the 5% discount for tobacco and tobacco-related products sold at military exchanges.
  • Transferring funding to a new defense agency to take over the Prisoner of War/Missing in Action (POW/MIA) mission, consistent with the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal year 2015.  The Government Accountability Office’s 2014 annual report on opportunities to reduce overlap and duplication identified the personnel accounting mission as an area of high risk.
  • Reducing civilian workforce targets by $662 million due to overestimation.   
  • Allowing a pay freeze for general and flag officers and slowing the growth of the basic allowance for housing (BAH), saving $8.8 billion in personnel costs over the next five years.
  • Directing the Department to report on the feasibility and cost of the Department of Defense assuming responsibility for conducting security clearance investigations for DoD personnel.  The bill also encourages the Secretary of Defense to consider measures to streamline data sharing for continuous personnel security evaluations and threat analysis.
  • Cutting $270 million, or 2%, from the operation and maintenance information technology (IT) budget request.  Trimming IT funding will help prioritize and better target non-cyber IT investments in an era of fiscal constraint.
  • Directing the Missile Defense Agency (MDA) to improve acquisition strategies for two major new acquisition programs to avoid repeating previous mistakes where the system was rushed to fielding without being properly tested. 

Detailed Bill Summary

Military Personnel

The bill provides $128 billion in the base for military personnel.  The recommended level fully supports the authorized end strength and includes a 1% pay raise.  It follows through on Congress’ reversal of the cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) reduction by adding $215.3 million to fully fund military retirement benefits.  The bill also includes $88 million for Basic Allowance for Housing to allow the authorized 1% reduction in fiscal year 2015. 

Operation and Maintenance

The bill provides a total of $161.7 billion in base funding for the operation and maintenance accounts, which represents 1% growth in operation and maintenance funding over the fiscal year 2014 enacted amount in order to restore readiness levels affected by sequestration cuts.  This growth enables the Department to begin establishing a new readiness posture and transition from a force focused largely on current operations to one capable of meeting a broader mission portfolio. 

The bill includes a 1% pay raise for the civilian workforce and supports requested personnel increases for intelligence and cyber mission areas and decreases based on a 20% management headquarters reduction over the next five years.  The bill also maintains a strong commitment to taking care of the troops and their families and includes an additional $8.25 million for expanded access to mental and behavioral health care and an additional $25 million for the continued implementation and expansion of the Sexual Assault Special Victim’s Counsel Program.


The bill provides $93.8 billion for procurement and grants new start procurement authority for programs to fill critical capability shortfalls.  Additional significant items include:

  • $100 million to the Combat Rescue Helicopter to help pay down the Air Force identified shortfall in fiscal years 2016-2017. 
  • $200 million for an additional Joint High Speed Vessel.
  • $1 billion to incrementally fund an LPD-28, as authorized. 
  • $102 million for an additional MC-130J.
  • $11 million in procurement and $27.4 million in Operations and Maintenance funding for the Civil Air Patrol.  
  • $81.7 million to continue Tomahawk missile production. 

Research, Development, Test and Evaluation


The bill provides $63.7 billion for research and development. The bill also provides new start authority for needed programs, which would not be allowed to proceed under a full-year CR.  Significant items include:

  • Full funding for the Army’s Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicle (AMPV) program, allowing it to proceed on schedule.  The bill also dedicates $4 million within Army studies to analyze whether the Stryker or any other vehicle can compete in a follow-on to the current AMPV program.
  • Adding $50 million to MDA Ground-Based Midcourse Defense program to improve system reliability and maintainability. 
  • Providing an additional $31 million for Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) basic research.
  • $10 million for research opportunities at the nation’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities.
    • $225 million for the Rapid Innovation Fund, which supports small businesses around the country in their efforts to provide leap-ahead technologies to meet our national security needs.   
  • Full funding for the Air Force’s Long Range Strike Bomber and the KC-46 tanker program.
  • Full funding for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter development and test program.
  • Full funding for the Navy’s Ohio-class replacement submarine and the Unmanned Carrier Launched Airborne Surveillance and Strike development programs. 


Overseas Contingency Operations

The bill provides $64 billion for DoD Overseas Contingency Operations.  Significant items include:

  • $1.3 billion for the new Counterterrorism Partnerships Fund (CTPF) account to increase U.S. counterterrorism cooperation with countries such as Yemen, Libya, and Somalia. 
  • $5 billion for anti-ISIL operations, including $1.6 billion for training of Iraqi and Kurdish security forces. 
  • Authorizes a DoD-led program to train and equip vetted elements of the Syrian opposition through September 30, 2015, and allows for up to $500 million in funding for the program.
  • $810 million for the European Reassurance Initiative, part of the President’s OCO request to support the rotation of the U.S. Armed Forces through Europe and to increase train and equip programs for European countries.  The bill requires that not less than $175 million be spent in support of Ukraine and the Baltic nations, a substantial increase to current plans.
  • $4.1 billion for the training and sustainment of Afghanistan’s security forces.
  • $250 million to dispose of unexploded ordinance on U.S. bases in Afghanistan over the next two years, which will ensure that all remaining U.S. bases will be clean prior to their transition to Afghani control.
  • $1.2 billion for the National Guard and Reserve Equipment Account. 



  • Guantanamo:  Maintained the prohibition on transferring detainees to the United States as well as prohibiting the construction, modification or acquisition of facilities to house detainees within the US.  The bill includes a provision that will allow for the transfer of detainees overseas to their country of origin or another country.  
  • Ebola: The bill provides $112 million for Ebola response and preparedness.  Of these funds, $45 million is directed to DARPA long-range research programs, $50 million to nearer-term research programs of the Defense Threat Reduction Agency, and $12 million to procurement of necessary equipment. 
  • Climate Change:  The bill addresses climate change by adding $20 million each for the Army, Navy and Air Force for alternative energy research that is contributing to reduced emissions.  In addition, report language further encourages DoD to continue aggressively planning for the effects of climate change, particularly in regard to the Arctic, adding $5 million to Arctic Domain Awareness programs at DARPA. 

Arsenal Sustainment:  The bill adds $225 million to further stabilize rates at the three manufacturing arsenals.