Congress Releases FY19 Defense Policy Bill

by Shaun McDougall, Military Markets AnalystForecast International.

USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) and USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) conduct strike group operations.
Source: U.S. Navy

U.S. House and Senate lawmakers completed the conference markup of the FY19 defense authorization bill on July 23.  The defense policy bill adheres to the spending levels agreed upon in the bipartisan budget act, providing a defense base budget of $639.1 billion.  That figure comprises $616.9 billion in discretionary funding for the Department of Defense, $21.9 billion for nuclear programs in the Department of Energy, and around $300 million for defense-related activities outside the DoD.  Another $69 billion is provided for Overseas Contingency Operations, for a total of $708.1 billion in discretionary defense spending.  When including $8.9 billion in mandatory spending, the FY19 topline authorized in the legislation totals $717 billion.  The separate congressional appropriations process will finalize how much money the military actually has available to spend in FY19.

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Congressional Appropriators Boost F-35 Production

by Shaun McDougall, Military Markets AnalystForecast International.

F-35C Completes Flyover of USS Zumwalt (DDG 1000) Source: U.S. Navy

The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program is poised for a boost in 2019, as two U.S. congressional defense panels have signed off on additional aircraft for the Department of Defense.  Precisely how many additional aircraft each service will receive must be ironed out in conference committee.  This plus-up contrasts with the House and Senate Armed Services Committees, both of which expressed concern about the F-35 production ramp-up.  Continue reading

F-35s Delivered to Turkey as Congress Considers Its Next Move

By Ray Jaworowski, Senior Aerospace AnalystForecast International.

An F-35 fighter jet on display at a roll-out ceremony for Turkey’s F-35s.  Photo: Beth Steel/Lockheed Martin

Lockheed Martin formally delivered Turkey’s first two F-35A Joint Strike Fighters on June 21.  However, the milestone occurred amidst various moves within the U.S. Congress aimed at blocking further deliveries of the new fighter to that country.

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Tactical Air and Land Forces Subcommittee Cranks Up Pressure on USAF over JSTARS Recap

by C. Zachary Hofer, Electronic Systems Analyst, Forecast International.

Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System Recapitalization (JSTARS Recap) program underway.

Can the U.S. Congress force the Air Force into reinstating the JSTARS Recapitalization program? According to the HASC’s Tactical Air and Land Forces Subcommittee’s markup of the FY19 National Defense Authorization Bill, there is a good possibility that it can. Continue reading

Forecast International Launches Improved U.S. Defense Budget Database

by Shaun McDougall, Military Markets AnalystForecast International.

Source: Forecast International’s U.S. Defense Budget Forecast

Forecast International is pleased to announce the launch of a newly enhanced U.S. Defense Budget Forecast database, now featuring the ability to track major program spending and identify winners and losers within every Pentagon budget request.  FI’s budget database provides quick access to DoD request and forecast budget data, justification documents, congressional markups, and more.  The Pentagon’s massive weapons spending plan can be sorted by value, with options for filtering programs by appropriation title (R1/P1), service, and appropriation account.       Continue reading

U.S. Defense Bill Boosts Procurement Despite Topline Cuts

by Shaun McDougall, Military Markets Analyst, Forecast International.

EA-18G Growler.  Source - U.S. Navy

EA-18G Growler. Source – U.S. Navy

U.S. lawmakers released an omnibus appropriations bill on December 16, 2015. The legislation was passed by Congress and signed into law on December 18. The bill provides $514.1 billion in base discretionary funding for the Department of Defense, $12.8 billion below the request. This cut is partially offset by a $7.7 billion increase in the Overseas Contingency Operations account, which totals $58.6 billion. Overall, the Pentagon saw a net funding reduction of $5.1 billion, but the amount provided is still $18.7 billion more than FY15 enacted levels. Continue reading

Is a New Dedicated Close Air Support Aircraft a Possibility for the U.S. Air Force?

By Shaun McDougall, Military Markets Analyst, Forecast International.

A-10 Warthog (Small)

A-10 Warthog

The U.S. Air Force has recently appeared more open to the idea of developing a future close air support aircraft to replace the legacy A-10, despite ongoing efforts to retire that very aircraft to save money. Air Combat Command’s 2015 strategy document, unveiled this month, recommends keeping the door open for a new dedicated CAS aircraft. “We must also continue to develop a balanced close air support (CAS) capability across all [Global Precision Attack] platforms, explore opportunities for a future CAS platform, and enact specific initiatives to ensure we maintain a CAS culture throughout the [Combat Air Force],” the strategy document reads. Furthermore, when asked earlier this year about the possibility of eventually fielding a new dedicated CAS aircraft, ACC Commander Gen. Hawk Carlisle told reporters at the Air Force Association Air Warfare symposium, “We’re thinking about it.” Continue reading

U.S. House Budget Resolution Uses OCO Account as Back Door to Boost Defense Spending

by Shaun McDougall, Forecast International.

U.S. House Republicans have proposed an FY16 budget plan that would allow the Pentagon to sidestep sequestration spending caps by adding $39 billion to the Overseas Contingency Operations account. There are aspects of the budget plan that will upset both Democrats and Republican deficit hawks, however, meaning the proposed blueprint is essentially dead-on-arrival.

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