CBO: Senate Defense bill costs $634 billion

ADVERTISEMENT
CBO says the authorization bill would increase costs in the next three years by $42 billion, assuming appropriators go along with the Armed Services plans. 

Senate authorizers clipped millions from the Pentagon's initial budget request across the board, resulting in a $3 billion overall cut compared to the department's request sent to Capitol Hill in February, according to CBO estimates. 

Specifically, defense authorizers opted to trim $5 billion from DOD's personnel coffers and an additional $6 billion from the department's procurement accounts, the CBO report states. 

Over 10 years, direct spending such as on the military healthcare system is reduced by just $75 million, CBO says.

Lawmakers also took $3 billion from military construction funds and finally axed $2 billion from DOD's research and procurement accounts. 

Those cuts, however, were offset by a $14 billion funding increase to pay for operations and maintenance of the Pentagon's current arsenal. 

Despite the overall reduction to DOD procurement accounts, Navy and Army officials earned some big wins on a number of key weapons programs in the Senate bill

Defense authorizers approved the Navy's plan to implement multiyear buys for the Virginia-class submarine, Arleigh Burke-class of destroyers and the controversial V-22 Osprey. 

Army acquisition officials were also given the green light to begin buying new CH-47 Chinook helicopters under a new multiyear deal. 

The multi-year deals guarantee a contractor steady work and can help the services spread costs and generate savings within programs across the Pentagon's five-year spending plan. 

That said, Senate defense committee members also decided to cut the military's total force by just over 20,000 troops, leaving a 1.4 million man active-duty force across all the services. 

As expected, the Army took the biggest hit, losing 9,900 soldiers under the Senate bill. Next comes the Marine Corps, who stand to lose 4,800 Marines beginning in fiscal 2013. 

The Navy and Air Force will lose a combined 6,200 sailors and airmen, with the air service taking the larger of the two personnel hits.  

Select Reserve units were cut by just under 3,000 according to the Senate version of the Pentagon's spending bill.  

That smaller force will save the Pentagon $12.6 billion over over the next five years beginning in FY '13, according to the CBO.