This Statement of Administration Policy provides the Administration's views on
H.R. 2266, the Department of Defense Appropriations Bill, FY 1998, as reported
by the House Appropriations Committee. Your consideration of the
Administration's views would be appreciated.
The Committee has developed a bill that provides requested funding for many of
the Administration's priorities. We appreciate the Committee's decision to
fund the National Missile Defense program at the levels recommended in the
Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR). Likewise, we appreciate the Committee's
fully funding, at requested levels, contingency operations in both Bosnia and
The Administration, however, has serious concerns about certain provisions of
the Committee bill. Overall, for the reasons stated below, the Secretary of
Defense would join the President's other senior advisers in recommending that
the President veto the bill if it were presented to him in its current form.
Bosnia Funding Provision
The Administration strongly objects to the provision of the Committee bill
that would prohibit funding for U.S. ground operations in Bosnia after a date
certain. This provision could jeopardize the safety of our troops and damage
our national security interests. It would seriously undermine our commitment
to shepherd the Dayton Peace Accords to full implementation and undercut our
ability to complete successfully the NATO-led mission in Bosnia. This would
result in a serious loss of credibility with our allies, the Bosnian parties,
and with other countries participating in the Stabilization Force (SFOR). In
addition, the provision contains onerous reporting language that also requests
foreign military planning information. Since the President cannot require our
allies to divulge their military plans publicly, the reporting requirements
could place the President in violation of the law.
The Administration firmly opposes the $331 million increase to the
President's request for B-2 production, procurement, and maintenance costs.
The Department of Defense concluded in both the Deep Attack Weapons Mix Study
and the Quadrennial Defense Review that the costs of procuring more B-2s exceed
the benefits. Furthermore, the additional aircraft would incur 20-year
life-cycle costs of approximately $20 billion, which would weaken the ability
of the Air Force to acquire other urgently needed weapons systems. These
resources should be allocated to higher priority requirements.
Under Committee scoring, the bill provides $248.1 billion in total
discretionary funding, exceeding the President's request by $4.8 billion, an
amount greater than the increase assumed in the Bipartisan Budget Agreement.
Achieving this funding level required a reallocation of funds from Department
of Energy programs to Department of Defense (DoD) programs, an action we
believe is an unacceptable deviation from our understanding of the Bipartisan
Budget Agreement. Moreover, the Committee bill provides funds for unrequested
programs not in the DoD Future Years Defense Program (FYDP), at the expense of
higher priority programs requested by the Department. We urge the House to
eliminate funding for programs not anticipated in the Pentagon's long-range
plans and to restore funding to programs of higher priority.
Increases in Procurement Programs Not in the FYDP
The Committee bill would provide an additional $3.9 billion for procurement
programs above the Administration's request. Over $1.5 billion of this
increase is for programs not in the FYDP and of questionable value to the
Department's overall plans to modernize military forces. These include: an
additional $331 million for B-2 Bombers; $230 million for 4 modified C-130J
airlift aircraft; $175 million for OH-58D Kiowa Warriors Helicopters; $56
million for modifications to Paladin Self-Propelled Artillery systems for the
Army National Guard; and, $40 million for the Field Artillery Ammunition
Support Vehicles for the Army National Guard. While we appreciate the
flexibility the Committee has provided for allocating the National Guard and
Reserve equipment increase, we nonetheless oppose the additional $850 million
for National Guard and Reserve equipment that has been added for programs not
in the FYDP.
The Administration urges reallocation of these appropriations to support key
DoD modernization programs such as the Navy's Arsenal Ship Demonstrator, the
next-generation aircraft carrier (CV(X)-78), and advance procurement funding
for the second nuclear aircraft carrier refueling overhaul.
Funding Restrictions on Shipbuilding Programs
The Administration is concerned with language of the Committee bill that would
place restrictions on spending for a nuclear aircraft carrier refueling
overhaul and on DDG-51 destroyers. Such spending restrictions would be
disruptive to the proper management of these programs.
Cooperative Threat Reduction Program
The Committee bill would reduce DoD's Cooperative Threat Reduction (CTR)
program by $97.5 million from the Administration's request. The CTR program is
an important and highly effective means of enhancing U.S. security through
eliminating weapons of mass destruction and preventing weapons proliferation.
The request of $382.2 million is a bare-bones figure based on a difficult
prioritization of a long list of potential projects. The proposed reduction
would force DoD to delay several projects in the Former Soviet Union in
critical areas such as the destruction of nuclear delivery systems and chemical
weapons, improvements to the safety and security of stored nuclear warheads and
fissile material, and the cessation of production of weapons-grade plutonium.
The Administration urges the House to restore appropriations to the requested
Dual Use Application Program
The Committee has provided only $100 million of the $225 million requested for
the Dual Use Application Program (DUAP). The Administration strongly opposes
the Committee's reduction from the requested amount for this high priority
program. DUAP is saving money in DoD's most rapidly growing cost category --
operating and support costs -- by inserting commercial technologies in fielded
weapons systems and by enabling the Military Departments to take advantage of
the commercial innovation cycle and get better technology to the field quickly.
Advanced Concept Technology Demonstration Program
The Committee bill would reduce by $60 million the President's $121 million
request for the Advanced Concept Technology Demonstration (ACTD) program. This
program supports work on new and innovative defense system concepts and could
provide the basis for systems providing a decisive military edge over
adversaries in the next century. This reduction would limit the Department's
ability to test these new defense systems early in the development phase, when
changes to these systems provide the greatest payoff. The Administration urges
the House to restore funding to the level requested in the President's budget.
The Administration does not support the Committee's uniform cap on executive
compensation. In lieu of this cap, we urge the House to adopt the
Administration's February 28, 1997, legislative proposal, which recognizes that
contractor executive compensation limitations should reflect pay levels based
on industry norms.
Overseas Humanitarian Disaster and Civic Assistance
The Administration objects to the Committee's $25 million cut to DOD's
Overseas Humanitarian Disaster and Civic Assistance (OHDACA) account. The
Administration requests restoration of funding for the OHDACA account to the
President's requested level so that the Department can respond appropriately
to unanticipated global emergencies.
Unmanned Aerial Vehicle
The Administration objects to the Committee's termination of the Outrider
unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) program. The Outrider is needed to meet the
Joint's Staff's number one UAV requirement -- a Tactical UAV. Termination of
the Outrider would significantly delay the fielding of any UAV reconnaissance
Joint Chiefs of Staff Exercise Program Cuts
The Committee bill recommends sharp reductions to requested funding for the
Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) exercise program. This program provides for the
transportation of U.S. forces to engage in large-scale joint training
operations with other U.S. services and allies. The Administration is
concerned about the size of the reduction to this program and will work with
the Congress to determine the appropriate funding level for JCS exercises as
the bill moves through the process.
Restrictions on Presidential Foreign Policy Prerogatives
The Committee bill includes a general provision that would limit the
President's flexibility to conduct foreign relations with respect to North
Korea (section 8058). Given continuing uncertainty on the Korean Peninsula,
such a provision would hinder the President's ability to use all means at his
disposal to prevent a disastrous conflict from breaking out. The
Administration urges the House to delete this provision.
Limitation on Transfer of Defense Articles and Services
Section 8072 of the Committee bill would forbid 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,
though, includes no waiver for national security emergencies such as providing
weapons to troops supporting U.S. forces engaged in hostilities. Because the
provision, if read to forbid such action, would intrude on the President's
authority as Commander in Chief, the Department of Justice advises that the
provision would be construed as inapplicable in such situations.
Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile
The Committee bill would delete all funding and terminate the Joint
Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile (JASSM) program in favor of the Joint Standoff
Land Attack Missile (SLAM) program. The Joint Requirements Oversight Council
(JROC) has repeatedly reviewed the SLAM-Extended Range (ER) and JASSM programs
and has found insufficient technical and engineering data on either program
that would lead to cancellation. The current Joint Service strategy is to
collect data on both weapons to perform an informed, accurate, and timely
Analysis of Alternatives to determine which system will provide warfighters
with the required effectiveness at the best value. A premature and
unsubstantiated decision could later result in a more expensive and less
NATO Joint Surveillance and Target Attack Radar System
The Administration urges the House to fund the NATO Joint Surveillance and
Target Attack Radar System (JSTARS) program at the level requested in the
President's budget. JSTARS aircraft provide real-time surveillance of the
battlefield and rear echelons by detecting, identifying, and tracking enemy
armor and vehicular traffic and providing their locations for targeting. A
reduction to this program could adversely affect a decision by NATO to proceed
with the anticipated purchase of the JSTARS aircraft.