Armed Forces News

The House has approved a $631.8 billion defense-spending bill for fiscal year 2018, which begins Oct. 1 and ends next Sept. 30. The measure approves $28.5 billion more than President Trump had requested.
Key provisions include:

•      $7.9 billion for aviation readiness.
•      $5.9 billion for increased naval presence
•      $5.7 billion for ground forces
•      $2.5 billion for missile defense

The bill contains language that would require contractors to be more forthcoming with the money they seek for service contracts. Lawmakers included this provision amid concerns that largely arose in big-ticket projects, such as the F-35 fighter and Ford-class aircraft carrier.

Strength also would increase. The Army, for instance, would gain an additional 10,000 active-duty and 3,000 reserve soldiers, while the Army National Guard would increase by 4,000.

Military treatment facilities outside the continental U.S. would not be allowed to reduce inpatient-care services.
Other funding would support ongoing combat operations in Afghanistan, Syria and Iraq, and bolster security efforts in Ukraine and eastern Europe, as well as the Indian and Pacific Oceans and Africa.

Cyber operations would receive $8 billion, a $1.7 billion increase compared to the fiscal 2017 budget.
Modernization provisions include support for the Army’s armored brigade combat teams. The Army would gain 85 M1A2 Abrams tanks, 93 M2A4 Bradley fighting vehicles, and 51 Hercules improved recovery vehicles, in addition to the funding Trump requested for the Armored Multipurpose Vehicle and Joint Light Tactical Vehicle programs.

It also calls for stabilization of costs for the F-35, while providing six additional V-22 tilt-rotor aircraft for the Navy and Marine Corps, and seven AH1-Z attack helicopters for the Marines as well.

The Marines also would gain 26 low-rate production versions of the Amphibious Combat Vehicle.
The Air Force would gain two additional KC-46A air refueling tanker aircraft, six MC-130J and one HC-130J special-mission aircraft. Additionally, C-5, C-17 and C-130 aircraft would receive funding for upgrades.

The Navy and Marines also would get three more P-8A and KC-130J aircraft.