House and Senate seeing eye-to-eye on defense spending for next year

THE MIL & AERO BLOG, 31 March 2015. At this early stage, the U.S. House and Senate are seeing eye-to-eye on next year's defense spending, as the two houses of Congress are placing roughly equal amounts for the Pentagon in their respective fiscal 2016 budget resolutions.

After big defense cuts, what lies ahead?
After big defense cuts, what lies ahead?
Blog Budget 31 March 2015THE MIL & AERO BLOG, 31 March 2015. At this early stage, the U.S. House and Senate are seeing eye-to-eye on next year's defense spending, as the two houses of Congress are placing roughly equal amounts for the Pentagon in their respective fiscal 2016 budget resolutions.

The House and Senate budget committees are recommending $523 billion for the U.S. Department of Defense base budget next year; this means that military spending won't be a contentious issue moving forward as House and Senate conferees gather to hammer out a final 2016 congressional budget resolution.

As it stands now, the House and Senate budget committees are recommending spending levels that would cut $11.3 billion from the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) request of $534.3 billion for fiscal 2016.

This is good news for several reasons. First, $11.3 billion isn't really much of a cut in the grand scheme of things. Second, it's unlikely that the Pentagon will be subject to drastic across-the-board cuts in its fiscal 2016 budget due to sequestration. Third, for the first time in years it looks like Congress is embarking on an orderly budgeting process that could see defense spending approved with little pain and suffering.

The congressional budget resolution is not a binding spending bill; instead it's a guideline for House and Senate armed services and appropriations committees to follow as they see fit as they wend their way through the budgeting process through next fall.

Related: Congress takes its first look at next year's DOD budget, and early indications are good

Things could look different between now and the beginning of federal fiscal 2016 next October 1, but at least we have indications of Congressional consensus for higher and more orderly defense spending than we've seen.

With each milestone in the congressional budget process, those in the defense industry can breathe another sigh of relief. At this early stage, they can look to the future with some confidence that they can plan for the fiscal year ahead.

After House and Senate conferees craft a final congressional budget resolution, the matter of defense spending for next year moves to the House and Senate armed services committees for authorized spending levels, and then on the appropriations committees for the actual release of money.

All this should be completed by next fall. A lot could happen between then and now to muddy the waters, but for right now it looks like the U.S. defense industry is in good shape.

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