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Appropriation Act Signed, Pay to Rise 3.7 Percent

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Aug. 22, 2000 – President Clinton signed the fiscal 2001 Defense Appropriations Act, paving the way for a 3.7 percent pay raise for service members Jan. 1.

The budget of $288 billion is an increase of $18 billion over fiscal 2000 and about $3.5 billion more than the president requested.

The act provides $75.8 billion to pay a total of 1.382 million active duty personnel and 866,934 members of the reserve components.

The act also provides money for DoD to begin eliminating out-of-pocket housing costs. Currently, the Basic Allowance for Housing covers only about 81 percent of service members' housing costs if they live off base. DoD seeks to cut this 19 percent out-of-pocket expense to 15 percent in fiscal 2001 and to zero by 2005.

The Defense Health Program is funded at $12.1 billion. That share includes money Congress added to support changes to the military pharmacy benefit. Members of Congress said the legislation also would provide a blueprint for implementing permanent health care for retirees.

Congress matched the administration in funding operations and maintenance. O&M funding is set at $96.9 billion in fiscal 2001. This is up from $92.2 billion in fiscal 2000. The funding covers contingencies in Southwest Asia and in Bosnia and Kosovo.

Military modernization also got a boost from the act. Procurement for fiscal 2001 is set at $59.2 billion. Major Army projects funded include $729 million for Apache Longbow modifications, $637 million for medium armored vehicle family and $294 million for Abrams tank upgrades.

In addition, the Army will receive $1.6 billion to transform itself. Army Chief of Staff Gen. Eric Shinseki called for the creation of 4,000-member quick strike brigades that can be deployed anywhere in the world in 96 hours. The appropriations act fully funds one such brigade and will equip a second brigade in 2001. The Army also received money to develop a lightweight “future combat system” vehicle.

Navy and Marine Corps procurement actions include $4.2 billion for 42 F/A-18E/F fighters, $1.1 billion for V-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft, $4 billion for the CVN-77 aircraft carrier and $2.7 billion for three DDG-51 destroyers.

Air Force procurement includes $2.1 billion for 10 F-22 fighters, $400 million for five F-15 fighters, $2.8 billion for C-17 airlifters and $380 million for C-135 modifications.

The Fiscal 2001 Defense Authorization Bill is still being worked on. The authorization bill allows DoD to spend money. The appropriation act actually provides the funds. DoD officials said they expect work to finish on this bill when Congress meets in September.

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