August 6, 2004 | WebMemo on National Security and Defense
Congress has passed and President Bush has signed into law the $417.5 billion 2005 Department of Defense Appropriations Act. This legislation funds both America's core defense program and its ongoing operations in Iraq. Many of the activities funded by the bill are vitally important to the United States' national security and have been advocated by the Heritage Foundation. These provisions include-
Although the 2005 Appropriation Act contains many worthwhile provisions, the legislation is shortsighted in several areas. For example, it cuts funding for the Advanced Wideband System and Mobile User Objective System, both of which are central to the Pentagon's future communications networks. It also cuts funding for Space-Based Radar, which will allow the military to track targets deep in enemy territory, by $100 million. These programs are critical to the forces' overall transformation. The Act also cuts the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency's (DARPA) budget by $50 million and ballistic missile defense by $183 million.
Additionally, the Act includes over $1.3 billion in non-defense spending for such things as humanitarian relief in the Sudan, fire fighting assistance, and security at the Democratic and Republican national conventions. While these expenditures may be worthwhile, they should not be part of Defense appropriations.
It total, the 2005 Department of Defense Appropriations Act will provide the U.S. armed forces with the tools it needs to respond to the nation's national security needs as it prepares America's armed forces for the unpredictable future
Jack Spencer is Senior Policy Analyst for Defense and National Security in the Kathryn and Shelby Cullom Davis Institute for International Studies at The Heritage Foundation.