House Appropriations defense subcommittee bill could mean more ships, planes

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    June 27 (UPI) — The Fiscal 2018 defense spending bill approved Tuesday by the House Appropriations defense subcommittee would provide greater funding for shipbuilding, aircraft and weapons procurement than the Navy requested.

    The HAC-D subcommittee on Tuesday approved a $584.2 billion base discretionary defense spending bill and is advancing it to the full Appropriations committee. With Overseas Contingency Operations funding of $73.9 billion, the spending bill reaches a total of $658.1 billion for the Department of Defense.

    OCO funding covers operations overseas and is also used to support allied nations in joint security and combat operations, including Israel, Iraq, Ukraine, Jordan and others.

    The bill is a compromise between President Donald Trump‘s $566 billion request and the much higher House Armed Services Committee request of $640 billion.

    The bill would fund 11 new ships, including an aircraft carrier, two destroyers, two submarines, three littoral combat ships and several support vessels including an Expeditionary Sea Base. The LCSs and ESB exceed what the Navy had requested.

    Included in the bill is $1.8 billion for 24 more F/A-18 Super Hornet carrier-launched fighter aircraft and faster acquisition of P-8 Poseidon maritime patrol planes.

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    The bill also provides for operations and maintenance spending for the Department of Defense that is $24.1 billion higher than Fiscal 2017. Aircraft, vehicle, and ship maintenance and refit shortfalls have lead to serious readiness problems across the services, and the additional funds are expected to start covering that gap.

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