Spending on military construction and family housing programs this year will jump by $1.4 billion over fiscal 2015 to $8.2 billion under the omnibus spending bill unveiled Wednesday, marking a significant step to restoring milcon funding to levels allocated as recently as FY 2014.
The military construction component would enjoy a 36 percent boost over last year to $6.5 billion, reported CQ. The official release of the omnibus was the first indication as to how milcon funding would benefit from October’s two-year budget deal allowing defense spending to exceed this year’s Budget Control Act cap by $33 billion.
Spending on military construction programs dropped about one-third in FY 2015 as DOD opted to defer a portion of its construction needs to fund higher priorities such as operations and readiness.
Total funding for milcon programs falls somewhat short of the administration’s $8.4 billion request for FY 2016, but still exceeds the recommendations in the spending bills passed by the House and Senate earlier this year. The House measure called for $7.7 billion; the Senate, $8.1 billion.
Despite the overall boost for milcon programs, spending to clean up installations closed during the first five BRAC rounds would drop $49 million from FY 2015 to $266 million. The FY 2016 funding exceeds the administration’s request by $15 million, but fails to stem the sharp drop in funding for cleanup and ongoing operations and maintenance at past BRAC sites since FY 2013.
The milcon spending bills passed earlier by the House and Senate matched the administration’s $251 million request for past base closure rounds.