The fiscal 2019 defense authorization bill passed last week by the House Armed Services Committee directs spending by defense agencies and field activities on civilian resources management, logistics management, services contracting and real estate management to drop by 25 percent by Jan. 1, 2021, but the measure calls for funding for 10 defense support agencies and the office of the secretary of defense to drop by only 5 percent next year as part of Chairman Mac Thornberry’s initiative to reduce spending on the department’s fourth estate and redirect it toward warfighting. The largest cut, $105 million, would be imposed on the Defense Information Systems Agency; the Office of Economic Adjustment would be forced to absorb a $3.5 million spending cut, under the committee’s recommendation. The Washington Headquarters Service, which would be eliminated by Jan. 1, 2021, under the policy bill, would suffer a 15 percent spending reduction in FY 2019 under the policy bill.
Of course, the appropriations committees are free to ignore the funding levels in the authorization bill. A committee aide acknowledged the cuts are intended only to “start us down that path” toward Thornberry’s intended 25 percent spending reduction in certain DOD support activities.
H.R. 5515 is set to go to the House floor next week, with the Rules Committee holding meetings on the legislation on May 21 and May 22.
Photo by Carmen Stevenson