On Wednesday, June 10, 2015, the House will begin consideration of H.R. 2685, the Department of Defense Appropriations Act, 2016, under a modified-open rule. H.R. 2685 was introduced on June 5, 2015 by Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-NJ) and was ordered reported by the Committee on Appropriations by voice vote on June 2, 2015.
H.R. 2685 provides $578.6 billion in total discretionary budget authority for the Department of Defense for fiscal year (FY) 2016, an increase of $24.4 billion above the FY 2015 enacted level and $800 million above the President’s request. The bill provides $490.2 billion for the Department of Defense base budget, which is a decrease of $36.7 billion below the budget request and $88.4 billion for the Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) account to support the Global War on Terrorism (GWOT), which is an increase of $37.5 above the budget request.
Funding in support of the GWOT “will provide the needed resources for the preparation and operation of our forces in the field, including funding for personnel requirements, operational needs, the purchase of new aircraft to replace combat losses, combat vehicle safety modifications, additional Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) assets, and maintenance of facilities and equipment. It also provides critical support to our key allies, such as Ukraine and Jordan, to resist aggression.”
The major provisions of the bill are as follows:
Title I—Military Personnel
Title I provides $122.7 billion for active, reserve, and National Guard military personnel, a decrease of $7.8 billion below the budget request, and a decrease of $5.3 billion below the FY 2015 enacted level. The Title provides funding to increase basic pay for all military personnel by 2.3 percent, as authorized by current law, effective January 1, 2016. The Title authorizes a total aggregated military personnel end strength level of 1,308,915 million active duty and 819,200 reserve personnel. This amounts to a decrease of 5,480 in total end strength for the active forces and a decrease of 9,800 in total end strength for the Selected Reserve, as compared to the fiscal year 2015 authorized levels.
Title II—Operation and Maintenance
Title II provides a total of $162.3 billion for operation and maintenance support to the Military Services and other Department of Defense entities, a decrease of $14.2 billion below the budget request, and an increase of $630.8 million above the FY 2015 enacted level.
Title III provides for a total of $98.6 billion for procurement, a decrease of $8.3 billion below the budget request. Major initiatives and modifications include:
Title IV—Research, Development, Test and Evaluation
Title IV provides a total of $66.2 billion for research, development, test and evaluation. Major initiatives and modifications include:
Title V—Revolving and Management Funds
Title V provides $1.6 billion for the Defense Working Capital Funds accounts and $474.2 million for the National Defense Sealift Fund. Within these funds, the bill restores $322 million to the Defense Commissary Agency to ensure servicemembers and their families receive continued savings for food and household goods as part of the military pay and benefits package.
Title VI—Other Department of Defense Programs
Title VI provides a total of $31.4 billion for the Defense Health Program to support worldwide medical and dental services for active forces and other eligible beneficiaries. The Title recommends funding to augment the request for enduring traumatic brain injury, psychological health, and wounded, ill and injured requirements.
The Title also provides for:
The bill provides no funding for the Joint Operational Needs Fund, which is $99.7 million below the budget request.
Title VII—Related Agencies
Title VII provides for $514.0 million for continuing the operation of the Central Intelligence Agency Retirement and Disability System Fund. The Title also provides for $507.9 for the Intelligence Community Management Account.
Title VIII—General Provisions
Title VIII includes, among others, the following general provisions:
Title IX—Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO)
Title IX provides $88.4 billion for Global War on Terrorism operations or the OCO fund. Of those funds, the Committee recommends $10.5 billion be made available for military personnel, $53.8 billion for operation and maintenance, and $18.1 billion for procurement. The Title also includes a recommendation for $452.7 million to be used to preserve the present A–10 force structure.
The bill also provides funding for certain classified programs. These funding levels are made available for review to Members in a classified annex.
 See House Report 114-139 at 3.
 See Press Release—“House Appropriations Committee Releases Fiscal Year 2016 Defense Bill,” May 19, 2015.
 See House Report 114-139 at 4.
 Id. at 11.
 Id. at 4.
 Id. at 5.
 Id. at 284.
 Id. at 289
 Id. at 291.
 Id. at 293.
 Id. at 292.
 Id. at 296.
 Id. at 297.
 Id. at 299.
The Department of Defense Appropriations Act has historically been the key mechanism through which Congress funds one of its primary responsibilities as mandated in Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution of the United States, which grants Congress the power to provide for the common defense; to raise and support an Army; to provide and maintain a Navy; and to make rules for the government and regulation of the land and naval forces.
According to the Chairman Rogers, “now, more than ever, we must ensure that our troops and officers have the resources they need to protect this great nation and our way of life. This bill makes responsible use of every tax dollar to give our armed forces the resources they need to stay safe, prepared, and in peak fighting form.”
 See House Appropriations Press Release, June 2, 2015.
If enacted, H.R. 2685 would result in discretionary budget authority of $578.6 billion.
For questions or further information please contact John Huston with the House Republican Policy Committee by email or at 6-5539.