A Post-Mortem on the FY 2009 Missile Defense Budget: Issues and Background

The President’s Request: The Missile Defense Agency (MDA) budget request for Fiscal Year 2009 (FY 2009), submitted to Congress on February 4th, was for $9.336 billion, an increase of $680 million over the FY 2008 appropriated amount. Within this budget, MDA allocated the bulk for the development, testing and fielding of nearterm capabilities, provided approximately $2.5 billion for development of new capabilities, and dedicated small segments to MDA’s routine operations requirements. The FY 2009 budget request for MDA sought to sustain the growth of missile defense spending that began with the Bush Administration’s first (FY 2002) budget request, and matched the previous highest MDA budget request ever (in FY 2007) of $9.3 billion. Within a Defense Department budget request that increased by 7.5% over last year’s appropriated amount — from $481 billion to $515 billion — the President’s request for MDA was 9% higher than last year.

Congressional Outcomes: Due to a variety of political and procedural factors throughout the 2008 legislative process, neither the Defense Authorization nor the Defense Appropriations bills were crafted in a normal fashion. Although both the House and Senate Armed Services Committees each followed standard procedures and passed their respective versions of the FY 2009 defense authorization bill, there was no conference to reconcile the Senate-passed S. 3001 with the House-passed H.R. 5658. Instead, members of the Armed Services committees negotiated informally a compromise bill and issued an “explanatory statement” to serve as a surrogate for the formal conference report that customarily accompanies an Authorization Act. As for Appropriations, both the House and the Senate Defense Appropriations subcommittees marked up a bill, but neither the House nor the Senate Appropriations
Committees held a full committee markup of a bill or issued a report, and neither full chamber considered a bill on the floor and debated amendments. Instead, an informal agreement on FY 2009 Defense Appropriations was passed as part of H.R. 2638, the
FY 2009 continuing resolution.

In its final form, the FY 2009 defense authorization bill reduced the President’s request for $9.336 billion by $409 million, for a total of $8.926 billion. The FY 2009 defense appropriations bill reduced the President’s request by $321 million, for a total
of $9.015 billion.

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