|May 15, 2000 |
This Statement of Administration Policy provides the Administration's views on the Military Construction Appropriations Bill, FY 2001, as reported by the House Appropriations Committee. Your consideration of the Administration's views would be appreciated.
Overall Funding Level and Unrequested Projects
The Administration commends the Committee for reporting a bill that funds almost all of the construction projects requested in the President's FY 2001 Budget. Especially noteworthy is the full funding of the requests for Chemical Demilitarization and Base Realignment and Closure. However, the Administration is concerned that the overall funding level of the Committee bill would drain critical resources from other programs. The Administration believes that the President's budget request correctly addresses our most important FY 2001 military construction and housing needs and that additional funding is not required.
The Administration questions the Committee's increase of $600 million to the funding level requested in the President's budget. Within this overall net increase, the Committee has funded 130 projects costing about $836 million that were not requested in the President's budget. A majority of these projects, 75 costing about $403 million, are not funded in DoD's Future Years Defense Program (FYDP). The Department of Defense has a rigorous process for selecting projects to be included in the FYDP and the budget. This process takes into account safety, health, environmental, and military utility issues to determine the highest priority projects. Substituting projects not in the FYDP for those included in the FYDP undermines the careful prioritization approved by the military services. The Administration urges the Committee to delete funding added for unrequested projects, especially those not in the FYDP.
Ballistic Missile Defense Organization Construction Program
The Committee has reduced the construction request for the Ballistic Missile Defense Organization (BMDO) by $20 million. The Administration urges the Committee to fully fund the President's request for this program, $103.5 million. These funds are essential to preserving the President's options for deploying a national missile defense system. If any of these funds are not used for deployment, we will work with Congress using established procedures to ensure that these funds are used for other high priority Department of Defense construction projects. The Department of Defense is providing the Military Construction Appropriations Subcommittee additional justification materials for the BMDO construction request.
NATO Security Investment Program
The Committee bill reduces the request for the NATO Security Investment Program (NSIP) by $12.5 million. The Administration urges the Committee to provide the $190 million requested in the President's budget to support critical NATO operations fully. Moreover, the Administration objects to section 124 of the Committee bill, which would prohibit the use of NSIP funds or other funds provided in the bill for use in Partnership for Peace programs in the New Independent States of the former Soviet Union. While we believe this provision would have no practical effect in the short term, if this provision became a permanent fixture in future Military Construction Appropriations Acts, it could adversely affect future U.S. foreign policy initiatives as well as future NATO-led operations. The Administration urges the Committee to delete this restriction from the bill.
Energy Conservation Investment Program
The Committee has reduced the Energy Conservation Investment Program (ECIP) request in its entirety ($33.6 million), citing large unobligated balances in this program. This program has proven its worth by financing capital improvements that yield significant energy savings to the Department and help in the elimination of inefficient and high-maintenance energy systems. Moreover, actual ECIP unobligated balances are much lower than those portrayed by the Subcommittee and are likely to be exhausted by the end of the fiscal year. This is due to the Congress' elimination of the FY 2000 ECIP budget request and proactive efforts by DoD to reduce unobligated balances by aggressively pursuing the execution of ECIP projects. Thus, the proposed reduction would effectively result in a pause of the ECIP program. The Administration urges that funding be restored to this program to ensure its continuity and benefit to DoD.