The Pentagon asked Congress this week for permission to rejigger $112 million in funding within its coffers for new intelligence and surveillance programs including Special Operations Command spy planes.
Military budget officials submitted to congressional defense committees on Monday a request for reprogramming a total of $641 million in Pentagon funding to support military-intelligence programs. The 20-page request is separate from the 82-page omnibus reprogramming proposal to move around $8 billion in other Pentagon funding lawmakers received last Friday. The new intelligence-related proposal seeks four money-shifts to fund so-called new start programs–which lawmakers often do not want the Pentagon to launch through such reprogramming requests.
The Pentagon wants a “new start” MC-12 JAVAMAN reconnaissance plane effort for Special Operations Command. The reprogramming document proposes shifting $26.9 million in fiscal year 2012 Pentagon funding to buy nine of the phase 1 version of the aircraft, and $28.3 million in FY ’11 monies for five of the phase 2 planes, both within the Overseas Contingency Operations budget for war-related activities.
The Pentagon now leases the Hawker Beechcraft planes for forward-deployed intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) operations. The procurement cost of the MC-12 JAVAMAN aircraft is $3 million for the phase 1 iterations and $5.7 million for the phase 2 versions, the reprogramming document states.
The Pentagon is seeking to shift those monies for the Special Operations MC-12s because of an urgent request from theater. The MC-12 JAVAMAN effort is an initiative of the ISR Task Force, which former defense secretary Robert Gates created in April 2008 to increase ISR capabilities in Central Command. He soon after called for the purchase of MC-12Ws, twin-engine turboprop aircraft outfitted with sophisticated ISR capabilities for supporting ground forces.
The Pentagon’s $641 million military-intelligence reprogramming request also attempts to shift funding for two new-start classified programs that are not described. One of the proposals seeks to move $50 million in FY ’12 Air Force research and development monies for “defense reconnaissance support activities,” as part of a new “congressional interest item” in the base defense budget. The other request attempts to move $7 million in FY ’11 defense-wide research and development funds for a classified new-start program falling under the category of operational system development. The $7 million effort is described as a Central Command “Fast Lane” requirement within the base defense budget.
Each individual money-shifting item in reprogramming requests must be approved by House and Senate armed services and defense appropriations panels. In addition to the $641 million military-intelligence reprogramming proposal Congress received Monday, the Pentagon also submitted a massive 82-page reprogramming plan last Friday that seeks to rejigger $8 billion (Defense Daily, July 2).