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Only about a third of the FY2023 spending bill is for programs unrelated to military and law enforcement
Speaking Security Newsletter | Note n°190 | 23 December 2022
The House just passed the FY2023 omnibus bill, sending it to Biden’s desk for approval. Here’s a breakdown of the 12 regular appropriations bills and two supplemental measures that make up the omnibus legislation. Outside of Department of Defense (DOD) appropriations, the FY2023 bill primarily fattens up on Military Construction/Veterans Affairs funding.
Democratic leadership is claiming victory, citing the omnibus’s inclusion of the “highest level for [sic] non-defense funding ever.” The implication is that non-military spending is the same as social spending. It is not.
Consider the military aid programs sponsored by the State Department (DOS), nuclear weapons programs in the Department of Energy (DOE) budget, and recurring post-war expenses that go to veterans care and benefits. Consider also Department of Justice (DOJ) and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) law enforcement and prison operations and grants to state and local police. Outside of the Department of Defense base budget, I counted almost $300 billion in military- and law enforcement-related spending.
What the following tally amounts to is a more nuanced accounting of “security spending” as defined by the Budget Control Act of 2011 (PL 112-25). That categorization includes the same stuff as I do here—the DOD budget, VA funding, DOE nuclear weapons programs, DOS military aid, DHS law enforcement—however, that definition considers the entire DHS budget, whereas I only count its law enforcement provisions (so, for example, I exclude FEMA from my count, except for its grant programs for state and local police). Another point of departure: I factor in some DOJ activities. (See the itemized list of appropriations I considered in this analysis, below.)
All appropriations considered: Department of Defense and Military Construction and Veterans Affairs appropriations bills; Department of Homeland Security Title II provisions (Customs and Border Protection; Immigration and Customs Enforcement; Transportation Security Administration; Coast Guard provisions in DHS; Secret Service; FEMA police grants); State and Local Law Enforcement Assistance and COPS Program; Bureau of Prisons; Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms; Drug Enforcement Administration; Marshals Service; Parole Commission; Federal Bureau of Investigation; DOJ National Security Division; Interagency Crime and Drug Enforcement; the military aid portion of the Additional Ukraine Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2023; DOD and BOP facilities in the Disaster Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2023; State Department Title IV, International Security Assistance; National Nuclear Security Administration.
*The table displaying appropriations levels has been amended to show a $26.62B increase for MILCON/VA. The first version erroneously displayed $38.1B. The FY2023 appropriation, $154.2B, remains correct.