fighter pilot inside the canopy of a jet sitting on tarmac
A U.S. Navy F-35C arrives at Hill Air Force Base for depot modifications. Image

The House Appropriations Defense Subcommittee signed off on a draft of the FY25 defense appropriations bill this week, setting the stage for consideration by the full committee and eventually the full House.

The legislation provides $833.1 billion for the Pentagon in FY25 (excluding military construction), which is in line with spending limits established by the Fiscal Responsibility Act. The FSA limited national security spending growth to 1% in FY25.

The draft bill recommends $165.3 billion for procurement, which is $1.4 billion below the request. The subcommittee would offset that cut with a $2.7 billion increase for research and development, which is funded at $145.9 billion in the draft legislation. If adopted by the full committee, the proposal would mirror last year’s FY24 budget process, during which the House Appropriations Committee proposed slashing procurement by nearly $4 billion in exchange for a $1.9 billion increase for research and development. Senate appropriators took an inverse approach during the FY24 markup process, slashing research dollars in favor of boosting procurement, but both categories ultimately received additional funding in the final negotiated spending bill.

Despite the overall reduction in money for buying new hardware, several programs would see increased procurement rates in the subcommittee’s draft bill. The F-35 is the biggest example, with the subcommittee recommending an additional two F-35As and six F-35Cs. However, those increases wouldn’t completely offset the cuts made to the program in the FY25 request, which reduced planned procurement by six F-35A, three F-35Bs, and six F-35Cs.

The House proposal also adds two C-130Js for the Air National Guard, two KC-130Js for the Navy Reserve, two HH-60W Combat Rescue Helicopters, one CH-53K, two UH-60s, two CH-47Fs, and $400 million to accelerate delivery of the E-7 aircraft to the Air Force. Lawmakers are pushing back against the Air Force’s plan to retire some of its legacy aircraft, and the bill prevents the divestment of the U-2 and certain F-15s slated for retirement.

The draft bill also eliminates funding for a Constellation class frigate and a Landing Ship Medium (LSM), though it adds three LCAC 100 Ship-to-Shore Connectors. Missing from the proposal is a second Virginia class submarine, which was added in an earlier markup from the House Armed Services Committee. The Navy originally planned to buy two subs in FY25, but one of them was removed from the request. Lawmakers also proposed blocking the early retirement of three ships.

The subcommittee addressed the need for rapidly fielding advanced technologies by bolstering funding for the Defense Innovation Unit. The DIU would receive an extra $460 million for equipment fielding requirements from combatant commanders and the major services, plus $45 million for classified facilities investment. The draft also provides $400 million for the Accelerate the Procurement and Fielding of Innovative Technologies (APFIT) program, which aims to avoid programs failing to mature beyond the development cycle.

The full House Appropriations Committee is expected to vote on the draft bill next week. The proposed changes in the House bill will ultimately have to be reconciled with the Senate Appropriations Committee markup, which hasn’t been completed. Several senators have proposed exceeding the FY25 spending caps, but it remains to be seen if they will garner enough support to do so. It’s possible some additional funding could ultimately be funneled into a future supplemental spending bill. For example, the $95 billion national security supplemental bill passed in April contained several billion dollars for the U.S. submarine industrial base.