Union Tribune

October 11, 2002


House passes $355 billion bill for defense
Pay raises, county projects included


WASHINGTON The House yesterday overwhelmingly approved a compromise $355.4 billion in funding for national defense and for military construction, including projects that would bring billions of dollars to California.

Quick Senate approval was also expected, and White House press secretary Ari Fleischer said President Bush looks forward to signing the measure into law because it will "ensure that we provide our troops in the field with the resources they need to fight terrorism and defend freedom."

The defense bill, passed 409-14, provides money for a 4.1 percent pay raise for all active and reserve service members, plus extra bonuses for some midcareer personnel. That is the third straight pay raise in excess of increases in the cost of living.

The overall defense appropriation is $1.6 billion less than Bush requested. But it does not include $10 billion held in reserve for unplanned military costs, such as additional conflicts in the war on terrorism or an attack on Iraq.

Even without the reserve fund, the Pentagon will get $37.5 billion more than Congress provided for the past fiscal year, not counting about $20 billion in supplemental funds.

Congress added $835 million to the construction bill, providing a total of $10.5 billion for military facilities and family housing. That includes $479.4 million in construction work throughout California and $142.4 million for San Diego County bases, according to data provided by Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., and Rep. Randy Cunningham, R-Escondido, members of the appropriations panels.

Reps. Cunningham, Duncan Hunter, R-El Cajon, Darrell Issa, R-Vista, and Susan Davis, D-San Diego, voted with the majority. Rep. Bob Filner, D-San Diego, opposed the measure.

The defense bill includes $7.4 billion for continued development of missile defense systems, in which scores of aerospace and high-tech firms throughout California are involved.

The bill contains $3.2 billion for 46 of the Navy's new F/A-18 Super Hornets, $4 billion for 23 Air Force F/A-22 Raptors and $3.5 billion for development of the multi-service Joint Strike Fighter. Although they are assembled elsewhere, major components of all three aircraft are produced in Southern California.

Two unmanned aerial vehicles developed by San Diego firms also were funded, with $171 million for the Global Hawk system designed by Northrop Grumman Ryan Aeronautics Center and $131 million for 22 Predators produced by General Atomics. Both UAVs have been used in Afghanistan.

In local military construction funding, Camp Pendleton Marine Corps Base will get a total of $96 million for six projects, including $28.8 million for an aviation training complex at the air field, $23.2 million for a new enlisted barracks and $12 million for a water treatment and distribution system.

San Diego Naval Station receives $20.9 million total to build a new maintenance shop, improve electrical service on Pier 2, replace the perimeter security fence, install security lighting at the waterfront and replace the pier on San Clemente Island.

Miramar Marine Corps Air Station will get $18.4 million total for a construction equipment shop, an explosives storage facility and a refueling vehicle shop.

The Army National Guard center in San Diego will receive $6.8 million for a maintenance shop and North Island Naval Air Station is provided $410,000 to design a new entry gate.