Feature ArticleUS Government Fiscal Year 2012 Budget
Concerns about growing deficits—primarily fueled by nondiscretionary spending increases—have prompted calls for new fiscal discipline by the U.S. government. Budget cuts are sure to be a major focus as Congress works to pass a budget for fiscal year (FY) 2012.
The U.S. government came close to a shutdown in April, six months into a series of continuing resolutions (CR) that kept the government running in FY 2011. It was only through a last-minute compromise that Congress reached another CR, with the goal to pass a record $38.5 billion in cuts. Those cuts were far less than the $100 billion in cuts proposed by the U.S. House of Representatives earlier in the year, but the across-the-board FY 2011 cuts will be felt by most federal agencies.
The following article outlines the proposed White House FY 2012 budget, released in February, with specific focus on ocean-related government programs.
Department of Defense
The Department of Defense (DOD) FY 2012 budget requests $671 billion: a $553 billion base budget plus $118 billion for operational contingence operations (OCO), primarily for the campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan. OCO funding is down from $159 billion in FY 2011. The overall budget is down 6.6 percent from the FY 2011. Looking at the budget over a longer timeframe, the FY 2010 to FY 2016 budget request increases 0.5 percent.
The breakdown according to appropriation is $204.4 billion for operations and maintenance (O&M), $142.8 billion for military personnel, $113 billion for procurement, $75.3 billion for research, development, test and evaluation (RDT&E).
In the FY 2012 through FY 2016 period, DOD estimates that through its focus on a reform agenda, there is $178 billion in cost avoidance: $100 billion is reinvested and $78 billion in top-line reductions. Some specifics are a freeze on civilian hiring and civilian pay, staff reductions, health care reform and contractor support reductions.
The FY 2012 budget funds two percent real growth in basic research and maintains stable funding in science and technology at $12.2 billion. In real terms, the FY 2012 science and technology budget is 29 percent greater than the FY 2000 budget request.
The U.S. Navy FY 2012 base budget is $161.4 billion, up from $160.6 billion in FY 2011, with $47.9 billion for O&M, $45.8 billion for procurement, $18 billion for RDT&E, $46.6 billion for military personnel and $3.1 billion for infrastructure. With $15 billion for OCO, the total Navy budget request is $176.4 billion.
The Navy force structure in FY 2012 is 288 ships: 11 aircraft carriers (CVAs), 14 ballistic missile submarines (SSBMs), four guided missile submarines (SSGNs), 54 attack submarines (SSNs), 111 surface combatants, 30 amphibious warfare ships, 31 combat logistic ships, 14 mine warfare ships and 19 support ships.
In FY 2012, the Navy seeks $14.9 billion to acquire 10 ships: two SSN-774 class submarines, one DDG-51 class guided-missile destroyer, four littoral combat ships (LCSs), the 12th and last LPD-17 amphibious transport dock ship, one high-speed vessel (HSV) and the second mobile launch platform (MLP).
In the period FY 2012 through FY 2016, the Navy plans to procure 55 ships, up from 50 in the FY 2011 five-year shipbuilding plan: one CVN-21 class aircraft carrier in FY 2013, 10 SSN-774s, eight DDG-51s, 19 LCSs, one LPD-17, the first LHA-7 class amphibious assault ship, one T-ATF (fleet ocean tug), two MLPs, three fleet replenishment oilers (T-AO(X)), one ocean surveillance ship (T-AGOS) in FY 2013 and eight HSVs.
The budget funds the modernization of three CG-47 guided-missile cruisers and procurement of long-lead time equipment for three more. The modernization extends the service life of these ships to 35 years. Three DDG-51 destroyers are also being modernized to become capable of ballistic missile defense. The ships' service life is also extended to 35 years.
Four landing craft air-cushion (LCAC) vehicles will be given service-life extensions. The FY 2012 budget has RDT&E funds for the lead ship-to-shore connector, the successor to the LCAC. About $1 billion is budgeted for RDT&E on the replacement for the Ohio-class SSBN, the SSBN(X). In addition, $97 million in RDT&E funds are budgeted for new design on the SSN.
RDT&E funding of $262 million and procurement funding of $453 million are budgeted to continue the acquisition of the three DDG-1000 ships previously authorized.
For the air and missile defense radar (AMDR), the budget requests $167 million to advance its development. It is planned for installation on the FY 2016 DDG-51 ships.
The Navy has budgeted $79.6 million for procurement of LCS modules and $287 million for LCS RDT&E.
In ship-launched weapons procurement, the FY 2012 budget (498 weapons) is essentially unchanged from FY 2011 (488 weapons). Acquisition of the SM-2 missile was terminated in favor of the SM-6 (59 in FY 2011 and 89 in FY 2012). The Navy plans to acquire 48 MK 48 heavyweight torpedoes in FY 2012 and 45 MK 54 lightweight torpedoes, both up from FY 2011.
In other procurements, the Navy budgeted $212.9 million for SSN acoustics; $96.3 million for sonobuoys; $81.6 million for SSN combat control systems; $73.8 million for AN/SQQ-89 surface antisubmarine warfare (ASW) systems; $60 million for fixed sonar systems; $43 million for AN/SLQ-32 systems; $32.7 million for anti-ship missile-defense systems; $29.7 million for undersea warfare system equipment; $29 million for surface towed array sonar systems; $27.8 million for minesweeping replacement equipment; $20.5 million for submarine acoustic warfare systems; $13.9 million for airborne mine neutralization systems; $13.5 million for sonar switches and transducers; and $7.8 million on ASW range support equipment.
In the Navy's RDT&E budget, $2 billion is requested for science and technology, $577 million for basic research, $784 million for applied research and $648 million for advanced technology development. The Navy budgeted $4.5 billion for advanced component development, $6.5 billion for system development and demonstration, and $4.1 billion for operational system development.
National Science Foundation
The National Science Foundation's (NSF) FY 2012 budget request is $7.8 billion, a 13 percent increase from its current operating level. The NSF's Division of Ocean Sciences (OCE) requested $384.6 million total, reflecting a 10 percent increase from the FY 2010 enacted amount.
The OCE plans to invest $3 million in a new program to support research of severe storms, tsunamis and long-term effects of oil spills and biotic hazards such as harmful algal blooms and invasive species. The OCE budget also proposes $5 million for the Center for Dark Energy Biosphere Investigations, which explores the subseafloor biosphere and its life forms.
The FY 2012 budget continues as planned for the Ocean Observatories Initiative (OOI), requesting $102.8 million as the project moves from the design to the construction phase. The next phase of the project involves testing and acceptance of procured assets, such as gliders, sensors and electronic components.
Due to the CR passed by Congress in January 2011, OOI did not receive its full FY 2011 appropriation at the time its FY 2012 budget was prepared. Under the 2011 CR, OOI will receive the equivalent of its FY 2010 funding, $14.3 million.
The academic research fleet is the only OCE program to mark a budget decrease in FY 2012 due to the retirement of the RV OCEANUS. The fleet's FY 2012 request of $69.4 million will be split for two purposes: $67.4 million to support vessel operations and the remaining $2 million for planning possible new regional-class research vessels.
The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEMRE), formerly the Minerals Management Service (MMS), requested $358.4 million for FY 2012, a 50 percent increase from the 2010 enacted level. The FY 2012 request is composed of increased funding for the restructuring and reform of the MMS following the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon.
Funding increases are planned to be partially offset by $65 million in inspection fees charged to industry, an increase of $55 million over 2010 enacted levels. The fees will also apply to offshore drilling rigs for the first time.
The FY 2012 proposal also includes a $44 million increase for additional staff to accelerate the implementation of new inspection and oversight regimes. An $11.4 million increase was requested for the Technology Assessment and Research program, which will fund deepwater research to address oil-spill containment and response issues in the Arctic.
BOEMRE has requested $23 million for renewable energy efforts in FY 2012. This increase of $2 million from enacted 2010 levels will give the agency resources to work with applicants for offshore renewable energy projects and the expected increase of environmental reviews, inspections and lease processing on the Outer Continental Shelf.
In FY 2012, the Coastal Impact Assistance Program, formally of the MMS, will be transferred to the Fish and Wildlife Service.
Continuing in the effort to eliminate the conflicting roles the MMS previously held, by October of 2011, the agency plans to separate its safety and enforcement function and offshore resource management responsibilities into independent bureaus, the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement and the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management.
US Geological Survey
The DOI requested $1.1 billion for the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) FY 2012 budget, $6.1 million more than the 2010 enacted level.
The FY 2012 budget proposes $47.5 million for USGS's coastal and marine geology programs, an increase of $1.3 million. USGS requests a $4.5 million increase for its coastal and marine planning, which will engage in efforts such as constructing a prototype coastal and marine spatial planning Internet portal for the Gulf of Mexico, developing modeling tools to forecast coastal vulnerability to sea level rise and predicted coastal storms, and establishing data standards and undertaking gap analysis to target future priority data collection activities.
The budget proposes halving funding for USGS's work on the U.S.'s extended continental shelf to $2 million. Should the U.S. accede to the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea in the next several years, the USGS said this reduction might prevent the U.S. from meeting the timelines for submission.
NASA requested $18.7 billion for FY 2012, the same as its enacted FY 2010 funding. Of this request, $1.8 billion is designated for an earth science budget, an increase of $400 million. This includes funding for continuing the development of an Orbiting Carbon Observatory 2 mission, which is designed to identify carbon sources and sinks and is planned to launch in 2013.
In FY 2012, NASA will add to its climate-monitoring spacecraft by beginning operations of Aquarius, which is expected to deliver the first space-based global ocean salinity measurements, and Glory, which will provide scientists with data to enable better weather and climate predictions.
NASA will see a decrease in funding for education from its FY 2010 enacted level of $180 million to the FY 2012 proposal of $138.4 million. The decrease will be managed by reducing the number of new grant awards and seeking operational efficiencies.
Environmental Protection Agency
The FY 2010 budget proposal for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is $8.97 billion, representing a 13 percent decrease from the enacted FY 2010 budget of $10.3 billion.
Cleanup efforts in Chesapeake Bay will receive $64.7 million, an increase of $17.4 million from FY 2010. The budget includes an additional $46 million for regulatory efforts to reduce greenhouse gas pollution and implement reporting requirements under the Clean Air Act. This includes $25 million for states and $5 million for the EPA to address greenhouse gasses in Clean Air Act permitting activities.
The EPA's FY 2012 budget provides $584 million to support research and innovation into new and emerging environmental science. This includes a $24.7 million increase for Science to Achieve Results grants.
The FY 2012 budget request for the Maritime Administration was $357.8 million, dropping about one percent from the baseline FY 2010 budget.
In the ship disposal program, the budget includes a $2.5 million request for a fleet environmental remediation initiative for obsolete vessels and $3 million to continue funding nuclear license management for the inactive nuclear ship Savannah.
The U.S. Merchant Marine Academy requests an additional $19 million above FY 2010, which includes a $6.3 million increase for academy operations and $9 million for capital improvements.
Several programs were defunded or diminished in this year's budget. The budget requests no money for marine highway grants for FY 2012; the administration requested $7 million for marine highway grants in FY 2010. The budget also dropped $15 million for assistance to small shipyards and $5 million for maritime guaranteed loan programs.
US Army Corps of Engineers
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineer's FY 2012 total program funding is $5.2 billion, up from $4.9 billion in FY 2011. As a portion of the funding is offset by contributed nonfederal funds, the agency's appropriation request is $4.6 billion.
The budget request includes $2.3 billion for operation and maintenance, with a focus on commercial navigation. The $1.5 billion in funding requested for construction programs focuses on the economic, environmental and public safety investments, officials said, including the ecosystems of the California Bay Delta, the Chesapeake Bay, the Everglades, the Great Lakes and the Gulf Coast.
For flood control and coastal emergencies, the budget includes $27 million. The Corps also requested $104 million for investigations.
NOAA's budget request increased to $5.5 billion, a $749 million increase from the FY 2010 enacted level.
The National Ocean Service requested $559.6 million, an increase of $20.1 million from the FY 2010 budget. Within the service is $2.9 million for oil spill research and response, $5 million for mapping surface current measurements and $20 million for a competitive grant program to support actions identified in plans of regional ocean partnerships.
NOAA requested an increase of $5 million for current mapping within the U.S. Integrated Ocean Observing System, funding the mapping of nearshore currents with high-frequency radar.
Coastal and marine spatial planning funding received a $6.8 million boost, helping to implement the National Ocean Policy, and $20 million is planned for new regional ocean partnership grants.
The National Marine Fisheries Service requested $1 billion for FY 2012, a $6 million increase from the enacted FY 2010 budget. Major increases include $36.6 million for the National Catch Share Program and $8 million for species recovery grants.
The Office of Ocean and Atmospheric Research budget request was $212 million, with increases of $1.5 million for the Okeanos Explorer and a $6.1 million increase to research ocean acidification.
The National Weather Service requested $988 million in FY 2012, a one percent decrease from the FY 2010 enacted level, with the National Data Buoy Center requesting $4 million more to provide operations and maintenance.
The Office of Marine and Aviation Operations, which funds repair, support and environmental compliance for the NOAA fleet, requested $32.7 million more for FY 2012, bringing the total to $229.3 million.
Department of Homeland Security
The U.S. Coast Guard's budget request for FY 2012 is $10.3 billion, a two percent increase from FY 2011.
The FY 2012 budget includes $57 million for the procurement and deployment of radiation portal monitors and human portable radiation detection systems, which will in part be used by the Coast Guard.
The budget requests $1.4 billion for acquisitions, constructions and improvements for the Coast Guard. The request includes $642 million for surface assets, including funds to complete the fifth National Security Cutter, production funding for 40 response boats and six fast response cutters, and funding the initial acquisition work and design of the offshore patrol cutter.
Funding for shore units and aids to navigation is requested at $193.7 million, which includes funding to recapitalize fixed Coast Guard infrastructure.
Requested funding of $39 million in the polar icebreaking budget authority will support operation and maintenance of CGC Healy. The Coast Guard plans to decommission CGC Polar Sea in FY 2011 and transfer the crew to CGC Polar Star.
The budget includes $22.2 million to advance implementation of the Coast Guard's Marine Safety Performance Plan and Marine Environment Response Mission Plan, which will be used to help respond to marine incidents such as the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
Approximately $225 million will go toward marine environmental protection and response, funding $11.5 million and 87 personnel to enhance its marine environmental response capacity.