FY25 Appropriations Update: The House Proposes Another Set of Difficult Funding Cuts for the Defense Research Accounts (2024)

The House Appropriations Committee has taken the lead and begun its work to craft their spending plans and legislation for Fiscal Year 2025 (FY25). As we have done in years past, CRA will examine the House and Senate’s budget plans for each federal research agency of note to the computing community and provide a summary and breakdown. The first agency to check is the Department of Defense (DOD) and the House’s defense appropriations bill.

To give a brief overview, DOD’s Science and Technology (DOD S&T) program is made up of three accounts: 6.1 (basic research), 6.2 (applied research), and 6.3 (advanced technology development). These accounts are themselves made up of individual accounts for each of the three services (Army, Navy, and Air Force), as well as a Defense Wide account. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is a section under the Defense Wide account.

Regular readers will recall that the Administration’s requested budget for these accounts, released in March, was quite bad. In a redux of last year’s situation, the House appropriators’ funding plan is better than what the Administration proposed but not objectively good for the accounts.

Getting into the details of the House’s plan, Basic Research (6.1) would receive a cut of 4.2 percent compared to its FY24 levels. The account would decrease from $2.63 billion in FY24 to $2.52 billion for FY25, a reduction of $110 million. There is little good news when looking into the details of each service branch: the 6.1 programs at the Army, Navy, and Air Force would receive significant cuts of 7.4, 7.0, and 10.0 percents respectively, while the Space Force and Defense-Wide programs would increase by 4.6 and 4.1 percent. There is some good news going a little deeper into the details: the “University Research Initiative” subaccounts would see plus ups in the Army (+2.9 percent), Navy (+17.4 percent), and Space Force (+2.3 percent), but the Air Force’s program would receive a cut of 20 percent.

The Applied Research (6.2) account is in much worse shape. The full account would see a 13.0 percent cut compared to last year’s budget, decreasing from $7.60 billion in FY24 to $6.61 billion under the House’s plan (a loss of almost a billion dollars).

And much like the applied research account, the Advanced Technology Development (6.3) account would receive a cut under the House’s framework. It would go from $11.29 billion in FY24 to $9.86 billion in FY25, a cut of $1.43 billion (or -12.6 percent).

Lastly, the relatively good news: DARPA would escape budget cuts under the House’s plan, though it would be effectively flat funded. The agency’s budget would increase from $4.12 billion in FY24 to $4.21 billion in FY25, an increase of 2.0 percent (or +$90 million).

FY24FY25 PBRFY25 House$ Change% Change
DOD 6.1$2.63B$2.45B$2.52B-$110M-4.2%
DOD 6.2$7.60B$5.80B$6.61B-$900M-13.0%
DOD 6.3$11.29B$9.00B$9.86B-$1.43B-12.6%

These poor numbers can be traced to the difficult environment surrounding the Federal budget process. The Department of Defense acknowledged in March, when their request was released, that their budget plans come from a zero-growth outlook. Even with the defense spending friendly House appropriators, there is only so much room they have to work with. And it appears that defense research isn’t one of their priorities.

There is some policy direction of note in the appropriator’s bill report. Specifically, the appropriators have voiced their support for DOD’s Chief Digital and Artificial Intelligence Officer and the efforts that office is undertaking. The office is fully funded under House’s budget. The committee further directs DOD to consider AI applications for reforming and improving the administrative functions of the department, not just for battlefield applications.

What happens next? The bill was approved by the full House Appropriations Committee on June 13th and now heads to the full House for consideration, where it is likely to be passed. Then we will have to wait for the Senate to release their plan for the Defense department; that committee’s leadership has recently announced that they plan to begin considering their funding bills in July.

However, the general view in Washington is that the appropriations process will not progress to the conference stage until after the November elections. There is still a long road ahead before we have any clarity on a final FY25 budget. Please keep checking back for more updates.

FY25 Appropriations Update: The House Proposes Another Set of Difficult Funding Cuts for the Defense Research Accounts (2024)


What are the three types of appropriations? ›

There are three types of appropriations bills: regular appropriations bills, continuing resolutions, and supplemental appropriations bills. Regular appropriations bills are the twelve standard bills that cover the funding for the federal government for one fiscal year to be enacted into law by October 1.

What is the difference between budget and appropriations? ›

The Budget of the United States is the President's proposed spending levels for the next fiscal year. Appropriation Bills are Congress' response to the President's proposal.

What is the House Appropriations Committee process? ›

Work of the Appropriations Committees

After the President submits the budget, the House and Senate appropriations subcommittees hold hearings on the segments of the budget under their jurisdiction. They focus on the details of the agencies' justifications, which provide supporting materials to the budget submission.

What is the annual appropriation? ›

Annual Appropriations (also called fiscal year or 1-year appropriations) are made for a specified fiscal year and are available for obligation only during the fiscal year for which made.

What are the five major appropriations used by the Department of Defense? ›

There are five (5) major Department of Defense appropriation categories that Congress has established: Research, Development, Test and Evaluation (RDT&E); Procurement; Operation and Maintenance (O&M); Military Personnel (MILPERS); and Military Construction (MILCON).

Who controls appropriations of money? ›

Congress's “power of the purse” is at the foundation of our Constitution's separation of powers, a constitutionally mandated check on Executive power. The Appropriations Clause would appear to categorically enjoin the President and federal agencies to spend funds only as appropriated by Congress.

What happens after appropriations? ›

After approval by the appropriations committees, the bills head to the House and Senate floors where they may be further amended and eventually passed. Most times, the bills passed by House and Senate differ in some significant ways and must be reconciled.

Who decides appropriations? ›

Congress is tasked with producing a budget resolution and 12 appropriations bills for each federal fiscal year, which begins on October 1.

Who controls the budget and the release of funds? ›

Congress passes laws that authorize agencies to spend federal dollars for certain purposes. This can take the form of mandatory or discretionary budget authority.

How powerful is the House Appropriations Committee? ›

The Appropriations Committee has one of the broadest jurisdictions of any committee in Congress. It is responsible for appropriating funding for most of the functions of the federal government.

How many Republicans are in the Appropriations Committee? ›

The House Committee on Appropriations — comprised of 34 Republicans and 27 Democrats and organized into 12 subcommittees in the 118th Congress — is responsible for funding the federal government's vital activities to keep the United States safe, strong, and moving forward.

Who runs the House Appropriations Committee? ›

United States House Committee on Appropriations
Standing committee
FormedDecember 11, 1865
ChairTom Cole (R) Since April 10, 2024
Ranking memberRosa DeLauro (D) Since January 3, 2023
14 more rows

How long are appropriations good for? ›

Annual authority, which expires at the end of the first year in which an appropriation is made available (unless explicitly stated otherwise, funds provided in appropriation acts are available for one year only);

Can no year funds be cancelled? ›

No-year funds are appropriations that have no defined period of availability and remain available until expended. The process for cancelling unobligated funds is distinct for an appropriations account with an indefinite period of availability. No-year funds do not have an expired phase before cancellation.

What are examples of appropriations? ›

A company might appropriate money for short-term or long-term needs that include employee salaries, research and development, and dividends.

What are the three phases of the appropriation? ›

Each appropriation category has three distinct periods during its lifecycle: current period, expired period, and cancelled period. Below is a description of each period, including the timing of each period and possible uses of appropriated funds during that period.

What are the three types of appropriations that are classified by period of availability? ›

Appropriations are categorized by their period of availability (one-year, multiple-year, and no-year), by the timing of Congressional action (current, permanent), and (or) by the manner of determining the amount of the appropriation (definite, indefinite).

What are the different types of appropriated funds? ›

DoD receives many appropriations, most of which can be grouped into the five major categories: Research, Development, Test and Evaluation (RDT&E); Procurement; Operation and Maintenance (O&M); Military Personnel (MILPERS); and Military Construction (MILCON).

What are the three main categories of sources of funds? ›

  • The main sources of funding are retained earnings, debt capital, and equity capital.
  • Companies use retained earnings from business operations to expand or distribute dividends to their shareholders.
  • Businesses raise funds by borrowing debt privately from a bank or by going public (issuing debt securities).

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