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Defense Authorization Conference Report Concluded: House and Senate defense overseers announced on Tuesday that they reached agreement in conference on the final version of the Fiscal 2013 defense authorization bill, completing the conference report that provides $633.3 billion for national defense programs in this fiscal year. That total is some $1.7 billion more than President Obama requested and includes approximately $527.5 billion for the Pentagon's base budget (up $2.1 billion from Obama's request), $88.5 billion for overseas contingency operations (equal to the request), and $17.4 billion for Energy Department national security programs ($395 million less), according to summaries of the conference report (see below.)

Among the major Air Force-related decisions, the conferees:
  • Authorized an end strength of 329,460 Active Duty airmen.
  • Adopted language establishing a National Commission on the Structure of the Air Force.
  • Approved USAF leadership's modified force structure reduction plan, with the exception of keeping an additional 32 tactical airlifters (C-27s or C-130s) in service, along with 1,000 airmen.
  • Prohibited retirement of Global Hawk Block 30 aircraft.
  • Allowed block buys of SBIRS GEO-5 and GEO-6 satellites over six years.
  • Authorized a 1.7 percent across-the-board pay raise for uniformed service members.
  • Established the Military Compensation and Retirement Modernization Commission.

SASC Chairman Levin release
HASC summary
HASC Democrats summary