Under the fiscal 2012 intelligence authorization bill, intelligence agencies stand to lose about $550 million, or about 1 percent of overall intelligence spending. Plus, additional cuts to intelligence spending after 2012 are likely under the debt and deficit-reduction bill passed by Congress on Tuesday by President Obama.
"We’ve been anticipating it and so we have been ratcheting down," said Senate Intelligence Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., in the National Journal. "It’s significant because we’re reversing a trend, which has been to go up, and now that trend is going to go down."
The debt deal signed into law Aug. 2 by President Obama mandates $350 billion in defense cuts over 10 years. If massive federal spending cuts are not enacted by Nov. 23, the Pentagon and other national security agencies would face an estimated $600 billion in additional cuts through 2023.
According to Intelligence Committee aides, the fiscal 2012 authorization bill recommends "substantial funding and personnel cuts" compared to Obama’s requested cuts. They added that the bill would ensure "that the intelligence community has the necessary resources to conduct operations that are vital to our nation’s security."
Intelligence spending, including military intelligence programs, is more than $80 billion a year. Obama’s deficit-reduction bill lumps intelligence spending into a broad security category that includes spending on the Defense Department, Homeland Security Department, Veterans’ Affairs Department and other programs. Under new spending caps, the intelligence account will have to compete with these other departments for funding.
“You can be sure we’re going to be very careful with that and we’re not going to incapacitate the agencies in any way, shape, or form," Feinstein said.
However, three House Republican committee chairmen are pushing the Obama administration to explain how it anticipates up to $1 trillion in Defense cuts would affect U.S. national security.
The Obama administration’s decision to make massive cuts to military spending has come without “any substantial analysis of the future roles, missions, and capabilities we want our military to perform,” wrote House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.), Appropriations Defense subcommittee Chairman Bill Young (R-Fla.) and Armed Services Committee Chairman Howard “Buck” McKeon (R-Calif.).