Defense budget gives Boeing boost
U.S. Senate approves spending
bill, looks for new technologies
President George W. Bush signed into law a $355 billion defense bill on Oct. 23, assuring the armed services of major increases over and above the accelerated military spending since the September 2001 terrorist attacks.
The outlay represents a nearly $20.9 billion increase from the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, The Wall Street Journal reported. It also clearly marks Boeing as a major contributor to the defense of the United States, including $35 billion in funding for programs either led by or with major content from Boeing.
The budget, approved at Bush’s request with overwhelming support from the U.S. Congress, represents an estimated $34 billion increase over appropriations levels at the end of 2001, the Washington Post reported.
The defense measure increases spending in almost every area, from weapons procurement to payroll. It includes a 4.1-percent pay raise for military personnel and nearly all the $7.4 billion Bush requested to keep developing a national missile defense system.
Rudy deLeon, Boeing senior vice president of Washington, D.C., Operations, noted that the bill included more than $1 billion in additions that affected Boeing products and services, plus another sizable amount supporting classified Boeing programs.
Lawmakers showed an appetite for investments in new equipment and technologies, rather than for patching up the old, according to The Wall Street Journal. The Appropriations leadership supported Boeing programs, fully funding planned purchases of 15 C-17 transport planes and smoothing the way for the lease of as many as 100 converted 767 airliners as fuel tankers. More than $841 million is added for Navy shipbuilding accounts. Growing out of their experience in the campaign against terrorism, top Navy leaders lobbied successfully for an initial $30 million toward development of a new class of lighter, more powerful coastal combat ships that would serve both to protect the fleet and to intercept terrorists on the waters.
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