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Lawmakers Propose Bill to Commission Study on DOD’s ‘Pass-Through’ Funding

Budgeting transparency


Lawmakers Propose Bill to Commission Study on DOD’s ‘Pass-Through’ Funding

Lawmakers have introduced legislation to put a spotlight on the practice of “pass-through” funding in the Department of Defense.

Pass-through funding is money that is officially included in the Air Force’s top-line budget but is not controlled by the service.

The DOD’s latest budget proposal shows that the Air Force would have $243.1 billion in its accounts. But in a later presentation to journalists, Air Force officials showed a budget of only $194 billion. The rest of the funding was marked as “non-blue,” Air Force Magazine reported Monday.

Rep. Don Bacon, one of the proponents of the new legislation and a speaker at a past Potomac Officers Club event, said that the practice is misleading and inflates the budget of the Air Force.

The Defense Budget Transparency Act of 2022 would require the DOD to hire an independent research organization to study the effects of pass-through funding on the Department of the Air Force.

The study should include funding information for fiscal years 2001 through 2021 as well as an assessment of whether the funding positively or negatively impacted the Armed Forces.

“I think we’re gonna win this because people like transparency, they like honesty,” Bacon said. He added that the independent report will improve national security amid competition from China and Russia.

Bacon, a member of the House Armed Services Committee, previously introduced legislation seeking to end pass-through funding outright.

The matter became an issue of jurisdiction with the House Appropriations Committee, which Bacon said did not want to change the budget process.

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