Press Releases


Washington, D.C.—Reps. Don Bacon (NE-R-02) and Kaialiʻi Kahele (HI-D-02) have joined together to introduce H.R. 7574, the Defense Budget Transparency Act of 2022, to improve public understanding of how tax dollars are being allocated in the U.S. defense budget. The bill directs the Secretary of Defense to prepare a report on the extent and impacts of “pass through” budgeting and requires future defense budgets to clearly identify when dollars are allocated to a branch of the armed forces that do not fall under the control of the service to which they are allocated.

For many years, “pass through” budgeting has accounted for a growing portion of the published Air Force budget.  For Fiscal Year (FY) 2023, $40 billion or seventeen percent of the Pentagon’s total request for the Department of Air Force does not actually go to the Air Force, but instead “passes through” to fund other government agencies. This practice of a “pass through” budget distorts public understanding of how funding is distributed between the Departments of the Army, Navy, Air Force, and other defense-wide accounts. In addition, it artificially inflates the published budget for the Department of the Air Force, while simultaneously obscuring the true cost of funding defense-wide functions in what is often called the Pentagon’s “fourth estate.” This practice has fueled the myth that each military service receives an equal share of the defense budget.   

“Once again, the Pentagon’s official budget request fails to reflect the true Air Force budget.  On paper, the general public and most members of Congress would be surprised to learn that the actual budget request for the Air Force is $40 billion less than the Pentagon says it is, while defense-wide costs are actually $40 billion higher than reported,” said Rep. Bacon. “Now more than ever it is imperative that Americans and their elected representatives know how our defense dollars are being spent. This legislation would establish a minimum level of transparency in how defense resources are allocated between the military services and the Pentagon’s fourth estate.”

“For decades, the U.S. Air Force budget has been underfunded and over burdened by non-Air Force expenses, resulting in the most outdated air fleet in its history. The Defense Budget Transparency Act will ensure that the U.S. Air Force budget is fairly represented so that the Air Force is better positioned to modernize and maintain a competitive advantage against our adversaries,” said Congressman Kahele. “Last year, I urged the Department of Defense to reallocate the Air Force ‘pass-through’ budget to a DoD defense-wide budget account, only to be met with resistance. This bill is a move in the right direction.”

Representatives Bacon and Kahele are veterans and members of the House Armed Services Committee.  Both members are committed to incorporating this legislation into the FY23 National Defense Authorization Act.