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SHARE ARTICLE New Bill Aims to Highlight Pass-Through Funding’s Impact on the Air Force

When the Pentagon released its 2023 budget request on March 28, a graphic was shown to reporters breaking down the $773 billion in spending by department—and the Air Force led the way, with $243.1 billion in its accounts.

But when Air Force officials spoke to journalists later that afternoon, their budget documents showed just $194 billion, with an extra $40.1 billion marked as “non-blue.”

For Rep. Don Bacon (R-Neb.), the larger DOD approach is a perfect example of a budgetary problem that has plagued the Air Force for years. And the department’s approach is in line with how he wants to start addressing that problem.

For several years now, Air Force officials, members of Congress, and defense analysts have raised concerns over so-called “pass-through” funding—billions of dollars that are officially included in the department’s top line but are never actually controlled by the Air Force, instead going to classified or undisclosed programs.

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