The Defense Drumbeat Blog

Rejects Lower Pay Raise, TriCare Fee Hikes: A key House panel is rejecting the idea that budget cuts must mean pain for service members, retirees and their families. On Wednesday, the House Armed Services subcommittee on personnel is scheduled to take up draft legislation that rejects the 1 percent capped pay raise proposed by the Obama administration and rejects, again, efforts to increase Tricare fees for military retirees and their families. The draft bill prepared by Rep. Joe Wilson, R-S.C., the panel chairman, calls for the 1.8 percent pay raise required by law to keep pace with private sector wages.... Wilson’s draft bill also flatly rejects the Defense Department’s latest proposals to increase Tricare Prime enrollment fees, create enrollment fees for Tricare Standard and Tricare for Life, and raise pharmacy copayments. - Army Times, 5/21/13

1.8 Percent Pay Raise for Troops: Troops would see a 1.8 percent pay raise and TRICARE users would see their fees unchanged under a budget bill proposed by House Republicans on Tuesday. The early draft of the annual defense authorization bill also includes plans to eliminate 24 general and flag officer billets, prohibit commanders from dismissing most court martial decisions, and allow Special Operations Command officials to use some of their funding for family support services. - Stars and Stripes, 5/21/13

Sweeping Change to Military Sexual Assault Laws: A House panel is poised to pass sweeping changes in sexual assault prevention programs on Wednesday, with less command flexibility in reducing or dismissing rape and assault charges and wider support for victims. The hot-button personnel issue will come up Wednesday afternoon when the House Armed Services subcommittee on military personnel passes its part of the 2014 defense authorization bill. - Military Times, 5/21/13


Ensuring Resources for Defense Intelligence: Intent on ensuring the American taxpayers gets value for money and the Defense Department gets tactical intelligence it needs, Rep. Mac Thornberry, wants to fence half of the money for the Pentagon’s new Defense Clandestine Service. “I think that DIA has made significant progress in developing and explaining the DCS,” Thornberry, chairman of the House Armed Services intelligence and emerging threats subcommittee, said in an interview. “Remember, they are not adding money or people to do this.” He argued that DCS would result in better trained and more effective human collectors. DIA has long fielded spies but they have not been trained or run by anything like the CIA’s Clandestine Service. -, 5/21/13 

Blocking Satellite Contracts with China: The Pentagon insists that its deal with a Chinese satellite firm to carry U.S. troops’ communications isn’t a security risk. But Congressmen with the ultra-influential House Armed Services Committee don’t want to leave military data in Beijing’s hands. They’re moving to block any future contracts, like the one the Defense Department just signed. - Wired, 5/21/13

New Forward Looking Shipbuilding Plan: Rep. Randy Forbes (R-Va.), the chairman of the House Armed Services seapower subcommittee, said the Navy is living in a “fantasy land” by putting forward a 30-year shipbuilding plan when the service can’t guarantee funding beyond five years. That puts Forbes at odds with senior Navy officials who are trying to map out what their fleet will look like over the next three decades. His rewrite of the shipbuilding plan was included in the subcommittee’s markup of the Navy’s fiscal 2014 budget plan that was issued Tuesday. - The Hill, 5/21/13