May 10 2012
Chairman McKeon Lauds Passage by 56-5
WASHINGTON- The House Armed Services Committee overwhelmingly approved HR 4310 the FY 2013 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) this morning. The action clears the way for consideration of the bill by full House, scheduled for next week. The legislation provides the necessary authorities and funding for America’s military.
The bill meet’s Chairman Howard P. “Buck” McKeon’s goals of keeping faith with America’s men and women in uniform; restoring fiscal sanity to a defense budget that is inconsistent with the threats America faces; rebuilding a force after a decade at war; and aligning our military posture in a dangerous world.
“I’m grateful to our committee members for their vigorous and energetic debate today,” Chairman McKeon said. “This represents the first step in passing the 51st consecutive National Defense Authorization Act, a bill that has become the gold standard for Congressional bipartisanship. Our troops deserve the best training, equipment, and leadership in the world, and I’m proud that our members consistently put aside personal politics to fulfill that sacred obligation to our Armed Forces.”
Restoring Strategy and Sanity To The Defense Budget: The FY 13 Defense Authorization Act begins to restore fiscal sanity to the defense budget, reflecting concern about America’s mounting debt, but also ensuring that our armed forces have the resources they need to meet an increasingly dangerous world. It also recognizes that the military has absorbed 50% of deficit reduction efforts to date, though it comprises only 20% of the federal budget.
The bill authorizes $554 billion for national defense and $88.5 billion for Overseas Contingencies Operations, consistent with the budget resolution the House passed last month. Like the President’s budget request, these levels differ significantly from levels authorized in the Budget Control Act. This level of funding is nearly $4 billion more than the President’s budget request, but it is still less than last year’s request and only an incremental step to address the $46 billion decrease when considering where the President estimated National Defense would be for fiscal year 2013 in last year’s budget. Even with this modest increase to the President’s request for the military, the 2013 defense bill reflects the fact that members of the Armed Services Committee and the broader Congress must make tough choices in order to provide for America’s common defense.
Keeping Faith With The Warfighter And Military Families: The FY13 NDAA provides our war fighters and their families with the care and support they need, deserve, and have earned; while ensuring that proposed drawdown plans do not cut to the heart of the Army and Marine Corps. Vital provisions include:
TRICARE: The FY13 NDAA restates the firmly-held sense of Congress that prior service to our nation is a pre-payment of healthcare benefits in retirement. This nation must honor its commitment to generations of service members, families, and survivors who have spent decades sacrificing their personal interests in service to their country. As such, it rejects Administration proposals to increase some TRICARE fees and establish new TRICARE fees. These proposals went too far and were not included in the bill. The FY13 NDAA includes a modest increase in TRICARE pharmacy co-pays in 2013 and a cap on pharmacy co-pays beginning in 2014 that would allow fees to rise by no more than the annual retiree COLA. This is offset by a 5-year pilot program that requires TRICARE for life recipients to obtain refills of maintenance drugs through the TRICARE mail-order program.
TROOP PAY: The FY13 NDAA authorizes a 1.7% pay increase and extends bonuses and special pay for our men and women in uniform.
TROOP REDUCTION: As the size of the military is reduced, the FY13 NDAA caps the number of troops that can be separated from the force in a single year. The bill also mandates that in the future, funding for troops designated for separation must be part of DoD’s base budget and not carried in accounts for contingency operations.
SEXUAL ASSAULT: The FY13 NDAA reflects a bipartisan effort to provide significant new regulations and procedures for combating and prosecuting sexual assault within the military.
Rebuilding A Military Tested By A Decade At War
VITAL SYSTEMS AND CAPABILITES: The bill restores and retains vital systems, platforms, and authorities needed to maintain America’s combat power after a decade of war while declining to take up Administration requests, such as two rounds of base closure, which could damage vital military infrastructure.
- Restores three of the four Navy cruisers proposed for early retirement in Fiscal Year 2013.
- Preserves tactical airlift crucial to DOD’s ability to support warfighters on the ground with agile combat support, such as C-130 Hercules, C-23 Sherpas, and C-27J Spartan aircraft proposed for early retirement.
- Maintains close air support and ground interdiction capabilities provided by A-10 Warthogs and F-16 Fighting Falcons slated for premature divestment prior to the forecasted service-life end of each aircraft.
- Retains the Air Force's Global Hawk Block 30 unmanned intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance aircraft as they support the deployed warfighter, rather than shifting this asset to storage.
- Supports counter-IED funding for the warfighter.
- Sustains America's heavy armored production base by maintaining minimum sustained production of Abrams tanks, Bradley fighting vehicles, and Hercules recovery vehicles.
- Maintains the option for additional airborne electronic warfare capabilities by supporting advance procurement for the EA-18G.
- Fully funds the Army Ground Combat Vehicle development program.
- Fully funds requests for 50 AH-64 Apaches, 59 UH-60 Blackhawks, and 44 CH-47 Chinooks, 29 F-35 Lightning II aircraft, 26 F-18 E/F Super Hornets, V-22 aircraft, 36 MQ-9 Reaper UAS.
- Authorizes a multi-year procurement for up to 10 Virginia-class submarines.
- Authorizes a multi-year procurement for up to 10 DDG-51 Arleigh Burke class destroyers.
COMPETITION AND INNOVATION: The FY13 NDAA introduces bi-partisan reforms aimed at the way the Defense Department interacts with the private sector, opening more opportunities for small businesses, increasing competition, and spurring innovation. The bill requires the Secretary of Defense to report to Congress on areas of risk within the defense industrial base. It also requires the Secretary to develop a national security strategy for the industrial base and eliminates obstacles to small business competition for Defense Department initiatives. The measure also restores a long-standing balance of depot-level maintenance between the Defense Department and the private sector.
Aligning Military Posture In A Dangerous World: The NDAA ensures that America’s military is robust, flexible, and capable. The bill will provide our warfighters with the time, resources, and authorities they need to win the war in Afghanistan and continue to prosecute the wider War on Terror. In addition the NDAA:
- Requires the President to notify Congress of any planned force reductions in Afghanistan, and justify those reductions based on conditions on the ground.
- Prohibits use of private security contractors for force protection of US troops in Afghanistan.
- Requires Combatant Commanders to give their assessment of capability gaps against North Korea, China, and Iran.
- Reinforces the United States’ commitment to use all elements of national power to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon and enhances the credibility of the military option, should it prove necessary.
- Modernizes and supports DOD’s nuclear forces, that includes intercontinental ballistic missiles and nuclear bombers and the Navy’s strategic submarines and submarine-launched ballistic missiles.
- Reform NNSA’s governance and management systems to make the agency more independent and efficient.
- Strengthens congressional oversight of the nation’s nuclear weapons war plan.
- Supports a robust national missile defense, including $100 million for an East Coast third site for national missile defense to align with the rising threat from Iran.
- Supports key allies, including Israeli Cooperative Missile Defense programs like Iron Dome.
- Provides additional funding for national security space programs, approximately $50 million above the Administration’s request.
- Increases oversight on development of cyber operations capabilities.
- Supports several key areas of science and technology investments to ensure the Department meets future defense needs
- Enables Special Operations Forces to sustain the current fight and rebalance across the globe where appropriate to counter and mitigate threats, and work with partner nations.
- Preserves and institutionalizes other capabilities such as irregular warfare and security force assistance within the services and U.S. Special Operations Command.
- Implements recommendations from the HASC Financial Management and Auditability Reform Panel that will improve execution and management of Department of Defense Enterprise Resource Planning systems.
DETAINEES: As terrorists have decentralized and sought new safe havens from which to carry out attacks on U.S. soil, Congress acted last year to ensure our military men and women risking their lives to defend us from such attacks on are on solid legal ground. Last year the FY12 NDAA reaffirmed the authority to go after terrorists who are part of or substantially supporting al Qaeda, the Taliban, or associated forces. This year, through the incorporation of the Right to Habeas Corpus Act, the bill makes clear beyond a shadow of a doubt that every American will have his day in court. The FY13 NDAA also prohibits the transfer of detainees from Guantanamo Bay to the United States.