The FY17 National Defense Authorization Act Chairman’s mark would authorize $602.2 billion in discretionary base budget authority, which would support compliance with the national defense topline set by the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 ($609.9 billion).

The Chairman’s mark would authorize approximately $543.4 billion in discretionary base budget authority, including roughly $523.6 billion for the Department of Defense base budget, roughly $19.5 billion for the defense-related activities of the Department of Energy, and nearly $300 million for other defense-related activities.

The Chairman’s mark would authorize roughly $58.8 billion in discretionary budget authority for Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO). However, the Chairman’s mark would allow $23.1 billion of OCO funding to be used for base-budget requirements. (The Bipartisan Budget Act allows $5.1 billion in OCO funding to be used for base-budget requirements.) So the OCO funding requested for actual DOD OCO purposes (about $53.7 billion) would be shortchanged by approximately $18 billion.

The Chairman’s mark would also authorize approximately $8.9 billion for mandatory spending programs. 

Key Provisions 


The mark provides $3.4 billion for the European Reassurance Initiative, to strengthen U.S. force posture in Europe while reassuring partners and deterring Russia.

The mark provides $150 million to train and equip Ukrainian security forces.

Syria and Iraq

The mark authorizes $680 million to assist the Government of Iraq and associated forces in efforts to counter ISIL.

The mark authorizes $250 million to train and assist vetted Syrian opposition forces, and reinforces congressional oversight over those efforts.


The mark authorizes a target of $25 million for the advancement of women in the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces.

The mark renews authority to issue special visas through 2017 for Afghans who supported U.S. efforts in Afghanistan, but modifies eligibility requirements to narrow the pool of applicants, does not increase the number of available visas, and does not improve the process for issuing visas.

Detention Facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba (GTMO)

The mark would prevent closure of the detention facility by extending the existing prohibitions on transfers of detainees into the United States, and on the construction or modification of facilities within the United States, to house GTMO detainees for another calendar year.

The mark would unnecessarily prohibit funds for realignment of forces at or closure of Naval Station Guantanamo Bay, not just the detention facility, despite the administration making clear there are no plans to alter the current lease agreement.


The mark rejects the Department of Defense’s request, for the fifth year in a row, for a new base closure round.

Acquisition Reforms

The mark includes a package of acquisition legislation released earlier in the year related to open system architecture, prototyping, and other issues. While the mark adds some important modifications to those provisions, the changes do not go far enough and the language still adds significant process and bureaucracy to the Department of Defense acquisition system. The mark also includes new acquisition provisions related to commercial items, requirements for market research, value analysis, the use of lowest price technically acceptable contracts, and other issues.

Subcommittee Portions

Military Personnel Provisions

The mark removes $1.1 billion from military personnel accounts for Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO), applying the money to cover a base budget increase of 20,000 troops for Army end strength. As a result, there will only be enough funding for OCO contingencies to last 7 months.

The mark provides reforms to the Military Health System by standardizing Military Treatment Facilities across the services and increasing access for beneficiaries. The mark also attempts to reform TRICARE by formalizing the system into an HMO and PPO system, but unfortunately it establishes two fee structures for the next fifty years, one that applies to current retirees and one that applies to future retirees, increasing logistical complexity.

The mark enacts the reforms known as Talia’s Law, which would require the notification of State Child Protective Services when there is suspected child abuse and neglect on military installations.

The Chairman’s mark increases the number of Marine General Officer positions by one, creating a three-star and an additional one-star general. The Defense Department is currently conducting a review of General Officer strength and this increase has not been vetted by DOD.

The mark extends authority for the Special Survivor Indemnity Allowance for one year at current levels.

The mark eliminates differential treatment under the Survivor Benefit Plan between members of the Reserve who die from an injury or illness incurred or aggravated during Inactive Duty training and members of the armed forces who die while on Active Duty.

The mark adds $20 million for the STARBASE program, which supports military STEM education for at-risk youth.

Intelligence and Emerging Threats Provisions

Establishment of Unified Combatant Command for Cyber Operations 

The mark provides authority to establish a unified combatant command for cyber operations, elevating it from a subunified command under STRATCOM. This will enable it to better synchronize and conduct cyber operations using the proper statutory authorities.

Strategy for Assured Access to Trusted Microelectronics

The mark requires a strategy to assure the integrity of microelectronics components used in U.S. defense systems.

Safeguarding Technological Superiority

The mark adds $10 million for National Defense Education Program, which provides K-12 STEM education in order to invest in the future of the U.S. scientific workforce for national security.

The mark adds $10 million for historically black universities and colleges to invest science and technology education and research and development, improving access to the national security workforce for students at institutions that historically serve minorities.

The mark adds $3 million for Army Guard Cyber Protection Teams and $5 million for the public-private cyber training partnership, in order to incorporate the National Guard into the U.S. cyber force and improve the cyber training pipeline from industry and academia.

Threats Posed by Biological Weapons and Toxins

Requires relevant agencies to coordinate a national biodefense strategy and prepare the homeland for defense against a biological weapons threat, enacting one of the recommendations from the Blue Ribbon Study Panel on Biodefense.

Requires implementation of quality assurance and quality controls for the handling of certain biological agents and toxins, in order to prevent future events like the inadvertent shipment of anthrax across the country.

Counterterrorism and Unconventional Warfare Threats

The mark provides an additional $15 million for the Counterterrorism Technical Support Office to counter unmanned aerial systems, which ISIL is increasingly using to film propaganda on the battlefield and could potentially use to deliver chemical or biological weapons.

The mark increases congressional oversight of counterterrorism operations by mandating that the relevant congressional committees be briefed quarterly rather than annually.

The mark strengthens oversight of sensitive overseas military operations outside areas of active hostilities.

Intelligence Analysis Processes of the Combatant Commands

Based on allegations that senior intelligence officials improperly influenced intelligence analysis at CENTCOM, the House Armed Services Committee and the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence are mandating a review of the implementation of Intelligence Community Directives (ICDs) at CENTCOM and all other COCOMs, as well as an IG report on implementation of ICDs at COCOMS. This review would duplicate existing reviews, constituting overreach based on a political concern that disrupts the commander-in-chief's ability to focus on and address global threats while enhancing national security through bilateral collaboration.

Readiness Provisions

The chairman’s mark addresses a number of readiness shortfalls through the movement of money from the OCO operation and maintenance account  ($16.4 billion in prorated cuts across all the military services, active and reserve, and Defense-wide operation and maintenance), and uses a portion of that funding in an “OCO for Base Requirements” account for the following:

  • $65 million to restore critical shortfalls caused by an unfunded requirement in Army servicewide transportation; 
  • $430 million to meet an unfunded requirement for Air Force weapons system sustainment and depot maintenance; 
  • $540 million to improve afloat readiness, restore fleet training, and ship depot maintenance of Navy operating forces;
  • $70 million to improve the training proficiency of Army operating forces, raising Active Army forces from battalion-level to brigade-level competency and Army Reserve forces from platoon-level to company-level competency;
  • $24 million for Marine Corps aviation readiness, accelerating operational and logistics support for H-1, MV-22B, and KC-130J aircraft.

Additionally, the mark adds $2.2 billion to OCO operation and maintenance to fund end strength in Afghanistan of 9,800 deployed troops. This number is higher than the 5,500 troops requested by the administration but would be funded for only 7 months in FY17 under the Chairman’s mark.


The mark provides $7.7 billion for military construction, family housing, and legacy BRAC activities, $250 million above the president’s budget request for fiscal year 2017.

The mark rejects the Department of Defense’s request, for the fifth year in a row, for a new base closure round.

The mark provides the Defense Department additional flexibility to convert existing facilities for other purposes by allowing them to use operation and maintenance funds on that conversion.

The mark lifts previous restrictions on civilian infrastructure construction in Guam and supports the Defense Department’s budget request for civilian infrastructure investments that are necessary to support the realignment of U.S. Marines to Guam.

The mark adds $959 million for facilities restoration and modernization, bringing funding to 84% of the level required across the services.

The mark adds $1.4 billion for facilities sustainment, helping to shore up shortfalls across the services.


The mark prohibits the USDA from obligating or expending funds to facilitate the procurement of certain alternative fuels by the Department of Defense or to award USDA commodity corporation credits to any entity that provides such a fuel to the Department of Defense.


Delays any finding by the Secretary of the Interior with respect to the Greater Sage Grouse under the Endangered Species Act of 1973 through September 30, 2025. It would also prohibit the Secretary of the Interior and the Secretary of Agriculture from amending any federal resource management plan applicable to federal lands where a state management plan is already in place.

The mark adds $15.8 million for the Readiness Environmental Protection Initiative (REPI).

Pay Provisions

The mark extends authority to provide allowances, benefits, and gratuities to DOD civilian personnel on official duty in Pakistan or a combat zone for an additional year.

The mark helps civilian employees of the Defense Department relocate to parts of the United States outside their current commuting area by authorizing advanced payment of their basic pay.

Seapower and Projection Forces Provisions

The mark continues the two-per-year build rate of Virginia-class attack submarines.

The mark adds one additional Arleigh Burke-class destroyer to the two requested in the President’s Budget.

The mark authorizes a National Security Multi-Mission Vessel to be used by the State Maritime Academies.

The mark adds funding for 4 C-40A aircraft.

Tactical Air & Land Provisions

The mark adds $1.4 billion for 14 F/A-18 E/F Super Hornet aircraft.

The mark adds $1.5 billion for 11 F-35 Lightning II aircraft.

The mark adds $162 million for AH-64E Apache helicopters.

The mark adds $110 million for UH-72 Lakota helicopters.

The mark adds $440 million for UH-60M Black Hawk helicopters.

The mark adds $150 million for 2 V-22 Ospreys.

The mark adds $95 million for 1 MQ-4C Triton.

The mark provides authority to purchase AH-64E Apache helicopters and UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters using multiyear contract authority, which together will save close to $1 billion over five years.

The mark requires the Navy to conduct an independent review of efforts to date aimed at reducing the high rate of hypoxia and other physiological events experienced by the crews of F/A-18 aircraft.

The mark prohibits retirement of the A-10 until six months after comparative testing of the F-35’s ability to replace the A-10 is complete and certified, creating an unfunded mandate for the fiscal years 2018 and 2019.

Strategic Forces Provisions


The mark fully funds national security space assets.

The mark requires a commercial SATCOM pilot program and authorizes an additional $30 million to accommodate the order-of-magnitude increase in capacity and cost effectiveness to begin in FY17.

The mark mandates a GPS back-up plan.

Missile Defense

The mark supports U.S. missile defense, the phased adaptive approach to missile defense in Europe, and strong international cooperation with allies, including $600 million for missile defense for Israel, an increase of $435 million.

The mark adds over $400 million in additional money for missile defense that was not requested.

The mark requires unfunded research and development activities to begin a space-based interceptor program, the total cost of which could be $300 billion, which would siphon funding from more cost-effective and necessary missile defense programs.

The mark enhances missile defense for Hawaii by starting to fund the acquisition process for a new discrimination radar.

Nuclear Weapons

The mark provides money to sustain a safe, secure, and reliable arsenal.

The mark adds an unnecessary and unrealistic increase of $317 million for nuclear weapons, including $21 million for a modernized Long-Range Standoff Ordinance (LRSO) nuclear warhead.

The mark unnecessarily restricts dismantlement of retired nuclear weapons.


The mark fully funds nuclear nonproliferation programs.

The mark prohibits potential funding for threat reduction in Russia without an executable waiver, and reduces some of the flexibility of the Cooperative Threat Reduction Program.

The mark prohibits potential funding for nuclear threat reduction in Russia, unless a waiver is granted certifying that the $3.5 billion backlog for deferred maintenance and infrastructure work at NNSA sites is completed first.

The mark allows the Department of Energy to terminate the MOX program, which has seen significant cost increases and delays, and which would require $1 billion annually for the foreseeable future, if certain conditions are met, including identification of a cheaper alternative to dispose of excess plutonium.

The mark provides $5 million to continue an assessment of the viability of using low-enriched uranium for naval reactors.

Nuclear Clean-up

The mark authorizes nearly full funding for defense environmental clean-up, including $1.5 billion for the Waste Treatment and Immobilization Plant and tank farms, and a $53 million increase for water monitoring and other remediation at the Hanford site.

The mark mandates certification that the contents of shipments going to the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant are safe.