H.R. 1540confrpt: Conference Report on National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012

H.R. 1540confrpt

Conference Report on National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012

December 15, 2011 (112th Congress, 1st Session)

Staff Contact

Floor Situation

On Wednesday, December 14, 2011, the House is expected to begin consideration of the Conference Report on H.R. 1540 (H. Rept. 112-329) under a rule.  The rule would provide for one hour of general debate and one motion to recommit if applicable.  Additionally, the rule would provide suspension authority through the end of the first session of the 112th Congress and would authorize the Speaker to manage the House floor during pro forma sessions.  H.R. 1540 was introduced by Rep. Buck McKeon (R-CA) on April 14, 2011, and was approved by the House on May 26, 2011 by a vote of 322-96.  The Senate approved its version of the Act (S. 1867) on December 1, 2011 by a vote of 93-7.

Bill Summary

The Conference Report on H.R. 1540 would authorize appropriations for the Department of Defense (DoD) and for the national security programs of the Department of Energy (DoE) for Fiscal Year 2012.  This budget authority is intended to enhance national security through the procurement of materiel, the modernization of the Armed Forces, and continued funding for overseas contingency operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. 

The bill also contains a number of provisions concerning military personnel policy, education and training, military pay and allowances, acquisition policy and management, DoD organization and management, civilian personnel, and matters relating to foreign nations.

For FY2012, the bill would authorize: $103 billion for procurement; $15 billion for procurement to support overseas contingency operations (OCO); $71 billion for research, development, & testing (RDT&E); $162 billion for operation and maintenance (O&M); $86 billion for O&M supporting OCO; $142 billion for military personnel; $11 billion for personnel supporting OCO; and $37 billion for other authorizations.  Additionally, the bill would authorize $13 billion for military construction and $11.1 billion for DoE national security programs.


Provisions relating to military personnel: The bill would authorize cuts to the armed forces end strengths, including: a drawdown of 7,400 for the Army and a cut of 3,000 for the Navy.  The Air Force would be authorized an increase of 600.  Additionally, the bill would cap future health care fee increases to cost-of-living adjustments.

The bill would make changes to the Uniform Code of Military Justice in matters related to rape and sexual assault (such as providing legal counsel for sexual assault victims and ensuring requests for transfer by said victims are considered by their commander within 72 hours), and the bill retains the UCMJ Article 125 prohibition on sodomy.

The bill would also authorize new authorities such as a voluntary separation incentive and temporary early retirement to help minimize involuntary separations in any future manpower reductions the services might undertake.

The bill does not retain the House-passed provision (sec. 534) that would reaffirm the policy of section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act, codified at section 7 of title 1, United States Code, within the DoD.  However, nothing in the bill would relieve the Department from the prohibition on federal recognition of same sex marriage therein.  Additionally, the bill would enact a conscience clause (the first such of its kind) to protect chaplains’ rights to not perform same sex marriages on the basis of their conscience or moral principles.


Provisions addressing readiness of troops, equipment, and facilities: In authorizing funds for Operations & Maintenance (O&M), the bill would support the daily operations, training, and administration of the armed services, including the following:

  • $22.8 billion for the training of all active-duty and reserve forces to increase readiness as troops experience greater dwell time following the Iraq drawdown;
  • $6.3 billion, an increase of $150 million, to additionally fund Navy ship and aircraft depot maintenance for both the active and reserve components;
  • $4.5 billion for Army and Marine Corps equipment reset and depot maintenance.
  • $7.7 billion for Air Force weapon system sustainment; and
  • Just under $1 billion to support the Army’s planned return to full-spectrum training with fewer units committed to Iraq for combat operations.

The bill would also improve logistics and sustainment by strengthening maintenance and repair in the military departments’ depot repair and Army industrial facilities, and would take steps to protect the benefits and services available to DoD civilian employees deployed to combat zones.

The bill would also reverse years of DoD underfunding and provide a sustained focus on corrosion mitigation that costs taxpayers $22.9 billion annually.  The bill would also codify the requirements for discharge of waste by vessels of the armed forces at sea to ensure minimum impact on the environment while protecting Navy operational readiness.  This provision would avert $2.0 billion of expenses for Navy fleet modifications.


Provisions affecting seapower and projection forces:  The bill would require DoD to integrate a competitive acquisition strategy for the main propulsion turbomachinery of the Next Generation Bomber to foster competition and maintain a robust industrial base for military engines.  The bill would also extend the multi-year funding authority for the second and third Ford-class aircraft carriers from four to five years of incremental funding authority.

Additionally, the bill would include $14.9 billion for 10 new construction ships in the president’s budget request, and would require a cost benefit analysis on maintainability and sustainability for the Littoral Combat Ship, while requiring more detailed breakout of LCS module funding in budget documentation.  The bill would also allow for the retirement of 6 B-1 aircraft in an incremental manner, while maintaining a combat-coded aircraft at the current level of 36 aircraft.

The bill would also require the Navy to maintain an aircraft carrier air-wing force structure and associated command structure commensurate to effectively support aircraft carrier force structure requirements.


Provisions relating to modernization of U.S. nuclear deterrence capabilities: The bill would mandate that the DoD provide Congress a report on development of a new ballistic missile submarine and would ensure the health of US nuclear stockpile by requiring DoD provide to Congress detailed plans and cost estimates for sustaining and modernizing the nuclear stockpile and supporting infrastructure.

The bill would also impose Congressional oversight on plans to further reduce the U.S. nuclear deterrent, by requiring the Administration to reveal its future plans for reductions, by requiring notification to Congress before nuclear weapons reductions are made, and codifying the requirement that changes to the nuclear war plan of the United States be briefed to the Armed Services Committees.


Ballistic missile defense: The bill would provide $10 billion for development, test and fielding of missile defenses to protect the U.S. homeland and support the implementation of the Administration’s phased adaptive approach for regional missile defense. The bill would include $235 million for U.S.-Israeli cooperative missile defense programs, more than double the president’s requested amount.


Provisions relating to tactical air and land forces: The bill would mandate crucial upgrades to the ground vehicles, provide our troops necessary protection against the threat of Improvised Explosive Devices, and offer pragmatic modernizations to our aircraft fleet.  Specifically, the bill would adequately sustain critical assembly lines, shipyards, and manufacturing expertise that keep our wartime military properly equipped and supplied, including the following authorizations:

  • $325 million for National Guard and Reserve Equipment;
  • $3 billion to support urgent operational needs and counter-IED activities in Iraq and Afghanistan;
  • $255 million to support Abrams Tank industrial base and National Guard modernization;
  • $2.7 billion to support Mine Resistant Ambush Protected Vehicle modernization and survivability enhancements;
  • $2.4 billion for Army and Marine Corps Tactical Wheeled Vehicles;
  • $449 million for the Army’s Ground Combat Vehicle program;
  • $8.5 billion for F-35 Joint Strike Fighter development and procurement for the Navy, Marine Corps, and Air Force;
  • $1.0 billion for EA/ 18Gs Growlers and $2.2 billion for F/A-18Es and Fs Super Hornets for the Navy; and
  • $2.1 billion for the MV-22 Ospreys for the Marine Corps and $339 million for CV-22s Ospreys for the Air Force.


Selected policy provisions:

 AFGHANISTAN—The FY12 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) would ensure that any withdrawal of forces from Afghanistan is conditions-based rather than arbitrary.  At the request of General Petraeus, the Conference Report contains new specific authorities for commanders to terminate or void contracts without penalty if it is determined that such a contract provides funding for groups supporting an insurgency.  The bill would also provide additional access to contractor and subcontractor records to ensure that funding from U.S. contracts is not aiding the insurgency.

IRANThe bill would include a Senate-passed amendment to require the President to sanction entities, including state central banks, engaging in financial transactions with the Central Bank of Iran.  In addition, the bill would retain the annual DoD reporting requirement on Iranian military power, which includes a review of Iran’s nuclear capabilities, force structure, and operations against the armed forces of the United States in Iraq and Afghanistan.  The bill would also require an independent review of current U.S. capability gaps to counter Iran and China.

CHINAThe bill would require the Secretary of Defense, in consultation with other key departments and agencies, to assess the threat posed by the amount of US national debt held by China.  The bill would also amend the requirement for the annual Chinese Military Power Report to include an extensive analysis of a potential cyber threat.

In addition, the bill would withhold funds from the joint Chinese, Department of Defense, Department of Energy Center of Excellence for Nuclear Security until the Secretary of Defense assures Congress the center will curb China’s proliferation of nuclear technology and is consistent with U.S. national security interests.  This would include a specific prohibition against construction of any facility in China until the requirements of the provision are met.

IRAQThe bill would authorizes funds and authority for the Office of Security Cooperation- Iraq (OSC-I) and would require a report on how the OSC-I will address capacity shortcomings within the Iraqi Security Forces, as well as plans for training assistance and joint exercises.

PAKISTAN—The bill would freezes nearly $700M in aid to Pakistan pending DoD delivery of a strategy for improving the effectiveness of such assistance and assurances that Pakistan is countering Improvised Explosive Devices networks in their country that are targeting coalition forces. This freeze includes the majority of the $1.1 billion in Pakistan Counterinsurgency Funds.

DETAINEES—The legislation would strengthen policies and procedures used to detain, interrogate, and prosecute al Qaeda, the Taliban, affiliated groups, and those who substantially support them.  These provisions would not extend any new authorities to detain U.S. citizens and explicitly exempt U.S. citizens from provisions related to military custody of terrorists.  Specifically, the bill would prohibit the transfer or release of Guantanamo detainees to or within the United States, prohibit the use of funds to house Guantanamo detainees in the United States, and reaffirm the lawful detention of individuals from al Qaeda, the Taliban, and associated forces engaged in armed conflict with the United States, without extending new authority to detain U.S. citizens.  The bill would require military custody for al Qaeda and associated terrorists who are captured plotting an attack on the United States, except where the president waives this requirement as not being in the national security interest of the United States—this provision explicitly exempts U.S. citizens.

WIKILEAKS—The bill would require the Secretary of Defense to establish a comprehensive program to detect unauthorized uses of classified information and would require technological solutions, updated policies and procedures, and enforcement measures to assist with detection of such unauthorized activities.

AUDIT READINESS—The bill would require the DoD to establish a specific plan, with interim objectives and milestones, for meeting the September 30, 2014 deadline for an audit-ready Statement of Budgetary Resources statement, to develop metrics and mitigating strategies for missed milestones and program delays, and to report to Congress on the steps to be taken.

POLITICAL INFLUENCE IN DEFENSE CONTRACTING—The bill would eliminate requirements mandated by the Obama administration that would require potential contractors to first declare their political contributions before applying for business with the Department of Defense.

COUNTERNARCOTICS—The bill would explicitly reauthorizes DoD Counter-Narcotics (CN) authorities for FY 2012, which includes authorities to assist other agencies in their CN efforts, especially with respect to narco-trafficking activities on the U.S. southern border.  Also included are authorities to assist Colombia and other countries in disrupting the nexus between narco-trafficking and terrorist activity.  This authority is extended to thirteen countries not previously authorized.

YOUCUT—The bill would incorporate H.R. 1246, which the House approved by voice vote on April 4, 2011. The provision would require a 10 percent reduction of the printing and reproduction budgets for each of the military departments and the defense agencies.  The provision would generate over $30 million in savings from the president’s FY12 budget request.


The FY2012 defense bill is a key mechanism by which Congress fulfills one of its Article I, Section 8 constitutional responsibilities to provide for the common defense.  Members of the Armed Services Committee scrutinized every aspect of the defense enterprise to find ways to accomplish this mission more effectively in today’s fiscal environment.  The defense bill reduces costly reporting requirements, sets new standards for financial management at the Pentagon, and incentivizes competition as a means to reform defense acquisition. 

This bill would mark the 50th consecutive enactment of the National Defense Authorization Act. The legislation reaffirms that the United States is engaged in an armed conflict with Al Qaeda, the Taliban and associated forces pursuant to the Authorization for Use of Military Force from 2001—and strengthens policies and procedures used to prosecute and detain terrorists captured under this banner.  The legislation also includes a number of provisions to identify and prepare for future threats. 

According to the Committee on Armed Services, the guiding priorities of this bill are:

  • Ensuring our troops deployed in Afghanistan, Iraq and around the world have the equipment, resources, authorities, training, and time needed to successfully complete their missions and return home;
  • Providing our warfighters and their families with the resources and support they need, deserve, and have earned;
  • Investing in the capabilities and force structure needed to protect the United States from current and future threats;


The bill would authorize $554 billion for the Department of Defense’s base budget, $115.5 billion for overseas contingency operations, and $11.1 billion for the Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration.  Funding levels authorized by the FY 12 NDAA have been reduced significantly from the original House-passed version to comply with the first tier of the Budget Control Act’s requirement to cut Defense spending by an estimated $465 billion over ten years. Authorized funding has been reduced $19 billion from the FY 11 NDAA, $21.8 billion from the House-passed version of the FY12 NDAA, and $24.1 billion from President Obama’s budget request for FY 12. Under sequestration, an additional $500 billion will be cut over ten years, beginning in 2013.

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimated that H.R. 1540 would have an insignificant effect on direct spending in 2012 and would, on net, decrease such spending by $1 million over the 2012-2016 period and $3 million over the 2012-2021 period.  The largest costs over that 10-year period would result from an increase in the special survivor allowance paid to certain beneficiaries of the military Survivor Benefit Plan, and from a change in the growth rate of enrollment fees charged to certain retirees who use TRICARE Prime, a health benefit plan for both active-duty and retired members of the uniformed services and their dependents.

Those costs would be offset by new receipts from additional sales of material in the National Defense Stockpile and savings from a provision to limit enrollment in the Uniformed Services Family Health Plan. 

An updated CBO cost estimate for the Conference Report was not available at press time.