CONGRESSWOMAN ELISE STEFANIK
On Wednesday, June 12, 2013 the House will begin consideration of H.R. 1960, the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2014, under a rule. H.R. 1960 was introduced by Rep. Buck McKeon (R-CA), Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, on May 14, 2013. H.R. 1960 was ordered to be reported, as amended by the Armed Services Committee, on June 7, 2013 by a vote of 59-2.
H.R. 1960 authorizes and prioritizes funding for the Department of Defense (DoD) and other select national security programs within the Department of Energy (DoE) for FY 2014. The bill authorizes a $552.1 billion topline for “base” national defense programs, which includes $7.7 billion in mandatory defense spending and $544.4 billion in discretionary spending. Additionally, the bill authorizes $85.8 billion for Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO). H.R. 1960 fully complies with the House budget—passed with 221 Republican votes on March 21, 2013—which funds national defense at pre-sequester levels while reducing overall spending by complying with the sequester budget cap of $967 billion for discretionary spending.
Discretionary spending authorized by H.R. 1960 includes, in part, the following: $99.7 billion for procurement; $68.1 billion for research, development, test, and evaluation (RDT&E); $174.7 billion for operation and maintenance (O&M); $136.9 billion for military personnel; $17.7 billion for DoE defense activities; $67.1 billion for O&M supporting OCO; and $9.9 billion for personnel supporting OCO.
The following key provisions of the bill are highlighted in a summary of H.R. 1960 provided by the House Armed Services Committee:
Increased troop pay – The bill allows for a 1.8% increase in troop pay, consistent with current law.
Prevention of new fees and fee increases under TRICARE – H.R. 1960 rejects proposals to increase fees or create new fees under TRICARE and maintains current reforms. The bill also allows certain beneficiaries to remain enrolled in TRICARE Prime after the DoD reduces the program’s availability to retired beneficiaries.
Reforms to combat sexual assault – Bipartisan reforms are included to enhance prevention and prosecution of sexual assault. H.R. 1960 alters the treatment of sexual assault in the Uniform Code of Military Justice by removing the authority of a commander to dismiss a court-martial finding or reduce a guilty sentence and by establishing mandatory minimum sentences for sexual assault related offenses. The bill increases victim support by allowing victims of sexual assault to apply for a permanent change of station or unit transfer, and by allowing the Secretary of Defense (“the Secretary”) to authorize commanders to remove or temporarily reassign alleged perpetrators of sexual assault. H.R. 1960 provides for specially trained victims’ counsels to be made available to provide legal assistance to victims, and adds sexual assault related misconduct to the protected whistleblower communications that servicemembers may have with a Member of Congress or an Inspector General. With regard to the sexual misconduct previously reported at Lackland Air Force Base, the bill directors the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to conduct a review of the implementation of the corrective actions made at the installation.
Advanced notice of deployment for military families – H.R. 1960 requires a minimum 120-day notification prior to deployment or cancellation of deployment for the operational reserves.
Restored readiness – The bill restores readiness accounts by replacing funds that were reprogrammed to cover underfunded combat operations, bringing readiness back to the historically acceptable rate of 90% from its current 80%. The funds will improve Army and Air Force flying hours programs, ship depot maintenance, facilities sustainment, and other vital operations and maintenance programs.
BRAC prevention – To prevent a round of base closures, the bill prohibits the use of authorized funds to propose, plan for, or execute an additional round of Base Closure and Realignment (BRAC).
Guantanamo Bay detention facilities – H.R. 1960 maintains the prohibition against the transfer of detainees from Guantanamo Bay to the United States or to countries where it has been confirmed that previously released detainees have engaged in terrorist activity after their release. The bill also maintains the requirement that the Secretary—before releasing or transferring a detainee to a foreign country—certify several conditions regarding the foreign country’s ability and willingness to prevent the individual from posing a threat to the United States.
Afghanistan – H.R. 1960 reauthorizes key authorities that support the transition in Afghanistan. However, the bill prohibits the use of a majority of the funds until the Secretary certifies that U.S. priorities have been accommodated in a Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA) between the U.S. and the Government of Afghanistan. The bill requires the GAO to issue a report on the security needs of U.S. forces during the withdrawal of forces. In addition, H.R. 1960 calls on the President to publicly announce the troop and mission requirements for beyond 2014 and directs the Secretary to report to Congress on the post-2014 strategy for Afghanistan.
Pakistan – The bill reauthorizes coalition support funding for Pakistan, but makes it contingent upon a certification by the Secretary that Pakistan is, in fact, supporting the movement of U.S. supplies and equipment through ground lines of communication (GLOC) in Pakistan and taking other concrete steps to maintain security.
Benghazi – In light of the attacks on U.S. facilities in Benghazi in September of 2012, H.R. 1960 requires the submission of two new reports to Congress. The first will analyze the operational requirements for crisis response elements like the Fleet Anti-Terrorism Security Teams (FAST) and Commanders’ In-Extremis Force (CIF); and the second will require DoD to review the posture and readiness of the U.S. to respond to similar attacks in the future in Africa and the Middle East.
Syria – H.R. 1960 expresses a sense of Congress that all courses of action should be considered to enforce the President’s stated red lines regarding the use of weapons of mass destruction in Syria. The bill also requires the Secretary to brief the Armed Services Committee on the resources needed to carry out various military operations to respond to the conflict in Syria, and requires that Congress be kept apprised of the risks associated with each course of action as well as the impact of inaction.
Iran – The bill expands the Iran Military Power Report to include an assessment of Iran’s global threat network and identification of gaps in U.S. intelligence capabilities.
Increased accountability for strategic programs and assets – H.R. 1960 prohibits the transfer of certain missile defense technology to Russia and prohibits use of funds to implement the New START treaty until the President completes certain requirements. The bill also reforms DoD interaction with commercial satellite companies to prevent inadvertent access to vital systems and information.
Reduced bureaucracy – The bill requires GAO studies aimed at reducing bureaucracy by putting a check on the expansion of headquarters staff within U.S. Central Command, all functional combatant commands, the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the Joint Staff, and the Service Secretaries.
Executive compensation reform – H.R. 1960 alters the formula for determining the amount of contractor compensation that is an “allowable cost” for federal contracts, excluding the salaries of large contractors’ top five earners from the calculation, and freezing the current employee compensation baseline to allow future adjustments only for the economic cost index.
Retention and modernization of Naval resources – The bill prevents the Navy from retiring certain ships that have over 10 years of hull life available, and authorizes funds to modernize the ships.
Missile defense – The bill provides for the deployment of an East Coast missile defense site, maintains support for the State of Israel by continuing investment in Iron Dome and other Israeli Cooperative Missile Defense Programs, and requires an analysis of missile defense capabilities in Guam. H.R. 1960 also restricts the removal of missile defense equipment from East Asia.
Cybersecurity – To address increasing concerns about the threats posed by cyber attacks, the bill requires DoD to conduct a mission analysis for cyber operations and report on the coordination of cyber and electronic warfare activities. H.R. 1960 would also require that Congress be notified of investigations of cyber intrusions that compromise critical information.
Continued investment in vital weapons systems – H.R. 1960 continues investments in weapon systems vital to addressing future threats including: supporting the Navy’s authorization request for a nuclear aircraft carrier (CVN 78); approving a multi-year procurement for E-2D Hawkeye and C-130J Super Hercules; modernizing the C-130H aircraft for the National Guard and Reserve; supporting funding for the KC-46 tanker and the Long Range Strike Bomber (LRS-B); providing additional funding for advance procurement of the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet and the Marine Corps Amphibious Combat Vehicle; providing additional investment in the Air Force MQ-9 Reaper unmanned aerial systems; and addressing Air Force unfunded requirements for engines for F-15E and F-16 fleets.
 Including the National Nuclear Security Administration, defense environmental cleanup activities, energy security and assurance programs, and other defense activities.
 Authorized discretionary spending includes $526.6 billion for DoD and $17.8 billion for DoE.
According to preliminary CBO estimates, enacting H.R. 1960 will decrease net direct spending by $26 million in 2014, $18 million from 2014-2018, and $2 million from 2014-2023. Because the bill would affect direct spending, pay-as-you-go procedures apply. Enacting H.R. 1960 would also decrease revenues by requiring that certain payments made to a small number of servicemembers be treated as nontaxable income; however, CBO estimates those effects would be insignificant for each year.