H.R. 6523: Ike Skelton National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2011

H.R. 6523

Ike Skelton National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2011

Date
December 17, 2010 (111th Congress, 2nd Session)

Staff Contact
Communications

Floor Situation

H.R. 6523 is expected to be considered on the floor of the House on Friday, December 17, 2010, under a motion to suspend the rules, requiring a two-thirds majority vote for passage.  The legislation was introduced on December 15, 2010, by Rep. Ike Skelton (D-MO).

Bill Summary

H.R. 6523 would authorize $725 billion for defense programs in Fiscal Year 2011, roughly equal to the president's request and 7 percent more than the enacted Fiscal Year 2010 defense authorization law. The bill would include $158.7 billion for the wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, and the war on terrorism.  The measure authorizes about $10 billion for missile defense, 11 percent more than in Fiscal Year 2010, and a 1.4 percent pay raise for military personnel.

Overall, H.R. 6523 is a "stripped down" authorization that omits some controversial items from the original House and Senate authorization bills, and does not set specific funding levels in most cases.  The bill would not allow women to obtain abortions in overseas military hospitals if they use their own funds.  The bill, additionally, is silent on funding for the alternative engine for the F-35 fighter—it neither endorses nor prevents additional spending on the alternative engine.

Missile Defense:  The bill would authorize more than $10 billion for missile defense programs—11 percent more than the Fiscal Year 2010 level. The bill would maintain funding for the initial deployment of a national missile-defense system based in Alaska and California, and the administration's plan for missile defense in Europe.  The measure would authorize $205 million for Israel's "Iron Dome" anti-missile defense system.

Benefits:  The bill would authorize an increase in overall troop levels for the Army and Air Force, provide a 1.4 percent pay raise for all military personnel, and extend the authority for several special payments and bonuses for active-duty and reserve personnel.  The bill would also extend the prohibition on most Tricare co-payments and allow Tricare beneficiaries to extend coverage to their dependent children until age 26.

Force Protection:  The bill would authorize funds for additional protection for U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.  Such funding would include $3.5 billion for measures to counter improvised explosive devices and $3.4 billion for Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles.

Navy Aircraft:  H.R. 6523 would include $18.9 billion for aviation programs for the Navy and Marine Corps, for a total of 206 aircraft.

Shipbuilding:  H.R. 6523 would authorize $16 billion in funding for major Navy vessels.

Military Construction:  The bill would authorize $19 billion for military construction, base realignment and closure, and family housing.

Special Operations:  The bill would include an authorization of $9.8 billion for Special Operations forces.

Space Programs:  H.R. 6523 would include an authorization of $9.7 for military space programs.

National Guard & Reserves:  The bill would include an authorization of $7.2 billion for new equipment for National Guard and reserve units, $700 million more than administration's request.

Presidential Helicopter (VH-XX) Marine One:  The bill would authorize funding to continue research and development of the aircraft.  The bill would include a new requirement for the GAO to conduct an annual review of the new acquisition program.

IED Fund:  The bill would authorize the president's request of $3.5 billion for the Joint Improvised Explosive Device Defeat Organization (JIEDDO).  This fund was established to coordinate Defense Department efforts to counter the devices

Overall Authorization for Overseas Operations:  H.R. 6523 would authorize the president's request of $158.7 billion specifically for the wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and the war on terrorism. Funding authorizations elsewhere in the bill also could be used to support those operations.

The bill would also authorize $33.1 billion that was provided in the Fiscal Year 2010 supplemental appropriations law for the surge of additional forces in Afghanistan and in support of relief operations in Haiti.

Afghan Security Forces:  The bill would authorize $11.6 billion for training and equipping Afghanistan's security forces, as requested.

Iraqi Security Forces:   The bill would authorize $1.5 billion for the Iraq Security Forces Fund (ISFF) and would require the Iraqi government to support at least 20 percent of the cost of any item or service that is procured under the ISFF.

Commanders' Emergency Response Program:  The bill would authorize $500 million for the Commanders' Emergency Response Program (CERP) in Iraq and Afghanistan, including $400 million in Afghanistan and $100 million for Iraq.

Total Active-Duty End Strength:  The bill would set a ceiling on the number of total active-duty military personnel at 1,432,400 in Fiscal Year 2011—equal to the president's request, and 7,400 more than the authorized Fiscal Year 2010 level.  This includes 569,400 for the Army, 328,700 for the Navy, 332,200 for the Air Force, and 202,100 for the Marine Corps.

Active-Duty Special Pay & Bonuses:  The bill would extend the authority for several special payments and bonuses for active-duty and reserve personnel, generally through 2011. These authorities include aviation officer retention bonuses, re-enlistment bonuses for active-duty members, special pay for nuclear qualified officers extending active service, accession bonuses for dental officers and registered nurses, incentive pay for nurse anesthetists and mental health professionals, special pay for members of weapons-of-mass-destruction civil-support teams, and retention bonuses for members with critical skills.

Iran:  The bill would require the Secretary to develop a national military strategic plan to counter Iran and develop a plan to address any gaps in capabilities identified as part of the planning and review process.



Background

The House approved a Fiscal Year 2011 defense authorization bill (H.R. 5136) on May 28, 2010, by a vote of 229—186.  That House-approved bill would have authorized $725.9 billion for defense, including $159.3 billion in funding specifically for operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. During floor consideration of that bill, however, the House approved an amendment that added language to repeal "Don't Ask, Don't Tell."  This addition dramatically weakened chances for its approval by the Senate.  That bill also included $485 million in funds for an alternate engine for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter aircraft—which drew a veto threat from the president.

On December 15, 2010, the House approved a stand-alone repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" and subsequently the Democrat chairmen of the House and Senate Armed Services committees reached agreement on a "stripped down" version of the Fiscal Year 2011 defense authorization that did not include certain controversial elements, including "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" and Senate legislative language allowing privately funded abortions in military hospitals. The “compromise” bill also is silent on additional spending on an alternative engine for F-35 fighters—a program that has triggered a veto threat.

Cost

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that this legislation would reduce the deficit by $2 million over five years.