Republican Members and our committees have been working in high gear all year. Having begun the 114th Congress with a “burst of energy,” according to the Bipartisan Policy Center, the committees have been moving legislation forward, and, as a result, Congress has been exceptionally productive.
Last week, the House Armed Service Committee held a marathon markup of the fiscal year 2016 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), authorizing funding for the Department of Defense and national security programs of the Department of Energy. This legislation passed out of committee on an overwhelmingly bipartisan vote of 60 to 2. As Majority Leader McCarthy announced in a memo last week, the House is scheduled to vote on this bill next week.
This bipartisan bill meets one of Congress’s most important constitutional responsibilities to “provide for the common defense” while instituting necessary reform to the Department of Defense:
“Provide for the Common Defense”
In order to respond to an increasingly dangerous world from the terrorist threat in Africa and the Middle East to Russian aggression in Europe, the committee’s bill makes sure our military has the resources and capabilities it needs to keep America safe and defend our interests abroad. The bill:
- Ensures our military has funding for national defense and overseas operations
- Makes sure our military personnel receive the benefits they need, deserve, and earned
- Authorizes and provides resources for cyber defense
- Updates our crumbling nuclear infrastructure
- Funds the purchasing of the most advanced missiles, planes, bombers, tanks, defense systems, and more
- Supports joint U.S.-Israeli missile defense against those who threaten instability in the region
- And more
Today’s fiscal environment demands that government be more efficient, effective, and accountable with the resources it is provided. At every opportunity, we must end waste. This authorization institutes necessary reforms in the Department of Defense’s costly and duplicative acquisitions process. To accomplish that, the bill:
- Reforms acquisitions strategy by streamlining the processes and reducing the number of legal certifications needed for acquisitions
- Empowers the workforce to allow our best military talent to serve in acquisition roles and increases training on markets
- Simplifies the chain of command to cut down on the multiple layers of bureaucracy
The NDAA also cuts wasteful expenditures and institutes much needed compensation reform. For the first time, our troops will be able to choose to either be grandfathered into the current retirement plan or contribute to a Thrift Savings Plan, which ensures that our servicemembers who serve for less than 20 years will still accrue retirement savings.
As Chairman Thornberry said,
“These reforms are designed to recruit and retain America’s best and brightest, ensure that our forces maintain their technological edge, and to balance resources from the ‘tail’ to the ‘tooth’ of the force.”
To face the challenges of the 21st century, we need a strong and lean 21st century military. The House Armed Service’s authorization bill offers the force and vision necessary to ensure that America will always have the ability to respond to an uncertain future and strengthen our leadership at home and abroad.