WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), a senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC), highlighted the U.S. Senate’s completion of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2013 (FY13). The 51st consecutive NDAA version includes several legislative measures that were either authored or supported by Inhofe.
“My top priority in Congress is to maintain a strong national defense,” said Inhofe. “I commend my colleagues in the Senate for their consistent efforts to complete this important piece of legislation, marking 51 consecutive years of authorizations for the Department of Defense. However, this bill, and its associated appropriations bills, should have been completed and signed into law by September. Every day we delay impacts our service members, our defense industry and our national defense. We must conference this bill immediately with the House, pass the final conference bill and have the President sign it into law. I also urged both Appropriations Committees to pass the defense appropriations bills before the end of the year.”
Inhofe pointed to several positive items in the defense authorization bill saying, “This bill includes many amendments that will make a positive impact. The bill supports the maintenance and viability of our nuclear triad, includes enhanced sanctions against Iran, grants Senate authority to review and approve bilateral security agreements with Afghanistan, continues funding for critical missile defense system, including the highly successful Iron Dome system, for Israel that has performed so well during recent attacks. This bill also authorizes no increases in TRICARE fees for FY13, it prevents a Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) round for both 2013 and 2015, and it retroactively fixes the Depot language problems from last year’s bill. Finally, it authorizes a 1.7 percent across the board pay raise for service members.
“I continued to support protecting the Constitutional Rights of U.S. citizens, voting for the Feinstein amendment that restates strong, constitutional protections for United States citizens without altering current, congressionally authorized war-time powers. I also cosponsored the Ayotte amendment that continues Congress’ strong bipartisan position that terrorist detainees should not be transferred to American soil where they would be afforded legal rights reserved for our citizens – not meant for enemy combatants. There are also serious cost and security concerns with any such transfer. Despite a veto threat from President Obama who is obsessed with closing GITMO, the Senate continued the legal prohibition of transferring terrorist detainees from GITMO to the US. GITMO continues to meet and exceed the highest international standards and is a fundamental part of protecting our deployed service members and citizens at home from the threat of terrorism. There is no superior alternative to GITMO.
“While I am very pleased that the bill includes many important provisions that will directly benefit our nation’s military as well as Oklahoma’s military installations, I am extremely disappointed that two key spending provisions were stripped out of the bill. Back in May, the committee passed bipartisan measures to prevent the Obama administration from wasting limited defense funds on pushing their liberal green agenda. With our nation’s military already on a severely reduced budget, it’s imperative that Department of Defense (DOD) funds are spent on military readiness and mission requirements. My amendment would have allowed the continued use of DOD funding of biofuels for testing but precluded DOD from buying biofuels using operations and maintenance funds if the price is not competitive with fossil fuels. Another measure would have prohibited the DOD from entering into a contract to plan, design, refurbish, or construct a biofuels refinery or any other facility or infrastructure used to refine biofuels unless specifically authorized by Congress. Both provisions would have restored fiscal responsibility and accountability for DOD spending at a time when our nation simply cannot afford to waste taxpayer funds on speculative green initiatives like Solyndra and dozens of other companies that are floundering or bankrupt despite billions in government investment. I pledge to continue working with my colleagues to ensure that the limited funds are properly utilized and do not severely impact military training, readiness, and our national security.
“As we have seen, many threats exist in the world today, and we should maintain force levels that allow us to continue the ability to fight two wars simultaneously should that be necessary. Instead, we are continuing to ask our Armed Forces to do more with less, when they are already stretched too thin. I continue to question the force structure cuts that are included in this bill as a result of the already planned reductions in spending. We must work to make sure our men and women are provided the resources they need to defend this nation.”
Measures that were either authored or sponsored by Inhofe included:
Mental Health Counselors: Requires a report from the Department of Defense on how it plans to address the shortfalls in personnel and training with respect to military health counselors, specifically leveraging accredited schools and universities, health care professionals, professional counselors, family service or support centers, and other appropriate DOD resources to produce a plan to ensure a sustainable throughput of qualified personnel.
DOD Report on Artificial Intelligence for Training: Requests the Secretary of Defense to explore increasing the use of artificial intelligence during training exercises to increase training effectiveness and reduce costs.
Sense of the Senate on Protection of Military Airfields, Training Areas, and Air Routes: Recommends DOD develop comprehensive rules and regulations to address construction and use of land in close proximity to DOD airfields, training areas, or air routes to ensure compatibility with military aircraft operations.
Sense of the Senate on Military Song or Remembrance: Designates the military bugle call known as “Taps” as the National Military Song of Remembrance.
NETCENTS-2: Requires Secretary of the Air Force to report to Congress a plan to increase the number of contractors eligible to be awarded contracts under the Air Force’s Network-Centric Solutions-2 (NETCENTS-2) indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity (IDIQ) contract.
Design Team and Agile Prototyping for Advanced Rotorcraft Technologies: The committee recommends a provision that will direct the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics (USD AT&L) to develop and submit a strategy to the congressional defense committees no later than 180 days after the enactment of this act on the use of integrated platform design teams and agile prototyping approaches for the development of advanced rotorcraft capabilities, both manned and unmanned, and expanding their mission capabilities.
C-130 Avionics Modernization Program: Stops the Air Force from cancelling the C-130 AMP program or beginning a new program intended to meet international CNS/ATM requirements until at least 30 days after Congress receives report from the Air Force which details the cost and schedule to complete current program of record for AMP, the total cost and schedule, from start to finish, of any proposed alternative program, and the projected manpower savings to be derived from the current program of record.
China Military Report Modification: This amendment would update the requirements for the DoD’s annual report to include developments in China’s cyber warfare and electronic warfare capabilities; space programs; nuclear capabilities; anti-access and area denial capabilities; command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance modernization program and its application’s for China’s precision guided weapons; maritime activities; military-to-military relationships with other countries; and significant sales or transfers of military hardware, expertise, and technology to or from China.
Development of Cyber Security Expertise & Cooperation: The committee encourages the Department of Defense to continue to support multi?disciplinary programs of study and research within the Department of Defense, universities, and other organizations, nationally and internationally, that focus on developing U.S. cyber security expertise and tackling vital cyber security issues such as the protection of critical infrastructure on which the Department of Defense relies for critical mission capability, and which the Department would be called upon to defend in the event of a cyber attack on the United States.
Department of Defense HAZMAT Transport: Directs the Secretary of Defense to submit a report on its standards for hazardous materials transport, safety performance, number of movements, number of accidents and causes, and a comparison of DOD standards to Department of Transportation standards.
Domestic Force Protection Partnerships: Encourages the Department of Defense to conduct a training and technical assistance program to enhance installation officers, as well as local police officials and agency officers in the performance of their security duties, as well as the specific aspects of integrating their responsibilities with local base security officials and installation commanders. Also orders the Secretary of Defense to report on a plan to increase domestic force protection partnerships.
Hearing Loss: Directs the Secretary of Defense, in cooperation with the Secretary of Veterans Affairs and the Director of the Hearing Center of Excellence, to research and develop hearing loss treatment and abatement options, and work towards a cure while incorporating the recommendations of the GAO report.
Impact Aid: This amendment helps the Impact Aid program function more smoothly and provide greater certainty to school districts. It does not include any language that benefits individual states and includes several provisions that will improve the operation of the Impact Aid program.
Integrated Base Defense: Directs the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics, to provide the congressional defense committees with a briefing not later than March 31, 2013, on the Department of Defense’s requirements determination and technology development, acquisition, and fielding plans to provide capabilities to improve integrated base defense systems.
Navigation Location Training in GPS Denied Environments: Requires the Department of Defense to develop and incorporate training and contingency operations in a GPS denial environment to ensure mission success.
Northern Distribution Network Sense of the Senate: Expresses that it is the Sense of the Senate to procure goods and services along the NDN when practicable. It is not a requirement and the procurement of products and services would be at the discretion of DOD.
Paladin Improvement Management Program: Requires a report from the United States Army on the feasibility of condensing the timeline for production by reducing the number of low rate production runs from four to three; which could result in a 12-18 month shorter timeline for fielding.
Sense of the Senate on Potential Security Risks to Department of Defense Networks: Expresses that it is the sense of the Senate that the Department of Defense must ensure it maintains full visibility and adequate control of its supply chain, including subcontractors, in order to mitigate supply chain exploitation by Huawei or similar companies.
TBI/PTS Treatment: Directs the Secretary of Defense to develop best practices and procedures for social media use, and to use social media to supplement TBI/PTS treatment.
Traumatic Brain Injury Gaps and Redundancies Report: Requires the Secretary of Defense to submit a plan to streamline the over 200 programs currently being sponsored or funded by the Department of Defense which address psychological health and Traumatic Brain Injury. This will enable the Department of Defense to indentify programs that are working, focus funding, and improve overall care to our military.
Uranium Processing Facility: The committee recommends a provision that would add enhanced oversight of the Uranium Processing Facility construction project by requiring separate and distinct authorizations for each phase of the project to rein in costs and capping funding for the construction of phase one, construction of the Uranum Processing Facility.
Other passed amendments co-sponsored by Inhofe include:
Ø Next Generation Exo-Atmoshperic Kill Vehicle Long Term Strategy
Ø Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance Report on Long Term Strategy
Ø B-52 CONECT Program
Ø B-52 Strategic Radar Replacement Program
Ø Sequestration Report on the Department of Defense’s plan to implement
Ø Sense of the Senate on Unfunded Requests from Service Chiefs and Combatant Commanders
Ø Nuclear Modernization of Strategic Delivery systems
Ø Additional Marine Corps personnel for security of United States embassies, consulates, and other diplomatic facilities abroad.
Ø Sanctions against persons that provide support to M23 rebel group in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Ø Supports apprehension or removal of Joseph Kony and his top commanders.
Ø Prohibit use of funds to transfer or release GITMO detainees to the United States
Ø Amends the Federal renewable energy purchase requirement to include geothermal heat pumps