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senate Bill S. 2943

The $619 Billion Plan For Defense Spending in FY2017

Argument in favor

Congress has a constitutional duty to provide for the national defense, and while this bill is a compromise, it will strengthen the military at a time when threats are increasing and funding is hard to come by.

05/26/2016
While I don't agree with all the appropriations in this bill, what I can agree with is the $59 billion that will be set aside to fund Overseas Contingency Operations. There is no bigger feeling of abandonment than being down range and realizing that you haven't been provided with all the resources you will need to accomplish your mission because the necessary funding wasn't available. I would like to suggest one change though and I am sure I am not the only Patriot who feels this way, but can we please stop referring to what we are doing in Iraq and Afghanistan as "Overseas Contingency Operations" and start referring to them as what they really are. Combat is Combat. War is War. Not a Contingency Operation.
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operaman's Opinion
···
05/26/2016
Eventhough this bill has some PORK, our military needs a vigorous infusion of cash. Is it enough? Nope. Will take years to repair Obama's neglect of our military.
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GrumpyMSgt's Opinion
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05/28/2016
Yes with one caveat: Take the 408 million slated for defensive equipment against IED's and use it for air strikes on all known ISIS strongholds.
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Argument opposed

Even though this bill is similar to the president’s budget proposal for national defense, it misses the mark by diverting $5 billion in warfighting funds to base budget programs. That’s grossly irresponsible.

Laura's Opinion
···
06/03/2016
Why not spend this on something that actually helps US citizens? Like education? Healthcare? Infrastructure? Social Security? Veterans Care? Food Stamps? Medical Research? This is a gross amout of money to spend on guns and bombs and soldiers, especially when our biggest security threats are digital.
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Alis's Opinion
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06/14/2016
Really? I thought we were so broke that we can't possibility allow The United States Post Office (a demonstrably profitable & efficient part of the federal government) to continue to exist. And that we are so impoverished that elderly people who had no choice but to pay into Social Security cannot reasonably expect to live their lives with any financial return on their lifetime investment. And that we are so desperately needy that our roads & bridges are dangerous and we can't afford to fix them. And we so embattled & beleaguered by enemies that we must always be at war no matter what the cost but we cannot afford to care for the wounded veterans that have the misfortune of returning from those wars. WHAT THE F*** ARE YOU THINKING? Of course, there is a defense budget. BUT when are you going to stop spending enormous amounts of money that appear to only create a permanent community of destroyed lives--both American & non-American, both the veterans AND their families? This is horrific & has become immoral! Shame on you, Sen Rubio, Sen Nelson!!
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Kyle's Opinion
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05/31/2016
Our military is still too big ad sucks too much funding away from other programs. There is no need to be the world police and our enemies are few. It's time to fight smarter and stop throwing money into worthless military programs that even the military doesn't want.
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bill Progress


  • EnactedDecember 23rd, 2016
    The President signed this bill into law
  • The house Passed December 2nd, 2016
    Roll Call Vote 375 Yea / 34 Nay
  • The senate Passed December 8th, 2016
    Roll Call Vote 92 Yea / 7 Nay
      senate Committees
      Committee on Armed Services
    IntroducedMay 18th, 2016

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What is Senate Bill S. 2943?

This bill would authorize federal spending on national defense programs for fiscal year 2017. It proposes $619 billion in spending, $543 billion of which would go toward the Dept. of Defense’s (DOD) base budget. $59 billion would be set aside to fund Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) and overseas bases — about $18 billion more than the president requested in his budget.

The total amount of funding authorized by this bill has changed over time due to amendments made in the House and Senate. The current version would provide a 2.1 percent pay raise for troops, in addition to providing $5.8 billion for operations in Iraq, Afghanistan and Europe and a further $3.2 billion for force readiness. The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA for short) is as long and complex as the U.S. military's day to day operations. Here are some of the highlights of this very, very long piece of legislation:

RESOURCES

The base funding level for national defense was set by the Bipartisan Budget Agreement at $543 billion, which includes the DOD’s base budget. Of the $59 billion in OCO funding, $5 billion goes to functions normally funded through the base budget.

Troops and Families

This legislation authorizes $134 billion to be spent on pay, allowances, bonuses, death benefits, and change of station compensation to members of the military and their families. There would be a 1.6 percent pay increase for all members of the military. It also authorizes personnel levels for the active duty and reserves at the same level as the president’s budget request, meaning the:

  • Active duty Army would shrink by 20,000 troops to 460,000 soldiers;.

  • Marines Corps would continue to have 182,000 active duty Marines, in addition to 38,500 reservists.

  • Navy would have a total of 380,000 active duty and reserve sailors;

  • Air Force would be composed of 491,700 active duty, reserve, and National Guard airmen;

  • Army National Guard and reserves would have 335,000 and 195,000 soldiers, respectively.

Equipment

Over $46 billion would be spent on acquiring or upgrading a wide variety of military equipment to meet current and future threats and improve the Armed Forces’ readiness. Here are some of the highlights:

  • $10.5 billion would go to the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program, while another $13.7 billion would be spent acquiring new aircraft, helicopters, and drones. Additionally, over $500 million would be spent on upgrading aircraft and helicopters;

  • $11.4 billion would be spent on building two Virginia-class nuclear submarines, two Arleigh Burke-class destroyers, and a new amphibious assault ship — in addition to replacing Ohio-class nuclear submarines;

  • $7.5 billion would go to the Missile Defense Agency, plus another $115 million dedicated to missile defense systems for the U.S. homeland;

  • $408 million would to the Joint Improvised Explosive Defeat Fund that focuses on defeating improvised explosive devices (IEDs) used against U.S. and allied forces in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, and other military operations.

Further, this legislation would support the full modernization of what’s known as the nuclear triad — including nuclear submarines, nuclear-capable bombers, and intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs).

Assuring Access to Space​

The NDAA repeals a provision from last year’s omnibus appropriations bill that furthered dependence on Russia and requires that assured access to space be achieved without the use of rocket engines designed or manufactured in the Russian Federation. Once the nine Russian rocket engines allowed by the NDAA for FY 2015 and FY 2016 are used, the DOD would be authorized to only use launch vehicles that do not require rocket engines designed or manufactured in Russia. $1.2 billion has been budgeted from FY 2017 to FY 2021 for the effort to build a replacement, in addition to the $453 million spent in the past two fiscal years.

Research and Development

The NDAA looks to promote continued research and development into tools that could assist the military in carrying out its operations. Over $50 million would be put toward advancing directed energy technology. Additionally, DOD laboratory directors would be allowed to use more rapid and flexible personnel practices which includes faster hiring, improved compensation, and the creation of term positions.

Strengthening Homeland Security​

The NDAA takes several steps to bolster the defense of the homeland. It would enhance information sharing and coordination of military training conducted on U.S. borders between the DOD and the Dept. of Homeland Security in order to:

  • Support military readiness;

  • Increase situational awareness of the border by civilian law enforcement;

  • Improve the effectiveness of drug interdiction and border security operations.

$688 million in funding would be authorized for DOD counterdrug programs.


HEALTHCARE

The NDAA contains a number of provisions designed to improve the military health system’s ability to provide the timely, quality care beneficiaries deserve. Access to military treatment facilities would be expanded for veterans and certain civilians. This bill would allow for lower co-payments when beneficiaries have to pay for high-value pharmaceuticals and medical services. Eligible beneficiaries would be able to enroll in federal dental and vision insurance programs through the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) and would have expanded access to telehealth services. A plan to improve pediatric care would also be required.

New healthcare plans would be made available through TRICARE, which provides civilian health benefits for military personnel, retirees, and their dependents. The new plans would be TRICARE Prime, TRICARE Choice, and TRICARE Supplemental.

​Enhancing Access to High Quality Healthcare​

This bill looks to expand and improve access to care for beneficiaries by requiring a standardized appointment system in military treatment facilities. Local military-civilian integrated healthcare delivery systems would be created, allowing military treatment facilities to form partnerships with civilian health systems and the Dept. of Veterans Affairs (VA).

Operational Medical Force Readiness

The NDAA seeks to match the size of the military health system with the operational needs and medical readiness of the Armed Forces. Headquarters staffing would be reduced to promote efficiency in the management of the military health system. Graduate medical education training programs that don’t directly support the military’s operational medical readiness would be eliminated. Military healthcare provider positions would be allowed to be converted to civilian or contractor positions.

New trauma centers would be established at military medical centers in areas with unmet patient demand. Military trauma specialists would be able to participate in partnerships allowing them to receive training by working at civilian trauma centers. This bill would create a trauma care registry and require the development of standardized tactical combat casualty care training.

TRICARE medical support contracts would be updated to expand access to telehealth programs, let contractors use innovations in the private sector health plan market, and transfer financial risk for delivering healthcare services to contractors and providers.

Selective Service​

Update: This provision was eliminated in the amended version that passed the House the week of November 28. Women would be required to register for the draft beginning January 1, 2018 as a result of the DOD’s decision to lift the ban on women serving in combat roles. This legislation would also initiate a study into whether the selective service system should remain as structured and provide the ability to mobilize large numbers of troops, or if a system focusing on specific skill sets would be more desirable.


​INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS

​Supporting Allies and Partners​

The NDAA would look to strengthen U.S. support for a variety of allies and partners that fight with the U.S. and help defend common values. Here are some of the highlights:

  • $3.4 billion would go to the Afghan Security Forces to continue efforts to defeat the Taliban and terrorist organizations that want to harm U.S. interests;

  • $3.4 billion would support the European Reassurance Initiative by increasing the capability and readiness of U.S. and NATO forces to deter and respond to Russian aggression;

  • $1.3 billion in consolidated funding would go toward counter-ISIL efforts, which includes “train and equip” programs in Iraq and Syria for moderate groups, in addition to border security operations in Jordan and Lebanon;

  • Up to $500 million in security assistance would be made available to Ukraine, including lethal military equipment. Half of these funds would be restricted and withheld until Ukraine has undertaken reforms to fight corruption, increase accountability, and sustain security assistance efforts;

  • $239 million would go to U.S.-Israeli cooperative missile defense programs, an increase of $135 million to support the development of the Arrow, Arrow 3, and David’s Sling programs.

This bill would encourage a ban on the sale of lethal military equipment to Vietnam by establishing a process by which future sales can be reviewed. The review would verify that the Vietnamese government is improving its record on human rights, and that the weapons won’t be used to violate the rights and freedoms of civilians in the country.

The DOD would also be directed to carry out an exchange program involving senior military officials with the government of Taiwan with the goal of improving military-to-military relations.

Guantanamo Bay

The NDAA would extend the ban on using federal funds to transfer detainees from Guantanamo Bay to the U.S. and the ban on building facilities in the U.S. There would be an exception for a temporary detainee transfer to the U.S. for emergency medical care. It would also prohibit the transfer of detainees to conflict zones such as Libya, Somalia, Syria, or Yemen to prevent them from returning to terrorist activities. The ban on realigning forces at Guantanamo Bay or closing the naval station would be extended.

Reforming Security Cooperation​

This bill would consolidate $2 billion in funding for security cooperation into a new fund that’d be known as the Security Cooperation Enhancement Fund. The DOD would also create a program to oversee the development and management of a professional workforce supporting the DOD’s security cooperation activities, including weapons sales to foreign governments.


MISCELLANEOUS

Reforming the Military Justice System​

The NDAA would implement the most significant reforms to the Uniform Code of Military Justice in a generation. The overarching goals of these reforms would be to:

  • Strengthen the structure of the military justice system;

  • Enhance fairness and efficiency in pretrial and trial procedures;

  • Reform sentencing, guilty pleas, and plea agreements.

Goldwater-Nichols Reforms​

This section of the bill reforms the Goldwater-Nichols Act in order to improve the accountability, integration, oversight, and strategic planning of military activities. The advisory role of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (CJCS) would be expanded and the CJCS term would grow from two to four years.

The U.S. Cyber Command (CYBERCOM) would be elevated to a unified command and the Government Accountability Office (GAO) would tasked with evaluating the CYBERCOM leader’s dual role as head of the National Security Agency (NSA).

The Quadrennial Defense Review would be eliminated and replaced with a new framework led by the Secretary of Defense. A Defense Strategy Commission would be established and staffed by independent security experts would be appointed by Congress and make recommendations at the beginning of a new presidential administration. Then after four years, the Secretary would issue a guidance about force structure and resource priorities after four years.

Impact

Members of the U.S. military, their families, and retirees; foreign allies of the U.S. military; and the DOD or other affected federal agencies.

Cost of Senate Bill S. 2943

A CBO cost estimate is unavailable.

More Information

In-Depth: Sponsoring Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) introduced this bill to ensure that the military has enough funding at its disposal to provide the troops and equipment needed to deter a variety of global threats:

“The NDAA contains the most sweeping reforms of the organization of the Dept. of Defense in a generation. It modernizes the military health system to provide beneficiaries with higher quality care, better access to care, and a better experience of care. The NDAA is also an innovation bill. It refocuses Pentagon leadership on preserving America’s military technological advantage and advances reforms to the defense acquisition system to harness American innovation.”

Much like it did when Congress passed the NDAA for fiscal year 2016, the White House has threatened to veto this bill should it reach President Obama's desk. The administration objected to provisions related to Guantanamo Bay, troop levels, and equipment purchases but its biggest problem with the bill is the diversion of Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) funds to the DOD's base budget. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter has publicly disagreed with that budget tactic, with the White House adding this rebuke:

"By gambling with warfighting funds, the bill risks the safety of our men and women fighting to keep America safe, undercuts stable planning and efficient use of taxpayer dollars, dispirits troops and their families, baffles our allies, and emboldens our enemies."

This legislation was passed by the Senate Armed Services Committee on a vote of 23-2.


Of Note: Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) filed an amendment to this bill that would declassify 28 pages of a congressional review of the 9/11 terror attacks. This comes several weeks after the Senate unanimously approved legislation to allow the victims of terror attacks to sue responsible foreign governments, though President Obama has threatened to veto it.


Media:

Summary by Eric Revell
(Photo Credit: Flickr user The U.S. Army)

AKA

National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017

Official Title

An original bill to authorize appropriations for fiscal year 2017 for military activities of the Department of Defense, for military construction, and for defense activities of the Department of Energy, to prescribe military personnel strengths for such fiscal year, and for other purposes.

    While I don't agree with all the appropriations in this bill, what I can agree with is the $59 billion that will be set aside to fund Overseas Contingency Operations. There is no bigger feeling of abandonment than being down range and realizing that you haven't been provided with all the resources you will need to accomplish your mission because the necessary funding wasn't available. I would like to suggest one change though and I am sure I am not the only Patriot who feels this way, but can we please stop referring to what we are doing in Iraq and Afghanistan as "Overseas Contingency Operations" and start referring to them as what they really are. Combat is Combat. War is War. Not a Contingency Operation.
    Like (69)
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    Why not spend this on something that actually helps US citizens? Like education? Healthcare? Infrastructure? Social Security? Veterans Care? Food Stamps? Medical Research? This is a gross amout of money to spend on guns and bombs and soldiers, especially when our biggest security threats are digital.
    Like (284)
    Follow
    Share
    Really? I thought we were so broke that we can't possibility allow The United States Post Office (a demonstrably profitable & efficient part of the federal government) to continue to exist. And that we are so impoverished that elderly people who had no choice but to pay into Social Security cannot reasonably expect to live their lives with any financial return on their lifetime investment. And that we are so desperately needy that our roads & bridges are dangerous and we can't afford to fix them. And we so embattled & beleaguered by enemies that we must always be at war no matter what the cost but we cannot afford to care for the wounded veterans that have the misfortune of returning from those wars. WHAT THE F*** ARE YOU THINKING? Of course, there is a defense budget. BUT when are you going to stop spending enormous amounts of money that appear to only create a permanent community of destroyed lives--both American & non-American, both the veterans AND their families? This is horrific & has become immoral! Shame on you, Sen Rubio, Sen Nelson!!
    Like (111)
    Follow
    Share
    Eventhough this bill has some PORK, our military needs a vigorous infusion of cash. Is it enough? Nope. Will take years to repair Obama's neglect of our military.
    Like (36)
    Follow
    Share
    Our military is still too big ad sucks too much funding away from other programs. There is no need to be the world police and our enemies are few. It's time to fight smarter and stop throwing money into worthless military programs that even the military doesn't want.
    Like (35)
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    Cut the budget. That figure is staggering. Audit the current spending and eliminate waste.
    Like (30)
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    We spend more than the next twenty countries combined, 19 of which we consider allies. This is a gross misuse of our tax dollars, fighting people in efforts to protect corporate interests abroad.
    Like (27)
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    No substantial threat to our homeland. Isis does not have planes to come bomb us. You cannot stop murder and acts of violence. Especially in the small isolated incidences such as the Isis attacks.
    Like (20)
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    To the folks that make the comments like "we spend more on defense than the next 13 countries combined, etc". You're right. We do. But do you know why? I'll clue you in. At the best of times, we have had a 3 million man military. Currently, with this budget being implemented, we'll have about a 1.4 million man standing Army, with a million more in reserve. Now, that sounds like a 2.4 million man military, right? Not quite. Only 460,000 will be active Army, which is who would fight the land war that's coming. And of that, I would say that roughly half to a 1/3 are support. The cooks, the accountants, the mechanics, who don't really face the enemy across lines and do battle. So that leaves us with roughy 250-300k troops who will actually do battle, from the active Army. You can basically leave the Navy and Air Force out, because save a few Special Forces elements, they have no ground forces. The Marines are a small, but very tenacious force, whose numbers probably float around 150k line troops. I'm just spitballing these figures to illustrate, btw, but I'd say they're not ridiculously far off. So to conclude, we have about a half-million man standing military that can take the fight to the enemy, and keep the wolves away until we can spool up our reserve forces for some relief. China and Russia have about the same numbers of men, and in some cases more equipment, given that they spool up their men and attack first. Which in all likelihood is what will happen, as our people would never allow us to strike first. Almost always throughout history we have been numerically inferior, and we have to hold our technological advantage to equal it out. That's why we have to spend as much as the next thirteen countries on defense. Wow that was long winded
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    I think the Dick Cheney's of this country have had enough of the public teat. How about taking care of vets rather than creating them
    Like (17)
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    Yes with one caveat: Take the 408 million slated for defensive equipment against IED's and use it for air strikes on all known ISIS strongholds.
    Like (15)
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    I am a firm believer in a well-trained armed forces, however, increasing defense spending is absolutely unnecessary. The United States is struggling to revitalize its middle and working class citizens, so I believe we should cut defense spending significantly. First, we should listen to the Pentagon's recommendations on the bases it wants to decommission and go from there. The rest of this money can be put forth for social services and infrastructure spending.
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    Congress should be spending less on defense. We have more problems than expanding our military. We have the largest in the world.
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    There's money in the budget for old time military spending such as aircraft carriers, tanks, etc. How about more spending on technology-based equipment?
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    This is a bloated and ridiculous budget. Seems like zero thought was put into making dollars go further.
    Like (6)
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    Stay out of foreign affairs that do not directly threaten our nation. $3 billion a year to Israel is enough. We have more important issues on our Homefront. Like climate change. Homelessness. Child poverty. National poverty and hunger.
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    We already spend too much on defense. Divert some of that money to education or human services programs
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    Why are we spending so much money on killing people overseas when we need to invest in our own country's infrastructure, education, etc?
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    No more war spending until healthcare and VA are fully funded
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    war is bad
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