S. 1376 – FY 16 Defense Authorization Bill
Background: The Senate Armed Services Committee reported out its version of the fiscal year 2016 defense authorization bill, S. 1376, on May 14, 2015, by a vote of 22-4. The House approved its fiscal year 2016 defense authorization bill, H.R. 1735, on May 15, 2015, by a vote of 269-151. According to the House Armed Services Committee, that bill provided an overall level of $604.2 billion in budget authority, of which $495.9 billion was for the base budget for the Department of Defense, $19 billion was for Department of Energy national security programs, and $89.2 billion was for OCO. Of this OCO amount, the Committee said $38.3 billion “is authorized in support of base budget requirements.”
Floor Situation: At 11 a.m. today, the Senate will begin consideration of H.R. 1735, the House version of the defense authorization bill, at which time Chairman McCain will be recognized to offer a substitute amendment number 1463, the text of which is this bill.
Executive Summary: The administration’s overall fiscal year 2016 defense budget request was for $612 billion in discretionary spending for national defense, of which $604.1 billion falls under the jurisdiction of the Senate Armed Services Committee. The $604.1 billion is composed of $534.2 billion for the Department of Defense base budget, $19 billion for Department of Energy national security programs, and $50.9 billion for ongoing operations in the war against terrorists, which the administration labels “overseas contingency operations.”
The bill provides $604.1 billion in budget authority allocated differently from the administration’s request, in order to be consistent with the Budget Resolution as informed by the Budget Control Act. The bill provides $496.5 billion for the base budget, $18.7 billion for DOE national security programs, and $88.9 billion for OCO. The administration has threatened to veto the bill over this funding allocation structure, among other reasons.
The importance of the $38 billion difference between the president’s OCO request and the OCO amount provided in the bill is as follows: The Budget Control Act cap on national security spending (budget function 050) is $523 billion for fiscal year 2016. CBO points out base Department of Defense spending usually comprises 95.5 percent of all budget authority in this category. The president proposed to fund function 050 at $561 billion, an increase of $38 billion over the current law spending caps. The president proposed to pay for his increased spending with tax increases. OCO funding is exempt from the Budget Control Act discretionary spending caps.
In report language, the committee noted that the transfer from the base budget to OCO took place in the operations and maintenance account, and it was done to “avoid triggering automatic cuts, known as sequestration.” Section 1003 provides that if this is addressed by subsequent legislation revising in proportionally equal amounts the defense and non-defense discretionary spending limits for fiscal year 2016, the amount authorized to be appropriated in OCO in excess of $50.9 billion shall be deemed to be authorized in the base.
The bill authorizes the following amounts in the base budget:
- $111.8 billion in procurement funding, which is $4.9 billion more than the president’s request;
- $70.9 billion in funding for research, development, test, and evaluation, which is $1.1 billion more than the president’s request;
- $134.1 billion for operation and maintenance, which is $42.4 billion less than the request (bearing in mind the transfer of significant funds to the OCO O&M account);
- $135.5 billion for military personnel, which is $1.3 billion less than the requested level;
- $18.7 billion for atomic energy defense activities, which is $266.8 million less than the request; and
- $8.3 billion for military construction, which is equal to the request.
It authorizes $88.9 billion for OCO, which is $38 billion more than the president’s request.
Also of note:
- Section 1032 allows for the transfer of Guantanamo detainees to the United States if Congress approves by joint resolution, which can be considered under expedited procedures, a detailed plan submitted by the secretary of defense on the disposition of detainees at the facility.
- Section 1033 requires certain certifications be made prior to transferring a Guantanamo detainee out of U.S. custody. These requirements expire, however, if Congress approves the plan called for under section 1032; and the current state of the law is revived to where the secretary must take a variety of factors into account before making a transfer determination.
- Section 1004 expresses the sense of the Senate that sequestration remains an unreasonable and inadequate budgeting tool to address the nation’s deficits and debt; sequestration relief must be accomplished in fiscal years 2016 and 2017; the relief should be equal for defense and non-defense categories; and it should be offset through targeted changes in mandatory and discretionary categories and revenues.
- Section 1003 provides that if a bill revising in proportionally equal amounts the defense and non-defense discretionary spending limits for fiscal year 2016 is enacted, the amount authorized to be appropriated in OCO in excess of $50.9 billion shall be deemed to be authorized in the base.
- Section 351 requires the department reduce in the operations and maintenance account money used by the department for “administration,” to be achieved by reductions in personnel in certain named offices, including the office of the secretary of defense and the secretariats and military staffs of the military departments. The committee says this will generate $1.7 billion in savings next fiscal year.
- Section 601 authorizes an across-the-board pay raise of 1.3 percent for members in pay grades O-6 and below. It thus freezes pay for officers O-7 and above.
- Sections 631 and 632 make changes to the military’s retirement programs. Section 631 authorizes military participation in the Thrift Savings Plan. Section 632 creates a new defined benefit retirement system for members with 20 years of service.
- Section 2702 provides that this bill shall not be construed to authorize an additional round of defense base closure and realignment.
Notable Bill Provisions
Division A – Department of Defense Authorizations
Title I – Procurement
For procurement, the committee approved $111.8 billion, which is $4.9 billion more than the president’s budget request.
Makes authorizations for fiscal year 2016 in accordance with the table outlined in section 4101.
Prohibits the use of funds made available in fiscal year 2016 to make significant changes to manning levels with respect to any A-10 squadrons or to retire any A-10 aircraft. It further directs the Air Force to maintain a minimum of 171 A-10 aircraft. It then requires an independent assessment of the required capabilities to replace the A-10. The statement of administration policy “strongly objects” to this provision.
Title II – Research, Development, Test and Evaluation
For RDT&E, the committee approved $70.9 billion, which is $1.1 billion more than the president’s budget request. In report language the committee directed the department to expand an authorized program for government scientists at defense laboratories to take an entrepreneurial sabbatical to work for a private sector firm.
Makes the authorizations for fiscal year 2016 in accordance with the table outlined in Section 4201.
Establishes a $400 million initiative directed at maintaining and enhancing U.S. military technological superiority by countering technological advantages of potential adversaries.
Title III – Operation & Maintenance
For O&M, the committee approved $134.1 billion, which is $42.4 billion less than the president’s budget request. Much of this is restored in Title XV (OCO) by the addition of $38 billion beyond the president’s OCO request.
In report language the committee stated its understanding that the department had overstated its projected bulk fuel costs by $1.7 billion, as of March 2015, and recommended reductions across the services’ O&M accounts. It then went on to note that the department underestimated its fuel costs by $3 billion for fiscal years 2010 to 2012. This is a function of not only cost fluctuation, but also consumption. It thus directed the comptroller general to provide an assessment of how the military approaches estimating fuel consumption in annual budgets.
In report language the committee also noted the Army and Air Force had been focusing their training efforts on short-term mission requirements while deprioritizing in other areas, but that both services have established plans to refocus their training to conduct the full spectrum of military operations. The committee went on to say that if the BCA is not amended, the department “faces another adverse impact to training and readiness” in the coming fiscal year.
Makes authorizations for fiscal year 2016 in accordance with the table outlined in section 4301.
Requires a report on efforts to achieve cost savings at military installations with high energy costs.
Requires a review on consolidating and streamlining departmental headquarters functions, with a requirement that the department reduce in the O&M account money used by the department for “administration.” It is to achieve this by reductions in personnel in certain named offices, including the office of the secretary of defense and the secretariats and military staffs of the military departments. It further enforces this by providing that money made available to the office of the secretary of defense may not be used for contract personnel support until the Secretary certifies the required savings have been obtained. The committee says this will generate $1.7 billion in savings for fiscal year 2016. The statement of administration policy “strongly objects” to this provision.
Creates a pilot program for providing scholarships for intensive language instruction in certain Asian languages.
Title IV – Military Personnel
For military personnel, the committee approved $135.5 billion, which is $1.3 billion less than the president’s budget request. In report language, the committee noted that a reduction of $987.2 million was done to reflect GAO’s most recent assessment of the average annual under-execution of this account.
Directs authorizations for fiscal year 2016 be done in accordance with the table outlined in section 4401.
Repeals 10 U.S.C. § 691, which calls for maintaining end strengths necessary to enable the armed forces to fulfill a national defense strategy calling for the United States to be able to successfully conduct two nearly simultaneous major regional contingencies.
Makes a finding that several states routinely recruit and retain members of the Army National Guard in excess of state authorizations to offset states that do not recruit to state authorizations. It further finds that the states that recruit and retain in excess of authorizations do not receive any extra full-time operational support duty personnel to support excess members. The section then expresses the sense of the Senate that the National Guard Bureau should account for states that routinely recruit and retain members in excess of state authorizations when allocating full-time operational support duty personnel.
Title V – Military Personnel Policy
In report language the committee encouraged the department to eliminate the use of social security numbers as a method of identifying service members as a means of protecting against identity theft.
Makes a finding that the Senate remains interested in the integration of women into the combat arms of the armed forces and the development of gender-neutral occupational standards for occupational assignments in the armed forces.
Makes a finding that if a military service member forfeits retirement eligibility because of a court martial sentence, innocent family members may also suffer by this. It further finds that military juries may sometimes choose to impose unjustly light sentences on convicted members out of concern for the family members when a just sentence would require stripping the member of retirement eligibility. It then expresses the sense of Congress that military juries should not face the choice between imposing a fair sentence or protecting the benefits of a member of the armed forces for the sake of innocent family members; and welcomes the opportunity to work with the department to develop the necessary laws and regulations to improve the military justice system and to protect the benefits that military families have helped earn.
Provides that not more than 85 percent of the funds authorized in the operation and maintenance account for the office of the secretary of the Air Force may be used until a report is submitted on remotely piloted aircraft career field manning levels and actions the Air Force will take to rectify personnel shortfalls. In report language the committee directs the comptroller general to complete a similar report.
Make a variety of changes directed at improving the financial literacy of members of the armed forces.
Title VI – Compensation and Other Personnel Benefits
This title authorizes various bonuses and special pay authorities aimed at encouraging enlistment, reenlistment, and continued service by active duty and reserve military personnel.
Authorizes an across-the-board pay raise of 1.3 percent for members in pay grades O-6 and below. It thus freezes pay for officers O-7 and above (generals and admirals).
Authorizes military participation in the Thrift Savings Plan, a recommendation of the Military Compensation and Retirement Modernization Commission. It creates a new defined benefit retirement system for members with 20 years of service. These changes will apply to members joining service on or after January 1, 2018, although current members may choose to be covered by the new plan.
Directs the secretary to submit a plan for the privatization, in whole or in part, of the defense commissary system. It then directs the comptroller general to assess that plan. Following GAO review, the department would conduct a two-year pilot program to test a privatization business model.
Title VII – Health Care
In report language the committee noted that this year’s bill made certain changes to address specific issues in Tricare, and said “these provisions help lay the foundation for comprehensive Tricare modernization and reform legislation in the near future.”
Provides that a Tricare beneficiary shall have access to up to four urgent care visits per year without the need for preauthorization for such visits.
Provides for co-pay increases in certain Tricare pharmacy benefits. CBO has estimated this provision would save $107 million in direct spending and $67 million in discretionary spending in fiscal year 2016. It further estimates $3.9 billion in savings in direct spending and $5.9 billion in discretionary savings in the 10-year budget window.
Directs the secretary to establish wait time goals for the receipt of certain categories of health care and then ensure Tricare beneficiaries obtain an appointment within those wait-time goals; and if that cannot be met for a beneficiary, that beneficiary shall be offered an appointment within the wait-time goal with a contractor health care provider.
Ensures female service members have access to comprehensive counseling on the full range of contraception methods during health care visits. It then further directs the secretary to establish a uniform standard curriculum to be used in education programs on family planning for all members of the armed forces.
Title VIII – Acquisition Policy and Management
In report language the committee called the acquisition system “woefully inefficient,” and said this title represents the beginning of “a multi-year effort to improve the underlying structure and process.” It does so with a variety of initiatives. The committee stated its belief that “this is only the beginning of necessary changes to transition what is, in essence, a Cold War management system into one that is more agile and nimble to meet the challenges of a globalized information age.”
Seeks to establish effective accountability by restoring the service chiefs’ role in the acquisition process.
Directs the secretary to establish procedures and guidelines for alternative acquisition pathways, separate from existing acquisition procedures and guidelines, to acquire capital assets and services that meet critical national security needs.
Expands the secretary’s authority to waive acquisition law or regulations for the purpose of acquiring a capability that would not otherwise be available to the armed forces.
Establishes an advisory panel on streamlining acquisition regulations, which is charged with identifying unnecessary acquisition regulations and certifications and recommending amendment or repeal of them.
Directs the Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement be revised to establish a preference for fixed-price contracts in the determination of contract type for development programs.
Seeks to drive decision-making down to the services to the maximum extent possible. The statement of administration policy “strongly objects” to this provision.
Requires the secretary of each military department pay a penalty for cost overruns on certain major defense acquisition programs in the amount of three percent of the cumulative cost overrun in the form of an across-the-board reduction to the department’s RDT&E account.
Requires a survey to estimate industry’s cost of complying with acquisition regulations and requirements unique to the government that are not imposed on contracts for commercial items.
Title X – General Provisions
Structures the general transfer authority provided to the department, limiting that authority to $4.5 billion, requiring that transfers may only be made to items with a higher priority than the items from which money is transferred, and specifying that transfer authority cannot be used to support an item denied authorization by Congress. This section then provides that transfers between military personnel authorizations do not count toward the $4.5 billion limit.
Provides that if a bill revising in proportionally equal amounts the defense and non-defense discretionary spending limits for fiscal year 2016 is enacted, the amount authorized to be appropriated in title XV (OCO) that is in excess of $50.9 billion and equal to the amount of the increase to the defense discretionary cap provided for in that legislation shall be deemed to be authorized by title III (O&M).
Expresses the sense of the Senate that sequestration remains an unreasonable and inadequate budgeting tool to address the nation’s deficits and debt, sequestration relief must be accomplished in fiscal years 2016 and 2017, the relief should be equal for defense and non-defense categories, and it should be offset through targeted changes in mandatory and discretionary categories and revenues. This provision was added as an amendment to the chairman’s mark by a vote of 16-10.
Prohibits the use of funds to construct or modify any facility in the United States for purposes of detaining or imprisoning Guantanamo detainees until a plan is submitted by the secretary of defense and Congress approves the plan as provided in section 1032.
Prohibits the transfer of Guantanamo detainees to the United States until Congress approves by joint resolution, which can be considered under expedited procedures, a detailed plan submitted by the secretary on the disposition of detainees at the facility. In report language the committee noted it has “long requested” such a plan.
This section requires a plan for disposition for each Guantanamo detainee, particularly the name of the facility intended to be used for any detainee to be transferred to the United States.
If the plan is approved, a Guantanamo detainee could be transferred to the United States for military or civilian detention, trial, and incarceration. To transfer the detainee to the United States for continued military detention, the Secretary must provide 30 days’ notice to Congress of such a transfer, similar to the notice GAO determined the Obama administration violated when it transferred five Taliban detainees out of Guantanamo last year.
This section goes on to provide that any Guantanamo detainee transferred to the United States shall not have a change in his designation as an unprivileged enemy belligerent as a result of such transfer. The section then says a Guantanamo detainee transferred to the United States “shall not be released within the United States” and may only be transferred in accordance with the law governing transfers.
Provides the law governing transfers overseas prior to approval of any plan, by reinstating and modifying certain previous certification requirements. It requires the secretary to certify, among other things, that the foreign entity to which the detainee is to be transferred has agreed to take effective actions to ensure the individual cannot threaten the United States and cannot engage or reengage in any terrorist activity. It prohibits the transfer of a detainee to a country with a prior case of confirmed recidivism where an individual transferred to that country from Guantanamo has subsequently engaged in any terrorist activity. This section provides waiver authority for some of these certification requirements and the recidivism restriction. The section goes on to provide in making these assessments the secretary is authorized to give favorable consideration to any such detainee who has substantially cooperated with U.S. intelligence and law enforcement authorities and mechanisms remain in place to provide for continued cooperation if necessary.
If Congress approves a plan regarding the disposition of Guantanamo detainees, section 1032 revives current law and section 1033 would “expire,” as the committee pointed out in report language. This would include covering transfers of detainees who had been moved from Guantanamo to the United States. Current law outlines factors the secretary should consider in making a transfer determination (rather than a certification requirement). Those factors include the security situation in the country to which the detainee is to be transferred, recidivism cases, and actions taken and assurances given by the foreign country in addressing the transferee’s ability to threaten the United States or (re)engage in terrorist activity.
Prohibits the transfer of a Guantanamo detainee to Yemen.
Requires a report providing the names of Guantanamo detainees Joint Task Force Guantanamo has assessed at any time before the date of the report to be a high-risk or medium-risk threat to the U.S.
Requires a report on terrorist organization use of images and symbols relating to the Guantanamo detention facility or any Bureau of Prisons detention facility for recruitment or propaganda purposes.
Authorizes the secretary to use up to $75 million to assist U.S. Customs and Border Protection in increasing efforts to secure the southern border, to include deployment of regular and reserve components of the armed forces, manned aircraft, and unmanned aerial surveillance systems. The statement of administration policy “strongly objects” to this provision.
Title XI – Civilian Personnel Matters
In report language the committee directed the secretary to complete a study comparing the costs between department civilian personnel and contractors of performing functions.
Title XII – Matters Relating to Other Nations
Authorizes until the end of fiscal year 2018 the use of up to $100 million annually to provide logistics support, supplies, and services to allied military forces conducting counterterrorism operations in Africa.
Prohibits, with waiver authority, the use of funds to provide assistance to an entity in Yemen controlled by the Houthi movement.
Requires a report describing the military support the secretary considers it necessary to provide to the vetted Syrian opposition.
Expresses the sense of the Senate that the drawdown of U.S. forces in Afghanistan should be based on security conditions in Afghanistan and U.S. security interests in the region. It goes on to require the president to certify that any ordered significant reduction in U.S. forces in Afghanistan will result in an acceptable level of risk to U.S. national security objectives. A significant reduction is defined as the lesser of 1,000 or more troops or a 20 percent reduction of troops then deployed in Afghanistan.
Extends for one year the authorization to use up to $10 million for the Commanders’ Emergency Response Program. Under CERP, U.S. commanders are authorized and provided funds to respond to local urgent humanitarian relief and reconstruction requirements within their areas of responsibility in Afghanistan. This section also authorizes the use of these funds as ex gratia payments for damage, injury, or death incident to combat operations of the Iraqi armed forces.
Modifies and extends for one year the authorization to reimburse certain coalition nations for support provided to U.S. military operations. It limits the aggregate reimbursement to $1.2 billion for fiscal year 2016, of which only $900 million can be provided to Pakistan. Of this amount, $100 million is designated for stability activities undertaken in the Federally Administrated Tribal Areas of Pakistan. It extends the prohibition against reimbursement of Pakistan until the secretary certifies that Pakistan is maintaining security along the ground lines of supply through Pakistan to Afghanistan for the transshipment of equipment and supplies in support of operations in Afghanistan, and is taking demonstrable steps to support counterterrorism operations, disrupt cross-border attacks, and counter the improvised explosive device threat.
Prohibits certain assistance to Iraq unless the secretary certifies appropriate steps have been taken by Iraq to safeguard against transferring such assistance to violent extremist organizations, defined in part as a group associated with Iran.
Expresses the sense of the Senate that the United States should provide defense articles and assistance to the Kurdistan Regional Government in an expeditious manner without undue delay.
Authorizes the use of $300 million in OCO funds to provide security assistance and intelligence support, to include lethal assistance, to Ukraine military and security forces to enhance their ability to defend against further aggression and defend its sovereignty and territorial integrity, particularly against actions by Russia and Russian-backed separatists. This section further provides that not more than 50 percent of this amount can be used until at least 20 percent of the amount has been obligated to provide lethal assistance and counter-artillery radars to Ukraine. The statement of administration policy “strongly objects” to requiring that lethal assistance be provided to Ukraine.
Expresses the sense of Congress that NATO’s capability to respond to threats on its eastern border would be enhanced by a more sustained presence of NATO forces on the ground in NATO’s eastern member countries. It further requires a report assessing options for expanding the presence of U.S. forces in Eastern Europe.
Expresses the sense of Congress that NATO allies should take prompt efforts to meet the defense budget commitments made at the September 2014 Wales summit, particularly to reverse the trend of declining defense budgets.
Requires a report assessing the feasibility and advisability of using alternative international industrial base capabilities to procure and sustain nonstandard rotary wing aircraft historically acquired through Rosoboronexport.
Authorizes the use of funds in the Defense-Wide operations and maintenance account for the South China Sea Initiative, which is to provide assistance and training to named recipient countries for the purpose of increasing maritime security there. It authorizes the use of up to $50 million in fiscal year 2016, $75 million in 2017, and $100 million in fiscal years 2018, 2019, and 2020.
Expresses the sense of Congress that it is vital to maintain the credibility of the U.S. rebalance to the Asia-Pacific region, which can be accomplished, in part, by increasing Pacific Command Forces to maintain a balance of power in the region that favors the United States and allies.
Title XIII – Cooperative Threat Reduction with States of the Former Soviet Union
Authorizes $358.5 million for Cooperative Threat Reduction programs, which is the amount of the budget request, including:
- $1.3 million for strategic offensive arms elimination,
- $942,000 for chemical weapons destruction,
- $20.6 million for global nuclear security,
- $264.6 million for cooperative biological engagement,
- $38.9 million for proliferation prevention,
- $2.8 million for threat reduction engagement, and
- $29.3 million for activities designated as Other Assessments/Administrative Costs.
Title XV –Authorization for Supplemental Appropriation for OCO
This title authorizes $88.9 billion to be appropriated in fiscal year 2016 for overseas contingency operations, which is $38 billion more than the president’s request. Bearing in mind the bill provides $42.4 billion less than the president’s budget request in the base O&M account, the OCO increase is allocated entirely to the O&M account, along with additional transfers to the O&M account from other accounts within OCO.
Authorizes transfer authority within this title in the amount of $4 billion. In report language the committee noted it was reducing the $2.1 billion budget request for the Counterterrorism Partnerships Fund by $1.1 billion. This fund is directed at providing support to foreign security forces to facilitate counterterrorism and crisis response activities. The committee said “the budget justification materials did not provide sufficient levels of detail to support the budget request.” The committee further expressed its concern that a higher funding level “could outpace the ability of foreign partners to absorb and sustain the assistance.” The statement of administration policy objects to this reduction.
Title XVI – Strategic Programs, Cyber, and Intelligence Matters
Directs the president to establish an interagency process to provide for the development of a policy to deter adversaries in space. The committee noted in report language “growing Chinese and Russian aggression in space.”
Prohibits, with waiver authority and exceptions, the secretary from awarding or renewing a contract for the procurement of property or services for space launch capabilities under the evolved expendable launch vehicle program. Space launch capabilities are defined as all work associated with space launch infrastructure maintenance and sustainment, program management, systems engineering, launch site operations, launch site depreciation, and maintenance commodities. In report language, the committee noted that “the Air Force has spent billions of dollars supplementing the infrastructure and capacity of the incumbent launch provider,” and that “launch capability subsidies inhibit fair competition and are no longer necessary” with new launch providers entering the market. The statement of administration policy “strongly objects” to this provision.
Directs the secretary to complete by the end of 2019 an evaluation of the cyber vulnerabilities of each major weapon system.
Requires an independent assessment of the ability of Cyber Command to reliably prevent or block large-scale attacks on the United States by foreign powers with capabilities comparable to the capabilities of China, Iran, North Korea, and Russia expected in the years 2020 and 2025.
Expresses the sense of Congress that the nuclear triad plays a critical role in ensuring U.S. national security, and retaining all three legs of the triad is among the highest priorities of the Department. It goes on to state it is U.S. policy to operate, sustain, and modernize or replace all three legs of the triad.
Directs the secretary to develop a plan for expediting by at least two years the deployment time for a potential future missile defense interceptor site in the continental United States.
Directs the Missile Defense Agency to develop a reliable, cost-effective multiple-object kill vehicle for the ground-based midcourse defense system, to include a flight test by 2020.
Directs the Missile Defense Agency to ensure all remaining ground-based interceptors of the ground-based midcourse defense system armed with the capability enhancement-I exoatmospheric kill vehicle are replaced with the redesigned exoatmospheric kill vehicle before September 30, 2022.
Makes findings regarding Russia’s violation of the INF Treaty and expresses the sense of Congress that deployments in violation of the treaty would pose a dangerous threat to the United States and its allies. It further directs the secretary to submit a plan regarding the capabilities for possible military responses to this violation.
Division B – Military Construction Authorizations
The committee approved $8.3 billion for military construction, housing programs, and BRAC-related activities, which is essentially the amount of the president’s budget request. This division of the bill authorizes the base closure accounts that fund military construction, environmental cleanup, and other activities required to implement the decisions in previous base closure rounds.
Of the amount provided in this division, Title XXVII authorizes $251.3 million to carry out activities related to previous base closure rounds, which is equal to the budget request.
Prohibits the construction of new facilities at Guantanamo Bay until the secretary certifies that any new construction there has enduring military value independent of a high-value detention mission.
President Obama requested authorization to conduct another BRAC round, which this section specifically declines to provide. The statement of administration policy “strongly objects” to this provision.
Division C – Department of Energy National Security and Other Authorizations
Title XXXI – Department of Energy National Security Programs
This title authorizes appropriations for atomic energy defense activities of the Department of Energy for fiscal year 2016 in accordance with the table outlined in Section 4701 in the amount of $18.7 billion, which is $266.8 million less than the president’s budget request. Of this amount:
- $12.8 billion is authorized for the NNSA, of which:
- $9 billion is for weapons activities, which is $180 million more than the request;
- $1.9 billion is for defense nuclear nonproliferation activities, which is $5 million more than the request.
- $1.4 billion is for naval reactors, which is equal to the budget request, and
- $403.3 million is for the office of the administrator, which is equal to the budget request.
- $5.8 billion is authorized for defense environmental cleanup activities, which is $452 million less than the budget request.
- $774 million is authorized for other defense activities, which is equal to the budget request.
A statement of administration policy threatens to veto the bill. It says the president “will not support a budget that locks in sequestration, and he will not fix defense without fixing non-defense spending.” It strongly objects to the use of OCO “to pay for $38 billion in base requirements.” It goes on to complain about the Guantanamo transfer restrictions, and further complains that having congress approve a presidentially-submitted plan on how to close the facility in order to alleviate these restrictions “is unnecessary and overly restrictive.” It also complains the bill fails to provide BRAC authorization.
A Congressional Budget Office estimate of this bill was not available at the time of publication.
Although no unanimous consent agreement has been entered into governing the consideration of amendments, an open amendment process is expected.
Next Article Previous Article