A compromise version of fiscal 2017 National Defense Authorization Act totals $618.7 billion in authorized defense funding, including additional money for U.S. war efforts in Afghanistan and against the Islamic State.
- Overall, it would shore up military readiness and increase the numbers of active duty troops.
- The legislation, hammered out by members and staff of the House and Senate Armed Services Committees, also jettisons numerous policy provisions that could have drawn a presidential veto, according to senior aides from both committees who briefed reporters on the compromise.
- The conference report will likely be filed midday Wednesday. The House is expected to vote to consider the deal on the floor Friday, and the Senate is expected to follow next week.
- Of the $618.7 billion total, the bill authorizes $523.7 billion for the base defense budget. It also includes $67.8 billion for the war-related Overseas Contingency Operations account, of which $8.3 billion is designated to fund base budget programs.
- During their negotiations, lawmakers incorporated an additional $5.8 billion war supplemental funding request to fund higher-than-planned troop levels in Afghanistan and stepped up operations against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.
- The panels also added $3.2 billion in war funding on top of the administration’s budget request to address shortfalls in military readiness.
- The bill authorizes more troops than planned for the active duty military services, including 476,000 for the Army and 185,000 for the Marine Corps.
- Other controversial policy riders from the House and Senate bills were left out of the end-game compromise, including provisions on listing the greater sage grouse as an endangered species and workplace protections based on sexual orientation.
- A provision from the Senate-passed NDAA requiring women to register for the military draft was scrapped as well, although the final bill requires a study of the Selective Service system.
Other key provisions would:
- — Provide a 2.1 percent pay raise for military service members, above the 1.6 percent increase recommended by the administration.
- — Split the responsibilities of the Defense Department’s undersecretary of acquisition, technology and logistics into an undersecretary for research and engineering and an undersecretary for acquisition and sustainment.
- — Maintain procurement levels for the F-35s, F/A-18 Super Hornets and the Littoral Combat Ship recommended by the administration in its budget request.
- — Reduce the National Security Council staff as well as the ranks of general and flag military officers, which the committee staff estimates at roughly 12 percent.
- — Continue to prohibit transferring detainees at the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to the U. S.
- — Elevate the U.S. Cyber Command, now an arm of the U.S. Strategic Command, to a full, unified combatant command.
- — Include a section related to forced repayments of bonuses by the California National Guard, which committee aides say shifts the burden of proof to the Pentagon to show erroneous or improper payments.
- — Prohibit a new round of base realignments and closures.
- — Overhaul the military health and Tricare systems as well as tweak the Goldwater-Nichols command-structure.