NATIONAL DEFENSE AUTHORIZATION ACT FOR FISCAL YEAR 2005 -- (House of Representatives - May 20, 2004)
The SPEAKER pro tempore (Mr. Burgess). Pursuant to House Resolution 648 and rule XVIII, the Chair declares the House in the Committee of the Whole House on the State of the Union for the further consideration of the bill, H.R. 4200.
IN THE COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE
Accordingly, the House resolved itself into the Committee of the Whole House on the State of the Union for the further consideration of the bill (H.R. 4200) to authorize appropriations for fiscal year 2005 for military activities of the Department of Defense, to prescribe military personnel strengths for fiscal year 2005, and for other purposes, with Mr. LaHood (Chairman pro tempore) in the chair.
The Clerk read the title of the bill.
The CHAIRMAN pro tempore. When the Committee of the Whole rose on Wednesday, May 19, 2004, a request for a recorded vote on Amendment No. 14 printed in House Report 108-499, offered by the gentleman from Missouri (Mr. Skelton) had been postponed.
Pursuant to the order of the House of that day, the amendments numbered 29, 30, 31 and 32 are in order as though printed in the report and Amendment No. 13 is modified.
It is now in order to consider Amendment No. 7 printed in House Report 108-499.
It is now in order to consider Amendment No. 8 printed in House Report 108-499.
REQUEST TO INCLUDE MEMBER AS COSPONSOR OF AMENDMENT
Mr. KENNEDY of Minnesota. Mr. Chairman, I ask unanimous consent that the name of the gentleman from Arkansas (Mr. Snyder) be added as a cosponsor of the amendment.
The CHAIRMAN pro tempore. While a Member may not designate a co-offerer of an amendment, the RECORD will reflect his request.
AMENDMENT NO. 8 OFFERED BY MR. KENNEDY OF MINNESOTA
Mr. KENNEDY of Minnesota. Mr. Chairman, I offer an amendment
The CHAIRMAN pro tempore. The Clerk will designate the amendment.
The text of the amendment is as follows:
Amendment No. 8 offered by Mr. Kennedy of Minnesota:
Strike section 2821 (page 514, beginning line 19) and insert the following new section:
SEC. 2821. PREPARATION OF REPORTS AS PART OF 2005 BASE CLOSURE ROUND REGARDING FUTURE INFRASTRUCTURE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE ARMED FORCES.
Section 2912 of the Defense Base Closure and Realignment Act of 1990 (part A of title XXIX of Public Law 101-510; 10 U.S.C. 2687 note), as added by section 3001 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2002 (Public Law 107-107; 115 Stat. 1342), is amended by adding at the end the following new subsection:
"(e) Infrastructure-Related Reports.-
"(1) Required reports.-The Secretary shall prepare the following reports related to infrastructure requirements for the Armed Forces:
"(A) A report containing the Integrated Global Presence and Basing Strategy of the Department of Defense, including the location of long-term overseas installations, installations to be used for rotational purposes, and forward operating locations, anticipated rotational plans and policies, and domestic and overseas infrastructure requirements associated with the strategy.
"(B) A report describing the anticipated infrastructure requirements associated with the probable end-strength levels and major military force units (including land force divisions, carrier and other major combatant vessels, air wings, and other comparable units) for each of the Armed Forces resulting from force transformation.
" (C) A report describing the anticipated infrastructure requirements related to expected changes in the active component versus reserve component personnel mix of the Armed Forces.
"(D) A report describing the anticipated infrastructure requirements associated with the so-called '10-30-30 objective' of the Secretary to ensure that military forces are capable of deployment overseas within 10 days in sufficient strength to defeat an enemy within 30 days and be ready for redeployment within 30 days after the end of combat operations.
"(E) A report containing the results of a complete reassessment of the infrastructure necessary to support the force structure described in the force-structure plan prepared under paragraph (1) of subsection (a) and describing any resulting excess infrastructure and infrastructure capacity, which were previously required by paragraph (2) of such subsection. The reassessment shall be based on actual infrastructure, facility, and space requirements for the Armed Forces rather than a comparative study between 1989 and 2003.
"(F) A report describing the anticipated infrastructure requirements associated with the assessment prepared by the Secretary pursuant to section 2822 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2004 (Public Law 108-136; 117 Stat. 1726), in which Congress required the Secretary to assess the probable threats to national security and determine the potential, prudent, surge requirements for the Armed Forces and military installations to meet those threats.
"(2) Time for submission of reports.-The Secretary shall submit the reports required by paragraph (1) to the congressional defense committees at the same time as the Secretary transmits the recommendations for the closure or realignment of military installations under section 2914(a).".
The CHAIRMAN pro tempore. Pursuant to House Resolution 648, the gentleman from Minnesota (Mr. Kennedy) and a Member opposed each will control 10 minutes.
The Chair recognizes the gentleman from Minnesota (Mr. Kennedy).
Mr. KENNEDY of Minnesota. I yield myself 3 minutes.
Mr. Chairman, I rise today to urge my colleagues to support the amendment I am offering with my friend, the gentleman from Arkansas (Mr. Snyder). The Kennedy-Snyder amendment repeals the 2-year BRAC delay that was included in the Defense Authorization Act reported out by the committee.
Our amendment also requires DOD to report to Congress on our overseas basing posture and other issues raised by the committee in March of 2005 when DOD transmits its base closure and realignment recommendations to the BRAC Commission.
Under the terms of our amendment, Congress would have 6 months to consider the report before a potential vote to disapprove the recommendations of the BRAC Commission. This would give the House ample time to hold hearings and decide if DOD paid attention to such important issues as our overseas basing structure. Furthermore, estimates show that the 2-year delay of BRAC could waste as much as $16 billion in lost savings.
Mr. Chairman, this is money that would be better used to modernize our weapons systems and improve the quality of life for our service men and women.
I know some of my colleagues on this floor are opposed to the BRAC process. They argue that now is not the time to conduct a round of base closures, not while the country is at war. I disagree. I believe that now is as important a time as ever.
The critical nature of our war on terrorism and our military actions in Iraq and Afghanistan demand we go forward with BRAC. Right now, we have a perfect opportunity to see what infrastructure the military really needs for our modern-day challenges. After all, if it is not essential where our military is engaged in two countries simultaneously, in addition to all of our other responsibilities being undertaken by our men and women in uniform, when will it be needed?
But that is not just my opinion. The Chairman and Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, along with the Army Chief of Staff, the Air Force Chief of Staff, the Chief of Naval Operations and the Commandant of the Marine Corps recently warned a delay in the BRAC amendment will seriously undermine our ability to fundamentally reconfigure our infrastructure to best support the transformation of our forces to meet the security challenges we face now and will continue to face for the foreseeable future.
For this reason, the administration has issued a statement of administration policy that says anything that delays, weakens or repeals the BRAC would trigger a veto.
Mr. Chairman, we cannot afford that risk. For those of my colleagues really concerned about BRAC, I would ask them to remember that the BRAC process works. Congress and the President each must act to accept or reject the recommendations of the BRAC Commission. They do not take effect until both Congress and the President accept the list. That means a vote for the Kennedy-Snyder amendment is not a vote to close any base; it is a vote for a process proven to work, free from political posturing, that puts the needs of the military and taxpayers ahead of parochial interests.
Mr. Chairman, the BRAC process is a significant innovation that relies upon shared oversight to strengthen our military and produce significant savings in the defense budget. We have had significant savings in the past BRAC closings.
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Mr. KENNEDY of Minnesota. Mr. Chairman, I yield the final minute to the distinguished gentleman from Georgia (Mr. Kingston).
Mr. KINGSTON. Mr. Chairman, I thank the gentleman for yielding the time, and I rise in support of the Kennedy amendment, and not easily.
I think it is a very important amendment. This is a very important debate, but as we look at BRAC as we go into it, and I want to say also I have five military installations in my district. I think I have more military than any other Member of the House, I am not certain about that, but I am in there, we have got to let the Pentagon, we have got to let the Defense Department run the military.
We cannot do it in Congress. This is not our job. We get involved in it. It is very, very important to support their efforts and work with them, but we also have other issues, Medicare, education, Social Security, taxes, that we have to delve into, and right now, we have a lot of Members delving into the military.
BRAC was set up to be nonpolitical, to be fair. In our office, we work on military issues at our bases, not during BRAC years, but every single year. We work on issues of the cost return on the bases, environmental issues, encroachment issues, military construction issues, community support. We work with our military all the time.
If Members of Congress want to help the bases in their districts, they need to be doing it year around, not just during an election year and on the eve of BRAC.
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So the amendment was rejected.