This past legislative week was one full of national security accomplishments. On Wednesday, my colleagues on the House Armed Services Committee and I met to review and amend the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012. This spirited session yielded healthy debate on the direction of our Armed Forces and concluded early Thursday morning with the adoption of the bill by the committee. The committee's work marks the first step toward passage of this important legislation authorizing funding for the Department of Defense, including funding for servicemembers' pay and benefits, acquisition of weapons systems, research and development, operating costs, and construction of military facilities. It is important to note that the failure of the Democrat-led House and Senate to pass the FY 2011 version of this bill in the last Congress contributed to the crisis this spring during which servicemembers were nearly left without their paychecks.
During the debate Wednesday evening and Thursday morning, several important amendments were approved for inclusion in the bill. One of these amendments requires that before the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" becomes law, the service chiefs must certify that the repeal will not harm the effectiveness of combat units deploying to war. Another of the amendments reaffirms the Defense of Marriage Act as the law of the land, and requires that the Department of Defense fully comply with that law.
While some Democrats on the committee attempted to include amendments that would have harmed our ability protect our intelligence sources while prosecuting terrorists held at Guantanamo Bay, these efforts were defeated. Also defeated were amendments that would have allowed these terrorists to be transferred from Guantanamo Bay to facilities within the United States. I am pleased that my colleagues and I were able to defeat these amendments.
The bill will now go to the full House for debate and approval, before being sent to the Senate.
On Friday, the House achieved yet another victory for national security, as it voted to approve the Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2011. The importance of this legislation is highlighted by the recent events which saw our intelligence and special operations communities collaborate to locate and kill Osama Bin Laden. It is only through a robust intelligence apparatus that our nation is able to effectively identify and disrupt the threat posed by international terrorist networks. The authorization of our nation's intelligence programs and activities is essential for defending our interests and protecting the American way of life.
As a member of the House Armed Services Committee and the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, I look forward to continuing to work with my colleagues to ensure that the needs of our nation's Armed Forces are met and that the safety of the American people remains our highest priority.