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Public Statements

National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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AMENDMENT NO. 32 OFFERED BY MR. ANDREWS

The Acting CHAIR. It is now in order to consider amendment No. 32 printed in House Report 112-88.

Mr. ANDREWS. Mr. Chairman, I have an amendment at the desk.

The Acting CHAIR. The Clerk will designate the amendment.

The text of the amendment is as follows:

Page 417, after line 7, insert the following (and conform the table of contents accordingly):

SEC. 941. TEMPORARY SUSPENSION OF IMPLEMENTATION AND ENFORCEMENT OF WORKFORCE MANAGEMENT AND SOURCING POLICES PURSUANT TO ``EFFICIENCY INITIATIVE''.

(a) Temporary Suspension.--During the period beginning on the date of enactment of this Act and ending on the date that is 60 days after the first date on which the Secretary of Defense has submitted to the congressional defense committees both the report required in subsection (b) and the certification required under subsection (c), no workforce management and sourcing policies, directives, guidance, or memoranda issued pursuant to the Department of Defense's ``Efficiency Initiative'' may be announced, carried out, continued, implemented, or enforced.

(b) Report Required.--The Secretary of Defense, acting through the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, shall undertake a comprehensive review of the workforce management and sourcing policies announced by the Department of Defense pursuant to the ``Efficiency Initiative'' and submit to the congressional defense committees a report that describes alternative policies that--

(1) ensure performance decisions are based on law, risk, policy, and cost;

(2) reflect a total force policy that takes into account the strengths and capacities of active and reserve components, civil servants, contractors, and retired military personnel in achieving national security objectives and missions; and

(3) are consistent with the statutory framework for workforce management and sourcing, including sections 129 and 129a of title 10, United States Code.

(c) Certification Required.--The Secretary of Defense shall publish in the Federal Register and submit to the congressional defense committees a certification that--

(1) the Secretary of Defense has completed and submitted to the congressional defense committees a complete inventory of contracts for services for or on behalf of the Department in compliance with the requirements of subsection (c) of section 2330a of title 10, United States Code; and

(2) the Secretary of each military department and the head of each Defense Agency responsible for activities in the inventory has initiated the review and planning activities of subsection (e) of such section.

(d) Comptroller General Review.--Not later than 30 days after the first date on which both the report required under subsection (b) and the certification required under subsection (c) have been submitted to the congressional defense committees, the Comptroller General shall conduct an assessment of the report required under subsection (b), determine whether the Department of Defense is compliant with the certification requirement in subsection (c), and submit to the congressional defense committees a report on the findings resulting from those activities.

The Acting CHAIR. Pursuant to House Resolution 276, the gentleman from New Jersey (Mr. Andrews) and a Member opposed each will control 5 minutes.

The Chair recognizes the gentleman from New Jersey.

Mr. ANDREWS. I yield myself such time as I may consume.

(Mr. ANDREWS asked and was given permission to revise and extend his remarks.)

Mr. ANDREWS. One of the questions, Mr. Chairman, that this body and the administration often face is whether a certain task is best performed by employees of the Department of Defense or whether that task is best performed by those working for contractors competing for the right to do that business.

There are two things I know about this issue. The first is that it is one we always debate because it's a very difficult one to resolve. And the second is that I don't think either answer is always the right one. I think any strategy that presupposes that having employees do a job isn't right and a strategy that presupposes having contractors do a job isn't right.

I think we've built a bipartisan consensus around the proposition that, on a case-by-case basis over time, we should collect evidence and decide whether or not a certain function is best performed by employees of the Department of Defense or whether it is best performed on a competitive contracted-out basis.

The purpose of my amendment is to address what I believe is an imbalance in this evidence-gathering process that goes under the name of an efficiency initiative.

I don't think there's a Member on this floor who would oppose an efficiency initiative. But efficiency is not something that presupposes that one answer is always better than the others. And I think the record shows that we're presently living under an initiative that presupposes that contracting out is better than having Federal employees perform that function.

Here's the evidence:

Between fiscal year 2001 and fiscal year 2010, Department of Defense services performed by contracting agencies--that is to say companies--increased from $73 billion in fiscal 2001 to $181 billion in fiscal 2010. This is an increase of 147 percent, or about 15 percent per year. During the same period of time, the cost of compensating Department of Defense civilian employees grew from $41 billion in fiscal 2001 to $69 billion in fiscal 2010, a 68 percent increase, or just under 7 percent per year.

Now, I am not prejudging as to whether the decisions that make up those aggregate numbers were all right or all wrong. That would be certainly beyond anyone's capability to do. But I think that kind of imbalance shows that we're not conducting the kind of careful, fact-driven, merit-driven evidentiary process that we ought to be following.

So here's what my amendment does. It says that when our bill is signed by the President, that there will be a 60-day period where there will just be a timeout, where we will stop the contracting-out process. We'll ask the Department of Defense, we'll direct the Department of Defense to do two things: to answer the question of whether the decisions it has been taking are truly based on the merits and cost benefit or whether there are other factors involved. It will then ask the Department of Defense to certify that the laws and procedures that we set up in the past to make such decisions have, in fact, been followed. At the conclusion of that 60-day period, reports will be given to the Armed Services Committee and the other defense committees of the Congress, and we will collectively review those reports and make a decision, in time for next year's bill, what to do.

So this is an amendment that does not favor contracting out or keeping work in the hands of Federal employees. This is an amendment that says that we should reflect on the fact that we've had a 147 percent increase in contracted-out services at the time we've had a 68 percent increase in the compensation of civilian employees. We should pause for 60 days after the bill is enacted, reflect the accuracy of that record, and then collectively make a decision for the future as to what's best for the country.

I think this is a reasonable approach to this issue. I would urge a ``yes'' vote from both Republicans and Democrats.

The Acting CHAIR. The time of the gentleman has expired.

Mr. FORBES. Mr. Chairman, I rise in opposition to the amendment.

The Acting CHAIR. The gentleman from Virginia is recognized for 5 minutes.

Mr. FORBES. Mr. Chairman, first of all, I appreciate the gentleman's amendment and I appreciate his work on the Armed Services Committee. He's always very thoughtful and always committed to the national defense of our country.

As I listened to him over and over again, I was agreeing with many of the things that he said. I think oftentimes the decisions that the Department of Defense has made under the guise of efficiencies have not been efficiencies at all. They could have actually cost us more. I think, secondly, they have been made without being well thought out. I think sometimes they have backfilled their analyses after they made those decisions.

But as I read the gentleman's amendment, basically it would suspend all the sourcing and workforce management policies based on all of DOD's efficiency initiatives, which is a wide gamut. Mr. Chairman, I think that, even though, as I mentioned before, I think oftentimes the Department of Defense has been wrong in some of its efficiencies, that doesn't mean they've been wrong in every situation. And one of the things that I think is a vital flaw in the gentleman's amendment is that there's no offset for the amendment to cover the reverse on the planned savings. In fact, according to the information I have been given, the cost of not implementing these efficiencies could be as much as $3 billion. That is off of the top line of the Defense budget. And I know the gentleman would agree with me that, at this particular point in time, such a huge hit to the Department of Defense would not be in the best interest of the national defense of the country.

So, with that, Mr. Chairman, I hope we will oppose the amendment. I hope that I can work with the gentleman and other members of the committee so we can make sure DOD gets this right as they move down the road. But certainly we don't want to put this kind of impact on our men and women in uniform at this time.

I yield back the balance of my time.

The Acting CHAIR. The question is on the amendment offered by the gentleman from New Jersey (Mr. Andrews).

The question was taken; and the Acting Chair announced that the noes appeared to have it.

Mr. ANDREWS. Mr. Chairman, I demand a recorded vote.

The Acting CHAIR. Pursuant to clause 6 of rule XVIII, further proceedings on the amendment offered by the gentleman from New Jersey will be postponed.

AMENDMENT NO. 33 OFFERED BY MS. LEE

The Acting CHAIR. It is now in order to consider amendment No. 33 printed in House Report 112-88.

Ms. LEE. Mr. Chairman, I have an amendment at the desk.

The Acting CHAIR. The Clerk will designate the amendment.

The text of the amendment is as follows:

At the end of subtitle A of title X of division A, add the following new section:

SEC. 10__. LIMITATION IN FUNDING LEVEL TO FISCAL YEAR 2008 FUNDING LEVEL.

(a) In General.--Notwithstanding any other provision of law, no funds are authorized to be made available under this division for any account of the Department of Defense (other than accounts listed in subsection (b)) in excess of the amount made available for such account for fiscal year 2008.

(b) Exempted Accounts.--The accounts exempted pursuant to this subsection are the following accounts:

(1) Military personnel, reserve personnel, and National Guard personnel accounts of the Department of Defense.

(2) The Defense Health Program account.

The Acting CHAIR. Pursuant to House Resolution 276, the gentlewoman from California (Ms. Lee) and a Member opposed each will control 5 minutes.

The Chair recognizes the gentlewoman from California.

Ms. LEE. Mr. Chairman, I do intend to withdraw this amendment, but I'd like to just say why I offered it and why I think this debate is so important.

We're talking about now trying to address a deficit, which we all want to address. We do not want to leave this debt to our children and our grandchildren. That's a given. The big issue I think for many of us is how do we get there and what do we do? And how do we ensure that we have a budget that reflects, yes, our national security priorities, but also a budget that protects the most vulnerable in our country and a budget that ensures that we have priorities to create jobs and to turn this economy around?

And so I believe that we have to talk about not only discretionary spending and entitlement cuts, which the other side is talking about and making such an issue of. We have not really talked about the Pentagon budget. We have not talked about looking at what it would mean if we cut the defense budget back to 2008 as the Republicans want to do with regard to our domestic discretionary spending.

And so what this amendment basically does is just say that if we are going to do this, we need to engage in a debate that is honest and we need to put everything on the table, and that includes the Pentagon. And in fact, we need to begin to look at how we cut back to 2008 levels.

We all know that there is waste, fraud and abuse in the Pentagon. We still haven't been able to come up with a way to audit the Pentagon funds, and so we need to do that. I think we should actually put a freeze on defense spending until we know where our tax dollars are going and until we know that our tax dollars are being spent in a prudent way. We don't even know that because we can't even get an audit of the Pentagon.

We also need to recognize that there are weapons systems that do not need to be built because they have nothing to do with our national security interests now. I mean, we are out of the Cold War. We are looking at asymmetrical warfare. We need to have a research and development program and a defense budget that reflects this new world that we're in, rather than going back to the Cold War and developing these Cold War-era weapons systems. So there are billions of dollars in those accounts.

And so it is just prudent, I think, upon us to really begin to look at why, if we're going to start cutting food stamps and Community Development Block Grants and housing, and if we start cutting workforce training and
Head Start and health care and all of the areas which the majority of the American people rely on as taxpayers, then we need to really look at where a huge portion of our budget falls, and that's within the Pentagon's budget.

Also, we again want to talk about reducing the deficit, cutting the deficit. There is no way we will even touch this unless we begin to look at the defense budget and the Pentagon's budget.

And so basically, once again, this amendment, what it does is it forces us to pause; it forces us to look at what type of savings there would be if we go back to 2008 as we want to do with domestic discretionary spending.

Again, I hope that we can discuss this amendment, have this debate. I know there are not enough votes to get this passed, but I do know that we need to begin this process of looking at and examining the defense budget so that the American people can know where their tax dollars are going and to recognize that there are billions of dollars in waste, fraud and abuse that we need to look at in the Pentagon budget.

And we need to put all of this on hold and go back to 2008 levels, be honest with the American people, and begin to have some real debate about deficit reduction, job creation, and the reduction of spending.

With that, Mr. Chairman, I will withdraw my amendment. Thank you for the time, and let's hope that we can have a debate on the Pentagon budget at some point, a real debate.

The Acting CHAIR. The gentlewoman from California begs leave to withdraw her amendment.

Without objection, the amendment is withdrawn.

There was no objection.

AMENDMENT NO. 37 OFFERED BY MR. RICHMOND

The Acting CHAIR. It is now in order to consider amendment No. 37 printed in House Report 112-88.

Mr. RICHMOND. Mr. Chairman, I have an amendment at the desk.

The Acting CHAIR. The Clerk will designate the amendment.

The text of the amendment is as follows:

Page 438, after the matter after line 2, insert the following:

SEC. 1022. PROHIBITION ON PAYMENT OF FUNDS RELATED TO CLOSURE OF CERTAIN SHIPYARD FACILITY.

The Secretary of Defense may not make any payments pursuant to section 2325 of title 10, United States Code, to a contractor related to the restructuring or closure of the shipyard manufacturing complex located in Avondale, Louisiana.

The Acting CHAIR. Pursuant to House Resolution 276, the gentleman from Louisiana (Mr. Richmond) and a Member opposed each will control 5 minutes.

The Chair recognizes the gentleman from Louisiana.

Mr. RICHMOND. I yield myself such time as I may consume.

Mr. Chairman, I rise to ask my colleagues to support an amendment and restore fiscal common sense back to government.

This amendment would save the U.S. taxpayers up to $310 million, which would be paid to a private company in Avondale, Louisiana for what? For closing. And before we get too far into policy and other things, I want to actually read the language of the amendment so that the American people can understand exactly what we're doing, Mr. Chairman.

The amendment simply says that the Secretary of Defense may not make any payments pursuant to section 2325 of title 10, United States Code, to a contractor related to the restructuring or closure of a shipyard manufacturing complex located in Avondale, Louisiana.

Now, many people may say, well, what am I attempting to stop? Let me just take a minute and say what's going on here. We have a business in Avondale, Louisiana that employs almost 5,000 shipbuilders. They were spun off this year. Northrop Grumman received $1.4 billion for this company. By the way, Northrop Grumman made $530 million this quarter. So the new company, Huntington Ingalls, is closing the shipyard. And because they're closing the shipyard, the U.S. Government--the taxpayers of this country--will pay them up to $310 million for closing.

That's insanity, Mr. Chairman. And as I met with those employees last week, they said, Congressman, we don't know if you can stop it, but the offensive part, the part that makes this very hard for us, is the fact that our tax dollars are being used to pay our employer who is giving us all pink slips.

So I would just implore my colleagues to save the Federal Government $310 million in a time when we're cutting Medicare, in a time when we're cutting our children's future, cutting their education, and we're not feeding the hungry. So this is an attempt to save $310 million.

And I would also add to all of my colleagues who have great ideas and are looking for a pay-for, I am volunteering $310 million out of my district so that we can put back into the Federal Government so that we can pay down the debt and do other things. But we do not need this $310 million going to a private company who made $45 million just this quarter for closing.

Mr. Chairman, I reserve the balance of my time.

Mr. AKIN. I rise in opposition to the amendment.

The Acting CHAIR. The gentleman from Missouri is recognized for 5 minutes.

Mr. AKIN. Mr. Chairman, the question involves the Avondale shipyard--which used to be Northrop Grumman, it is now a part of Huntington--and there are essentially three possibilities of what might happen to the shipyard. One possibility is that we leave the shipyard there to build ships for the Navy. The trouble is that we don't have enough demand or we don't have enough money to buy the ships that we would need to keep that shipyard busy, which then means that we are trying to build ships at a lot of locations where we don't have enough ships to get any economic benefits.

The result of that is it is going to cost the taxpayer and the Navy a whole lot more money to keep a shipyard open when we don't really have work for the shipyard. So that's one possibility. You could force it to stay open; it's going to cost the most to the taxpayer.

Another possibility is that the shipyard, because of the many people that work there, could be retooled and redesigned to use it for building other kinds of things other than Navy ships. That would preserve the jobs. And the Navy is willing to invest some money--as long as it is less than what it would cost to keep the thing open. They're willing to invest some money to help with that transition so those people won't be unemployed.

The other thing that could be done is you could just close the shipyard down. Now, what this amendment does is it says, well, we're not going to allow the Navy to invest in retooling. So it's sort of like a dare because it's really begging to have the whole shipyard close down and not used for anything else. So it's kind of a gamble to try to say, well, we're going to save $310 million and gamble that that shipyard is going to stay open. Because the possibility is if you say the Navy is not going to invest the money, they may just say, well, close it down. Then you would lose all those jobs. So this amendment may do the exact opposite of what you are trying to do.

I would now yield 1 1/2 minutes to the gentleman from Virginia (Mr. Wittman).

Mr. WITTMAN. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and I want to also rise in opposition to this amendment.

Passage of this amendment may result in the government being liable for the costs of maintaining these idle facilities. If we're looking at the total picture here, we want to make sure we are making the most efficient decision in right-sizing this industry. And after a thorough review and endorsement by the Department of Defense, the contractor's plans to wind down ship construction were approved back in 2010.

This amendment seeks to prohibit payments under existing Federal law for restructuring costs associated with the transition of the Avondale shipyard. And I want to emphasize ``transition'' is the key word here because as the law is currently written, it allows the facility in Louisiana to potentially be reconfigured to an alternate use in the future.

So if we want to transition, make sure we are using that yard, using the employees there, if we don't have the capacity needed to build ships, we want to make sure we can transition.

If this amendment were to become law, there is no chance of transitioning the Avondale facility to something other than shipbuilding, and the government may be held liable for the costs of maintaining an idle shipyard. We don't want that. We want to make sure that capacity is used in a productive way.

So simply put, this amendment will not prevent the closure of Avondale. And I urge my colleagues to oppose the amendment.

Mr. AKIN. How much time do I have remaining?

The Acting CHAIR. The gentleman from Missouri has 1 1/2 minutes remaining.

Mr. AKIN. The basic point is that the fact that this is going to save $310 million is not true. What this in fact is going to do is to force a solution that will be more expensive for the government and not very good for the employees down at Avondale either.

So I have to say along with the Navy and the leadership on the committee that we cannot really support this amendment. I think that the gentleman had very good intentions of what he's trying to accomplish, but I don't believe it's going to work the way he thinks it's going to. It's going to probably force a closure and a whole lot of layoffs that unnecessarily would not have to happen if we don't pass this amendment. So I'm going to oppose it.

I yield back the balance of my time.

The Acting CHAIR. The gentleman from Louisiana has 2 1/2 minutes remaining.

Mr. RICHMOND. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

I just want to clear up some things.

I don't want this shipyard to close, but I want to be crystal clear about this. The Huntington Eagles just christened a ship a couple of weeks ago; and while they christened the ship with all of their employees there, they took the time to announce to their employees that we are closing. The 3,000 employees that are here, you will no longer be here. We are shutting down. We're closing. It's not personal. It's business.

As much as I don't like it, this is a private business that has decided that they are going to close. What I don't want to do is take those taxpayer dollars and reward them for closing in the process.

So when you talk about they can retool or do something in the future, Mr. Chairman, I don't want to pretend or mislead the American people. They have yet to bid on a shipbuilding contract since they have acquired the yard. They have no intentions to build ships there in the future.

As we talk about what they could do with the yard and this may force a closure, they have decided that they are going to close. They made $45 million in the first quarter of this year. They announced that they're not going to bid on ships, they're not going to do anything. They're not going to stay open. Why would we give them $310 million of taxpayer dollars and then pretend that we're fiscally responsible? It's not fiscally responsible.

The good thing for me is I don't have to go back to my district, whether it's Virginia or Missouri, and explain to my constituents why I'm fighting to give a company in Louisiana $310 million while I'm cutting Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security and all of these other things.

I just wanted to clear up the fact that it's not an assumption that they're going to close. They already have informed their employees that we're closing. Hey, it's been a good ride. Thirty-five hundred employees. See you later. Six thousand indirect jobs. We wish we could stay, but we've made another decision.

It is a private company's right to decide when they want to close. And I disagree with their decision, but I respect that this is America and they have a right to do that. But I have a right to be upset and to try to block Federal dollars going to them, and that's $310 million going to a company for quitting. That's not the American way, Mr. Chairman.

And I would just ask my colleagues to support the amendment and not give $310 million to a company who just made $45 million in 3 months that's quitting on the American people.

I yield back the balance of my time.

The Acting CHAIR. The question is on the amendment offered by the gentleman from Louisiana (Mr. Richmond).

The question was taken; and the Acting Chair announced that the noes appeared to have it.

Mr. RICHMOND. Mr. Chairman, I demand a recorded vote.

The Acting CHAIR. Pursuant to clause 6 of rule XVIII, further proceedings on the amendment offered by the gentleman from Louisiana will be postponed.

AMENDMENT NO. 38 OFFERED BY MR. MICA

The Acting CHAIR. It is now in order to consider amendment No. 38 printed in House Report 112-88.

Mr. MICA. I have an amendment at the desk.

The Acting CHAIR. The Clerk will designate the amendment.

The text of the amendment is as follows:

At the end of subtitle H of title X, add the following new section:

SEC. 1085. RULES OF ENGAGEMENT FOR MEMBERS OF THE ARMED FORCES DEPLOYED IN DESIGNATED HOSTILE FIRE AREAS.

The Secretary of Defense shall ensure that the rules of engagement applicable to members of the Armed Forces assigned to duty in any hostile fire area designated for purposes of section 310 or 351(a)(1) of title 37, United States Code--

(1) fully protect the members' right to bear arms; and

(2) authorize the members to fully defend themselves from hostile actions.

The Acting CHAIR. Pursuant to House Resolution 276, the gentleman from Florida (Mr. Mica) and a Member opposed each will control 5 minutes.

The Chair recognizes the gentleman from Florida.

Mr. MICA. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

First I want to thank the members of the committee for allowing me to bring forth this amendment, also the Rules Committee for allowing me to have it considered by the House.

This is a simple amendment, and this is an amendment that I almost think I'm offering not on behalf of myself but on behalf of our troops. I usually don't get involved in armed services matters, but I did have the opportunity to visit our troops in Afghanistan in March of some weeks past. And I was out in some of the forward operating positions in Afghanistan, and I asked the troops a question--you know, sometimes you get a few minutes of quiet time with our troops that are serving us out there in those dangerous areas out there. And I said, When I return to Congress, what could I do to help you do a better job? What would assist you?

And every one of them said to me, Mr. Mica, could you change the rules of engagement?

So I'm offering this amendment on their behalf and on behalf of all the servicemen and -women who should be able to defend themselves in hostile areas. I'm not trying to micromanage the military, but I have just a basic provision that says--and let me read it: ``The Secretary of Defense shall ensure that the rules of engagement applicable to members of the armed services assigned to duty in any hostile fire area''--and we have a definition for that--``shall,'' and then ``one, fully protect the members' rights to bear arms; and, two, to authorize the members to fully defend themselves from hostile actions.'' The Secretary would set those parameters.

This is my amendment. I believe that implementing a successful calendar insurgency strategy should not come at the cost of needlessly increasing American or coalition military casualties.

If we ask members of our Armed Forces to risk their lives to protect the home front, we must do all we can to help them with the material and the options and the ability to preserve their lives to fight on our behalf in hostile areas.

Please help me in arming our Armed Forces and also providing them with what I believe is the opportunity to adequately defend themselves in hostile theaters.

I reserve the balance of my time.

Mr. SMITH of Washington. I claim the time in opposition.

The Acting CHAIR. The gentleman from Washington is recognized for 5 minutes.

Mr. SMITH of Washington. I will begin by yielding 2 minutes to the gentleman from New Jersey (Mr. Andrews).

(Mr. ANDREWS asked and was given permission to revise and extend his remarks.)

Mr. ANDREWS. I thank my friend for yielding.

My objection, respectfully, to this amendment is it supplants the decision of the commander in the field with the judgment of the Congress. I frankly agree that there are very, very few circumstances I could imagine where we would not want our troops in the field to be fully armed to their complete comfort and satisfaction level. And so it's hard for me to imagine a circumstance where that's not the case.

But it's easy for me to understand a circumstance where the person in the field who is charged with the responsibility of achieving the mission and achieving maximum protection of his or her troops should have the authority to make that decision.

So my objection to this is not the intent. I think we share it. My objection is the fact that the amendment supplants the judgment of that commander in the field and replaces it with the judgment we are making here thousands of miles away based on facts that we could not possibly foresee.

So although I share the gentleman's intent, for that reason I would respectfully encourage the Members to vote ``no'' on the amendment.

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