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Public Statements

National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. ANDREWS. Twenty-three nights ago, a focused and brave group of young Americans climbed into helicopters and focused on their mission. Over 3 weeks ago, a group of American leaders met in the Situation Room of the White House focused on their mission. And over a 10-year period, a group of intelligence analysts and signal intelligence specialists and brave Americans all over the world focused on their mission to eliminate the menace of Osama bin Laden from this Earth. They succeeded in eliminating that menace, they succeeded in capturing valuable intelligence that will help us track down his coconspirators and stop them, and they sent a powerful message to any other evil rich person that wants to target the United States of America that such targeting is an act of suicide.

We should salute those with that focus here tonight and reflect on the fact that our focus as Republicans and Democrats in passing this bill is to give other focused Americans in the military, our intelligence community, and those who support them the tools they need to do their job.

I'm proud of the work that Chairman McKeon, Ranking Member Smith, and all of the subcommittee chairs and ranking members did on this bill. There are controversial aspects of this bill, but this is a work that is focused on the defense of our country in the same tradition of those who so nobly served us 23 days ago.

We should all join in a ``yes'' vote for this bill because it continues that tradition of our national security in a bipartisan sense. I urge a ``yes'' vote.

Mr. McKEON. I yield 2 minutes to the gentleman from Texas (Mr. Conaway).

Mr. CONAWAY. Mr. Chairman, I rise to engage the distinguished chairman of the Armed Services Committee in a colloquy to discuss an issue that I believe is imperative to financial accountability in the defense intelligence community.

I have been working with my colleagues in various congressional committees on language that would improve the ability of the defense intelligence elements to be appropriately audited. While we are not quite to the finish line on final language, I want my colleagues to be aware of this issue as we work on the NDAA this week.

Mr. McKEON. I thank the gentleman from Texas for raising this important issue.

As the gentleman is well aware, oversight of DOD financial accountability issues is of high importance for our committee. We continue to work with the department to ensure they continue aggressive measures to get the department to a point where we have confidence in their financial statements.

Mr. Conaway is a CPA and brings great expertise to the Congress.

Mr. CONAWAY. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, for those kind words.

While I'm disappointed that we were not able to work out an agreement that would include this language in the NDAA, I do understand that there have been issues raised with the amendment, as currently written, that may not provide the focused solution that we need to track disbursements and provide better accounting in the intelligence community.

I look forward to continuing our work on this and other provisions to provide sufficient, yet directed authority that will improve the financial accountability in the Department of Defense.

It is our responsibility, Mr. Chairman, to the American taxpayer to ensure that the intelligence community has the proper management tools to manage our precious resources that we provide to them.

Mr. McKEON. I applaud the gentleman from Texas on his continued efforts to shine light on financial responsibility at the Pentagon. The language he's working on is certainly needed by the intelligence community to meet the financial accounting standards we require of the rest of the Federal Government. If all committees can agree upon language, I would welcome the opportunity to support such an amendment.

Mr. CONAWAY. I want to thank the chairman for the colloquy and urge adoption of the underlying NDAA.

Mr. SMITH of Washington. I yield 1 minute to the gentleman from Rhode Island (Mr. Langevin).

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

Mr. LANGEVIN. I thank the gentleman for yielding.

Mr. Chairman, while I support the underlying bill, I rise in opposition to language in the National Defense Authorization Act that exempts the Department of Defense from section 526 of the Energy Independence and Security Act, a critical energy security provision which also supports the development of domestic alternative fuels.

This exemption, Mr. Chairman, will derail the DOD's efforts to strengthen national security through reducing dangerous greenhouse gases. The current Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen, recently warned that climate change will have a significant effect on increasing competition for water and food, potentially causing humanitarian crises that could lead to failed states.

Further, this concern is not new to DOD. In 2008, the Defense Science Board recommended to avoid investing in processes that exceed the carbon footprint of petroleum. This provision proposes to do exactly that.

I would hope that we would remove this language and allow the department to experiment and use alternatives that would not exceed the current limit on the current carbon footprint on greenhouse gases.

Mr. McKEON. Mr. Chairman, I yield 1 1/2 minutes to my friend and colleague, a distinguished member of the Armed Services Committee, the gentleman from New Jersey (Mr. Runyan).

Mr. RUNYAN. Thank you, Chairman McKeon and Ranking Member Smith, for your leadership on this important legislation for our men and women in uniform. It is an honor to serve with the both of you.

Mr. Chairman, as a result of the 2005 BRAC, Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst in my home district was combined into one installation from three separate military installations, which caused a problem. One issue this bill addresses is pay parity.

Currently at Joint Base MDL, which used to be the separate Fort Dix and McGuire bases, wage grade system employees are paid at the Philadelphia locality pay rate, while at the Lakehurst side, the people doing the same jobs are paid at the New York locality rate.

While OPM has indicated they want to resolve this situation, no change has yet been made.

The language in the bill will work towards fixing this inequity by requiring OPM to work with the DOD to implement OPM's recommendation with respect to the Department of Defense Federal Wage System employees working at all joint military installations.

Additionally, I want to recognize my colleagues on the House Armed Services Committee, Congressman Rob Andrews and Congressman Frank LoBiondo, for their work on this issue, as well as Congressman Chris Smith of New Jersey, who also has been active in assisting the employees at the joint base.

Again, I thank you, Chairman McKeon and Ranking Member Smith, for your support on this, and I want to express my strong support for H.R. 1540 and our Nation's war fighters.

Mr. SMITH of Washington. Mr. Chairman, I yield 30 seconds to the gentleman from Connecticut (Mr. Courtney).

Mr. COURTNEY. I thank the gentleman for yielding.

I rise for the purpose of entering into a colloquy with my colleague from New Jersey, Congressman Andrews.

During the full committee markup of the defense authorization bill, you offered, and the committee supported, an amendment which would ``ensure that the Secretary, at no cost to the Federal Government, provide support and allows for the use of such property by the contractor under such contract to conduct research, development, testing, and evaluation of the F136 engine, if such activities are self-funded by the contractor.''

Mr. ANDREWS. If the gentleman will yield, that is correct.

Mr. COURTNEY. Thank you, Mr. Andrews.

I simply would like to reiterate that it is your intention and understanding that there is no government funding provided to the F136 contractors by your amendment in any section of this bill.

Mr. ANDREWS. If the gentleman will further yield, it is my understanding and intent that there be no FY12 government funding for the F136 contractor.

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